NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- You've spent months house-hunting on RealtyPin.com, saved enough for a big down payment, fixed all of the issues in your credit report, and been pre-approved for a loan. So, you're ready to buy. Now you just have to decide WHAT to buy. Is a house or a condo a better purchase?
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There is no "right" answer, but here's how you can decide which is the better choice for you:
First, think about your lifestyle. Are you single? Do you have a family? Do you travel a lot? Do you want to live in an urban, downtown setting? Or, is a quiet subdivision more your style? The answers to these questions will point you in the right direction. Now, it's time to go over the pros and cons:
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Pros of buying a house:
- One of the biggest advantages to buying a home is that you can personalize the space without having to get consent from others. Yes, many single family home neighborhoods have a homeowners' association that has certain yard and landscaping requirements, but those are far less strict than the rules condo associations come up with. With a house, if you want to remodel it, put a fence in the backyard, build a deck or porch, or add shrubbery, you can!
- Speaking of your backyard, you'll get more privacy than you would at a condo -- where your neighbors literally live right beside you.
- Homes tend to be larger than condos, so if you have a family or pets, you're more likely to find a three or four bedroom house than a condo of similar size. And, according to the National Association of Realtors, houses tend to have more closet and storage space than condos.
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Cons of buying a house:
- You're responsible for the upkeep -- both inside and out. So, if a storm comes through, knocks down a tree and crushes your fence, guess who's got to for the repairs? You! But if the same thing happened at a condo, the costs will likely be covered by association fees that everyone at the condo complex has paid into a joint fund.
You'll also have house-only chores -- like cutting the grass. If you have time to do it yourself, or have the financial resources to hire a lawn service, perhaps a house is the way to go. If you travel a lot, or have a schedule that is too busy for yard work, a condo might be the right choice, since they do all of the lawn maintenance for you.
- Utility bills are typically higher at homes than at condos. That's because it takes longer to cool down a larger space in the summer, or to heat the place in the winter.
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Pros of buying a condo:
- It's low maintenance. The condo building will have people to maintain all of the common areas. Yes, you are still responsible for any repairs that are needed in your specific unit, but everything else is taken care of.
- There are more amenities in a condo building. Most have private swimming pools or gyms. You may not have either of those in your own house!
- They're found in trendier settings. In fact, condos have become the go-to choice for people who want to live in a downtown, urban setting. If you want to be within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and boutiques, move into a condo in the city, instead of house out in the suburbs.
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Cons of buying a condo:
- In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, most condo owners have to pay an association fee. That's where all of the money for lawn maintenance and general building repairs come from. Unfortunately, these fees can be quite steep.
- You may not have an easy time selling it. Condos have a decent resale value in urban settings and in college towns -- but if you don't live in either of those, your condo may sit on the market for quite awhile when it comes time to sell it.