October 31st, 2011, posted by Veronica
Many clients ask us ” should I buy a condo or a home”. That’s a great question and not easy for us, your realtors, to respond to. The reason is because it all depends on your life style and you know better than anyone what that looks like. When deciding on what’s best for you, it is also important for you to consider the differences between the two. I have lived in a condo and in a house, each for 5 years so I do have some experience.
So let’s explore a few differences between a condo and a home.
When buying a condo you will need to pay for the condo fee. Many clients ask me ” what does that involve and how much is it?” A condo fee can range from $150 monthly to over $1000 a month. Why is that so different? Some are old buildings and require a lot of maintenance, others are newer and don’t need any updates and maintenance. Some include utilities like water, electric, gas, heating and cooling, but the combination varies greatly. Some include assessments. Some condos have many amenities like a gym, pool, and concierge, so every condominium is different and the older they are and the more amenities they have, usually the higher their condo fee is. We can help you determine if buying in a specific building is a smart buy or not. Condo fees also include what is called Master Policy Insurance that covers all the common areas and the walls of your condo. You still need to obtain your hazard insurance to protect your belongings and the inside of the condo but the cost is really low compared to a home, about $250 a year.
A home doesn’t have condo fees yet you will need to pay for your utilities and your hazard insurance will be much higher. Around $1200 a year or so. Hazard insurance will cover the amount of rebuilding your home in case there is a fire. Homes have a higher cost of maintenance. For example, if the roof goes you will need to pay for it vs in a condo the condo reserves would pay for it.
Another factor that will help you determine what’s best for you is your budget and the location where you would like to live. For example do you want a $500,000 condo in Dupont or do you want a $500,000 home in Petworth? Becoming familiar with neighborhoods, space, and price will be very helpful and we will be happy to help you with this.
You also need to ask yourself what your life style is going to look like in the next 5 to 10 years. Will you be ok in a condo or will you need more space and need a home to accommodate your future space requirements?
These are some factors you can think about when trying to decide what to buy. We can certainly help you figure out what’s best for you and at the end you will need to decide what’s best for you and your life.