When we host open houses in condo complexes, potential home buyers usually have a lot of questions about condo living.  We want to share a few of our thoughts with you on the ups and downs of buying a condo rather than a single family detached home.


Exterior Maintenance: Someone else handles the work on the exterior of your unit

Perks: Condos often provide amenities such as pools, parks, gyms, and community events

Price: Condos often have a lower sales price than single family detached homes Location: You may be able to purchase a condo in a central, popular part of town where there are few single family detached homes Security: The HOA may provide a security guard or security measures to make sure you and your property are protected.


Appreciation: Condos may appreciate more slowly than single family detached homes. A Realtor can help you check into this in your area.

Fees: HOA fees can be VERY costly. They typically range from $200-$600 per month, and cover the benefits you receive. This adds a large chunk of change to your monthly payment.

Special Assessments: Many people don't know about this. HOA boards have the legal right to impose special assessments on you for projects, repairs, or if the Board goes over their budget. 

Limited Control: Don't like your landscaping or the look of the outside of your unit? Tough tutus. You typically have control over the interior of your property but limited (if any) control over anything outside of your walls.

Rules and Bylaws: Two words. Red. Tape. You often  have to get approval to add a screen door, change an exterior light fixture, and buy a new mailbox. There are rules about parking, trash cans, pets, satellite dishes, and much more.

Is condo living worth it?

It depends! If you can swing the HOA fees, want someone else to take care of some work for you, enjoy amenities, and are looking for a lower price point home, then yes, condo living may be for you. If you like to have a lot of creative control, detest rules, want quick appreciation on your property's value, and do not want the HOA Board knocking on your door asking for additional money, you will likely dislike condo living. Side Note: Condos can be great to buy, live in for 12 months, and then rent out. Many lenders only require 5% down for certain condos in San Diego, and you will get a better "owner occupied" mortgage rate if you live in the unit for 1 year. Condos can be an awesome investment in this way!

Posted by Christie Gray on
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