What to Buy – A House or a Condo? How to Decide

First time homebuyers frequently have several major questions to answer. Should they buy a house in the city? Should they buy a house in the suburbs? Should they buy a single-family residence? Should they buy a condo? How much yard is necessary? How much home is affordable?

The answers to these questions can depend upon the station in life that a person or family find themselves in. Both houses and condos have benefits and drawbacks. It is up to the individual or couple to decide which housing situation best suits their needs.

Is Privacy an Issue?

What are the benefits that a house can provide for a family looking to take the plunge and buy their first place? One of the major benefits to buying a house over a condo is the issue of privacy. Many people dislike living in apartments because of the close proximity of neighbors. Of course, some houses are quite close to other houses. This situation is especially prevalent in older cities. At times, houses in older cities can have merely a handful of feet between them. Those who like privacy would probably prefer a home on a larger lot in the suburbs.

Is a Yard a Necessity?

Another frequent benefit to buying a house is the size of the yard. Suburban residences tend to have larger yards than their counterparts in the city. Houses in rural areas can often have yards that measure in acres. Some of these homes can be a rather short drive from major cities and cost much less than city living. Families with children frequently enjoy having a larger yard in which the kids can play. Those who like to garden will love to get in touch with the land in a larger yard.

Will There Be a Need to Expand in the Future?

Another benefit that some people may not consider when debating between a house and a condo is the ability those who buy a house have to expand. While this may not be on the horizon of a young couple, a few children can cause the need for extra space. Those who do not want to move after a few years can frequently get a home equity loan to build additions to their home.

City or Country?

Of course, there can be some downsides to buying a house. Some people will find that the benefits listed above are negatives. Some people like city living. They enjoy being around their neighbors and like living in close proximity to the restaurants and shopping that more urban living can provide. Some people may not enjoy the amount of work that a big yard can cause. Rather than finding yard work and gardening enjoyable, some people may find such activity annoying or even downright burdensome.

Many of the positives and negatives related to buying a condo would be the exact opposite of those related to a purchasing a freestanding house. Condos provide an extremely close proximity to neighbors. Frequently, a single wall is all that separates the residents of one condo from those in another. Noise can be a problem when neighbors like to party a bit too much. Condos generally have little outdoor space, although small yards and decks are quite common.

What about Amenities that Condos Can Provide?

Condos can frequently provide amenities that would need to be added to existing houses. For example, many condos have a community pool for residents. Some condos will also have lounges, playgrounds or workout rooms on-site. While these amenities are usually included in the yearly maintenance fees, they provide a level of convenience. How much easier is it to go down the hall or take a quick walk across the street to go to the gym, rather than having to drive halfway across town? These conveniences come with a price, but many people pay to take advantage of them. How attractive these amenities are to would-be homebuyers would obviously depend upon personal preference.

Those who dread yard work might enjoy the thought of a condo. Maintenance fees frequently pay for a lawn care service. The timesavings and lack of sweat may be worth it to many people. Those with health problems may benefit from the amenities that come with condo living. Also, condos could be more likely to be accessible because they are multi-occupant buildings.

Cost Is Always a Factor

One final thing to consider when deciding to buy a house or a condo is probably the most important consideration. How much do the options cost in comparison? Condos are frequently cheaper than freestanding homes, especially in urban areas. Those who can afford a condo may not be able to afford a house in the same neighborhood. Of course, yearly maintenance fees should be taken into account when figuring the total cost of a home. In rural areas, the price difference may be less evident. When making the decision, personal preferences often hold more sway than some of these monetary considerations.

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