Have you thought about the benefits of living in a condo? We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of condo living before you make a move.

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How do you know if it’s right for you to move from a house to a condo? For starters, if you find yourself using less and less of your home, this could be an indicator that moving to a condo could simplify your life.

Nonetheless, living in a condo has a fair share of drawbacks and considerations. Seniors, empty nesters, and world travelers should learn more about the pros and cons of condo living before changing their lifestyle.

To get the most out of this article, we recommend going through it with a blank journal. Write down the answers to each question at the end of every section to clarify what choice is the best for you.


What is a Condo?


A condo is a privately owned space within a building. Condos differ from apartments because an apartment is usually rented instead of owned. Residents of condos pay HOA fees to ensure all communal areas, like pools or workout areas, are maintained. A condo can be a townhouse, loft, or highrise.

Condo Pricing

Depending on the market, condos can either be more or less expensive per square foot than a residential single-family home. Your property appreciation will also depend on the market. In rural areas, single-family homes with land tend to appreciate at a greater rate than a similar-sized condo. However, condos in a city can rise in value quicker than single-family homes further away from the city’s hustle and bustle.


Benefits of Living in a Condo


1. Less Maintenance

If most of your time is spent away from the house, condo living provides the luxury of significantly less maintenance. Consider this; you’ll no longer have to spend your weekends mowing the lawn, pressure washing the driveway, and weeding the flower beds.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Do you have trouble keeping up with lawn care and other exterior maintenance?
  • Does cutting the lawn and maintaining a garden bring you joy?

2. Fewer Chores

We can’t stress this enough, but owning less can make you happier. Your chore time will be cut in half when you have fewer things and fewer rooms. Spend that time doing activities that enrich your life instead.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Is the upkeep in your house getting to feel like a burden?
  • Are you willing to downsize some of your belongings for a simpler life?

3. Onsite Amenities

Every condo community is a little different, but there’s a good chance you’ll find access to varying amenities. These might include a pool, tennis courts, gyms, and community rooms. Many condos also offer enhanced security measures.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Would you take advantage of onsite amenities?
  • Is living in a community with enhanced security a priority for you?

4. Built-in Community

Living in such close quarters with other people harbors a sense of community that is different than what you’d find in a typical neighborhood. Many condo residents take great pride in their community, and their neighbors can become close friends.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Are you a loner that might benefit from living within a community?
  • Would you prefer a condo in the city or a more rural location?

Cons of Living in a Condo


1. Not Enough Space

If you’re moving from a house to a condo, there’s no doubt that the limited amount of space can be hard to adjust to at first. If you have many hobbies and items you don’t want to part with, moving to a condo will be a challenge.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • How much space do you need to live comfortably?
  • What spaces are a priority for you? For example, do you need a home office or basement man cave to be happy?

Possible Solution — Moving to a smaller home means you’ll have less space for all of your belongings. To make this work, you need to declutter your living quarters extensively. Take a few weeks to pay close attention to the things you use daily. Could they all fit within a condo with some careful storage solutions? We’re betting the answer is yes.


2. Excess Noise and Lack of Privacy

If you are downsizing from a spread-out suburban neighborhood, moving to a condo can be an extremely different experience regarding noise. You’ll be sharing walls and floors/ceilings with your neighbors. Some condo communities also restrict the number of visitors and pets you can have. You could also be restricted on aspects of your home like paint colors, solar panels, and landscaping, which could intrude on your sense of control.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Will hearing neighbors above, below, or next to you be a problem?
  • Does your need for privacy and control outweigh the benefits of condo living?

Possible Solution — If noise is a primary concern, consider an end unit in a side-by-side building. This way, you are only sharing one set of walls. Also, noise-canceling headphones work wonders when you need to get work done in complete silence. Otherwise, have the right expectations and complain gently if any neighbor disrespects the noise regulations past a reasonable hour.


3. Added Expense and HOA Fees

The price for condos per square foot can be higher than single-family homes. Often what you’re paying for with a condo is convenience and location. Your mortgage payment could increase when all things are considered.

Also, most condo communities have added Home Owner’s Association Fees. They work to cover expenses like lawn cutting, pool cleaning, etc.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  • Can you afford a condo in your area? Have you researched the added cost and updated your budget accordingly?
  • How much are you willing to spend per month on a condo?

Possible Solution — Figure out what your priorities are and budget accordingly. If you want to be in a condo right on the beach, discover your top dollar budget and search in locations with condos priced within that range. Remember, buying a condo is an investment. With the right real estate agent, you should be able to find a unit that you will appreciate during your stay.


Bonus Tips for Choosing a Condo


If you’re considering a move to a condo community, there are some steps you can take to make sure you choose the condo that’s right for you.

  • Review the financials of the condo association to make sure it is financially healthy.
  • Read the association’s rules, regulations, and bylaws well before making an offer.
  • Look over the community newsletter and see if the activities and stories appeal to you. If they don’t have one, try to find out why.
  • Find a condo community that has HOA fees that include amenities you will use and appreciate. If one condo community is a stickler about keeping the exterior freshly painted every year and you could care less about outdoor appearances, maybe pick a different community. The same goes for if a condo community has a spectacular pool that they spend a lot of money maintaining, but you hate to swim.
  • Make sure the HOA is a well-managed fund that has enough reserve fees set aside for both long and short-term projects as well as emergency maintenance. Mismanaged funds can result in a special assessment fee that all condo owners would be required to pay.
  • When doing your budget, consider that older condos might cost less up front but tend to have higher HOAs because there is more upkeep.

Ready to make a move from a house to a condo? Be sure to grab our free downsizing checklist!

Editor’s Note: Originally published on October 13, 2017; updated March 10, 2021, to provide more comprehensive information on the topic of living in a condo.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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