A question I often hear from prospective buyers is, “Will a condo fit my lifestyle?” Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
By very definition, a condominium is ownership from the inner walls of the unit in, plus any limited common areas such as an adjoining balcony or deck. All exterior walls, roofs, and common areas such as lawns, swimming pools, recreation areas, barbecue areas are owned by the condo association, of which you are a percentage owner. This all means that you are only responsible for the upkeep of your condo interior. You won’t be mowing a lawn, shoveling snow, fixing a leaky roof, or cleaning the pool. These duties will be performed by others, who will be paid by the condo association, i.e. through your monthly condo fee.
You can see that the first benefit to condo ownership is convenience. You show up, unpack clothes and groceries, and head for the pool, beach, boardwalk or golf course. No muss, no fuss!
Let’s compare condos to single family homes to see the other advantages and disadvantages. With a condo it is much easier and less expensive to get an oceanfront or at least beach block location. A home would be much more expensive and the supply is quite limited. A condo is much more likely to offer a swimming pool … and you don’t have to take care of it. With limited lot size, a single family home usually doesn’t have sufficient room for a pool. Condos, especially if they are large complexes, may offer a game room for kids, tennis courts, a basketball court, shuffleboard, exercise room, spa, etc. These options are much more limited with a single family home.
A condo sounds great, so far. Now the down side.
A condo means neighbors. It means another family on the other side of a wall or two, and maybe folks above and below you. Does noise from others bother you a lot? Do you like to sleep in or go to bed early? The number of neighbors can vary. A small two-unit condo – usually townhouses – offers a lot more privacy that a 200 unit oceanfront converted motel or 500 unit oceanfront condo complex. Another important factor is whether the condo association allows summer rentals, as most do. Some renters can have an “animal house” mentality, or at least not care how loud they are since they’ll most likely never be back. Obviously, a single family home minimizes these headaches.
The dilemma in deciding if a condo is right for you is what is more important. A condo gives convenience. A small condo complex offers a balance between privacy and some amenities. A large condo complex is less quiet but more amenity rich. A condo gets you closer to the ocean at a much lower cost than a single family home. You decide!