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Single-family home or a condo — what’s right for you?

by Jeff Hammerberg

Sometimes owning a condo is a more practical decision when considering
residential purchase.

Deciding to buy a home is a major decision, but once you’ve made it comes all the other choices that go along with it. These include where you’d like to live, how many neighbors you want, how involved you want to be in the maintenance and upkeep, just for starters.

No problem, you say, you’ve always seen yourself driving up to a huge house with your own winding driveway and a great big yard. Ah, yes, you can see it all now…you and your boyfriend living happily ever after in your brand new gigantic home with a sprawling lawn and lovely gardens. You’ll be the envy of all your friends, won’t you?

Maybe at first you will be, but what about later?

If you’re only thinking about the right now effects of buying a home then you’d be doing yourself a favor to think a little further ahead into the future.

When you buy that big single-family house, you may be getting more than you’re actually bargaining for. The envy of your friends can pass quickly to their sighs of relief as they’re packing their bags for vacation while you’re putting your money into a new roof, landscaping or a new coat of paint for the exterior.  

Maintenance and upkeep are regular occurrences no matter what type of home you buy.

What you get with a single-family home

If you buy a single-family home, you’ll get your castle, plus the land it’s sitting on. Your house won’t be attached to anyone else’s house. From the front curb to the property line where your backyard ends, you get all of it and everything in between. This includes your house, the yard and any extra buildings. You own everything, which makes you responsible for everything, including maintenance and repairs for the house and lawn as well as any outside structures.

What you get with a condo

Buying a condo is like owning your very own apartment. Your castle extends inward from your interior walls, floors and ceilings. When it comes to outside areas of your home like exterior walls, the roof and foundation, plus the land, you’re a partner in ownership with all the other property owners who live there. You’re only responsible for any inside maintenance and repairs with a condo, while any external work is covered by the condo association.

Now that you know what you’ll be getting in general with either a single-family home or a condo, consider some of the specifics that can help you decide which type of home will not only best meet your current needs, but which will have a significant impact on your future.

Single-family home facts

Location: Single-family homes have long been a scarcity in most cities and urban areas. You’ll probably be living in a suburb or rural area.

Adding-on: If you decide that you need more room, you can build an extra room onto a single-family home. Of course, your addition will be subject to your neighborhood/subdivision guidelines and applicable county ordinances.

Amenities: Single-family homes with pools and tennis courts can be very expensive, not to mention the cost of keeping them up. If you buy a house without these extras and plan to install them, you’ll have to buy a house with enough lot space to accommodate them.

Privacy: The single-family home provides the most privacy in types of dwellings. You can go days on end without ever seeing anyone.

Cost: If there’s one thing they’re not making any more of, it’s land, which is one of the reasons for the increased prices of single-family homes. Even small lots have increased dramatically in price in recent years and the bigger the lot, the higher the cost.

Condo facts

Location: Condos are typically built in centralized locations. You’ll be within close proximity to areas of employment, shopping and clubs for socializing.

Adding-on: If you need more room in a condo, you’ll have to get creative in managing your space because you can’t just add an extra room. The upside though is that neither can your neighbors, so you’re all on equal ground here literally. 

Amenities: Condos often include the favorite perks that most people enjoy. Some of the most popular amenities may include swimming pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, pet trails, play areas and walking/jogging trails.

Privacy: You have neighbors within close proximity if you buy a condo. If you prefer the security of having others close by, buying a condo is a practical option.

Cost: The same amount of square footage in a condo costs less than in a single-family home because more condos can be built on the same amount of land as it takes to accommodate single-family homes.  

For additional information and help in buying a home, visit www.gayrealestate.com.

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