For years, a single family home with a white picket fence has been the quintessential American dream, but that isn’t the only option anymore. Now, condominiums are a popular alternative to single family homes, but which one is better? The answer will be different for everyone, but here are some things to keep in mind when deciding where to live.
When considering a condo, there are multiple things that buyers should consider with regards to their needs.
In many condominiums, large repairs such as roofing, furnaces, siding, and lawn care are all covered by the Homeowners Association (HOA), allowing homeowners to save money. Because the HOA takes care of lawn care, exterior painting, and other chores, condos typically need much less maintenance than a single family home.
Another one of the more attractive features of condos is that they typically cost far less than a single family home. The median price for a condo is about $225,000 while the median price for a single family home is about $241,000, and this price difference can make condos, such as the condos on Printer's Row, more accessible than single family homes.
At the same time, however, condos have some disadvantages not seen in single-family homes.
For instance, in order to live in a condo, homeowners have to pay association fees. Most homeowners associations charge monthly fees, and the cost of the fee will vary from association to association, but it’s common for homeowners to pay $200–400 per month. These expenses cover the costs of repairs and upkeep for the building and vary from building to building.
Depending on the rules the HOA has in place, condos may not allow pets, and this can be a big problem for families looking to move into a condo if they already have pets and can’t bear to part with them.
And lastly, mortgages for condos are often more expensive than mortgages for single-family homes of the same value because condos are seen as riskier, and some mortgage lenders refuse to lend money to condo buyers. Because of this, condo interest rates are often higher than others and have lower approval rates.
Single-Family Home Advantages
When buyers select single-family homes, they’re also faced with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages different from condo owners.
To start, owners of single-families home have complete creative control over what they do with it. They have the entire home exterior and landscape that they can customize to their own preference, which many condo owners aren’t able to do.
Additionally, single-family homes typically allow homeowners and their families more privacy because many condos are connected, have shared yards, and don’t allow fences. This can be a problem for some people who need a fence for pets or just want space from the neighbors.
It’s easier to find single family homes in a wide variety of sizes that can make them a better choice for large families, families who need large backyards for pets, or extra storage for their things.
Single Family Home Disadvantages
Because single-family homeowners are fully responsible for their homes, they have to pay for all home maintenance out of their own pocket, which can become expensive over time.
Homeowners also have to pay for all of their utility bills, which are typically higher than condos. Some utilities are often included with condos, but a single family homeowner has to pay for them all on their own.
Owning a single family home can be more time-consuming than a condo because normal chores like lawn care and gardening will have to be done by either the homeowner or a hired service. This can be inconvenient for people who don’t have the time for chores but don’t have the money to hire someone.
Single family homes and condos are both good choices for a home, but each one is better for a different type of lifestyle. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each one thoroughly before making a decision.
Ted Guarnero, REALTOR® is a full-time real estate agent with over 1000 homes sold and $400 million in sales. Working with Compass real estate offering professional and effective real estate services to help you succeed in the local real estate market. Visit www.seeChicagorealestate.com for information on downtown Chicago real estate and to get in touch with an expert in the Chicago real estate market. Before you hire your next Realtor call Ted Guarnero 855-See-Chicago, it's on the House !