Condominiums have been a staple in the U.S. housing market for decades. While home ownership is a goal for many individuals and couples throughout the U.S., there are many people that are not interested in a standard single-family home. Condominiums, or condos as they’re commonly referred to, are a great alternative to a house. Offering many different options, and available to buyers in every price range, condos shouldn’t be missed when looking at real estate options in 2019. If you’ve thought about condo ownership but just don’t know where to start, here’s some useful information to get you started.

Know the Difference

So what exactly is a condo? There are a variety of terms used throughout the U.S. Here are the generalized differences between somewhat related terms:

  • Condominium: Ownership is the interior of the structure walls of each unit – does not include land
  • Townhome: Ownership includes the specific structure of the unit and the land directly underneath it
  • Planned Unit Development (PUD): Ownership includes land directly underneath and some land in front and/or back of the unit

    Some of these terms may be interchanged when discussed; make sure you find what ownership includes.

More Affordable

Many cities in the U.S. real estate markets are competitive, which can mean multiple and above-asking price offers on highly sought-after homes. Condos are a great option for those looking to buy in competitive markets. If your city is known for high real estate prices, consider condo living as a more affordable option to home ownership. Condos are also great for those looking to live in a city or metropolitan area, as they’re more readily available and will likely cost less than a typical single-family home.

Community Living

Finding a home with a great sense of community can be difficult, especially if you’re looking in a specific area or city. Condos come with their own built-in community. Not only are they built in an actual community of buildings, condos generally will have community events, get-togethers, and clubs that help bring people together. Shared spaces also afford the ability to get to know your neighbors, helping create strong bonds and friendships that may not be possible in a neighborhood.

Offer Convenience

Owning a house can come with a lot of obligations and upkeep. For those looking to own, but not interested in the maintenance aspect, condo living affords ownership with the ease of convenience. Some condo associations cover basic maintenance for community areas and shared green spaces, while other associations will take full responsibility of deck and patio maintenance as well. If maintenance doesn’t appeal to you, consider buying a condo, but just remember to read the fine print on what the community does and does not cover when it comes to maintenance.

Useful Amenities

Amenities can really make or break a location. When it comes to condo living, many communities come with amenities to help make life easier and more convenient. Shared green spaces, gathering places, communal BBQs and outdoor areas, pools, workout facilities and more are common throughout the U.S. in condo communities. In more urban areas, condos can be found close to shopping and dining, providing even more options for owners. If you like access to multiple amenities, consider a condo!

Come With Rules

There are many potential buyers out there that want to live in a place where there is order. When it comes to condos, many communities come with specific rules and guidelines regarding ownership and habitation. If you like the idea of having mandatory quiet hours, limiting pets, and having a set standard for decor on patios and decks, then a condo community is something to look into.

Look Into the Homeowner Association (HOA)

Make sure you research the HOA during the purchase process. Find out the financial health of the complex, how it is governed, current and anticipated dues and special assessments, how parking and common area maintenance is handled, etc.

When it comes to buying a home, you want to make sure you get something that fits your needs and wants. Condos offer home ownership with many additional benefits. If you’re looking into owning, talk to your local agent about condo ownership in your city or area for more information.