Deciding between renting a condo or living an apartment (their pros and cons) can be a little tricky. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right article.
Condo vs. Apartment
Apartments and condos are similar in style because they refer to multiple units within a residential building or structure. The main difference is that condos are usually owned (though they can be rented), whereas apartments are rented.
Should I Live in a Condo or Apartment?
If you are trying to decide on buying a condo vs. renting an apartment (buy vs rent), that is a lifestyle and financial decision, and you are in the right place (read this article).
If you are trying to decide on renting an apartment vs. renting a condo, that is an entirely different question, and you should read: Should I rent a condo or apartment?
Both condos and apartments, are in a complex-like setting, and usually are smaller in size (as compared to townhomes or houses).
Differences: Condos vs. Apartments
While seemingly alike, condos and apartments, have distinct differences:
1. Ownership – In a condo, you are buying. More specifically, you are purchasing the interior of your home (and any adjacent areas you have the exclusive use of such as a balcony), and you take an interest in the “common elements.” In an apartment, you are not an owner, but rather, just a renter.
2. Responsibility – In a condo, you are responsible for everything from upkeep and maintenance to repairs on the interior of your home (and any service lines that exclusively service your condominium). In an apartment, you are generally not responsible for any maintenance (other than what may be in your lease).
3. Size – Condos are usually (but not always) a little larger in square footage than apartment.
4. Governing Rules – A condo is governed by Condo or Owner Association, whereas an apartment’s rules are governed by the landlord / management company.
What are the Pros and Cons of Each?
Now when considering the pros and cons of condo vs. apartment.
- Less Cashout lay (i.e. usually just security deposit and rent)
- Easier to Move in and Out
- Outsourced Maintenance (most maintenance is usually on the landlord)
- Emergency Service (usually available in professional property management but ask)
- No HOA Fees
- Single Entity in Charge of Rules
- Responsibility – If something breaks (and not at fault), usually responsibility of landlord to fix.
- No ownership
- Building Ownership
- Can Change Design to Meet Needs
- Size (though not always)
- Expensive Cashout lay
- Responsible for fixing all items when something breaks (i.e. maintenance)
- Harder to move out, if life changes or unhappy
- Very difficult to Switch Units if Noisy Neighbor / Other circumstance
- Subject to HOA fees and rules
- Expensive Buying and Selling Fees (i.e. broker commission, transfer fees, etc)
No two people are the same, which means you have to consider your own financial circumstance before deciding between an apartment and a condo.
- If you have the income and enough savings, you may choose to get into the property market by buying a condominium.
- If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough savings for a deposit, renting an apartment may be the better choice for the moment until you’re more financially stable.
What Level Of Maintenance Are You Willing To Undertake?
- When you rent an apartment, all repairs are generally the responsibility of the landlord. For example, if a pipe bursts or the plumbing starts to leak, then you may simply have to ring the landlord to get the problem fixed. The landlord is expected to cover the cost of these types of repair jobs.
- On the other hand, if you own a condo, you’re usually responsible for fixing any issues. You will need to undertake and pay for the repair work yourself. This can be time-consuming and expensive as you need to call a provider every time something breaks. Plumbers, HVAC technicians, Appliance Repair, Pest Control, etc. It can be a lot of work.
If you don’t want to take on the responsibility of repairs and maintenance, then renting an apartment might be the more ideal choice for you.
What Lifestyle Suits You Best?
Your desired lifestyle can help determine whether you should buy a condo or rent an apartment.
- Do you want to make any changes to your home to suit your needs? A condo may be better.
- Are you considering renovations and repair work to fit into your lifestyle preferences? A condo may be better.
- Do you have to move frequently because of your career? An apartment may be better.
A condo can be good for people who prefer to customize their living spaces. Apartments can be ideal if you are keen on flexibility and don’t want to make any big financial commitments.
Summary: Condo Vs Apartment – Which One Is Right?
The decision between owning a condo vs. apartment is usually based on your personal and financial situation. People who prefer flexibility and less responsibility will most often opt to rent an apartment. People who want to enter the property market or invest their savings will prefer to buy a condo. Apartments and condos have their own pros and cons. Consider your own short-term and long-term goals before making your choice.