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Single-Family Home or Condominium: 5 Factors to Consider

Posted by Gloria Singer on Monday, January 8th, 2018 at 10:02am.

Choosing between a single-family home or a condominium can be somewhat difficult, since the property types are so different. Single-family homes offer a great deal more independence, but they usually require a lot more work. Condos feature the benefits of community, from social opportunities to less yard work. The right choice depends on a buyer’s preferences considering these five common factors.

1. Upkeep

The limited amount of maintenance work condominium owners face is typically one of the biggest reasons buyers opt to purchase a property in a community arrangement. With a single-family home, owners have to arrange for all of the upkeep of the property, including the landscaping, outbuildings, and the exterior structure. Condo owners typically pay association dues to cover these costs. Knowing that the association is taking care of maintenance tasks may be a major boon to buyers with limited time or interest in yard work or home improvement. However, they should investigate the reliability of the association, to confirm that the services can and will be provided on a regular basis.

2. Amenities

The way that people conceive of the amenities of a particular property often indicates whether a single-family home or condo is better for their needs. Condominium amenities vary from one community to the next, but buyers might get access to:

  • swimming pools
  • exercise facilities
  • shopping or dining opportunities nearby
  • buildings available to rent for events

Single-family properties that are not under a homeowners association typically do not have these amenities. However, all aspects of a single-family property are for the owner’s sole use, so that they do not have to share access to the facilities.

3. Resale Value

Although there is a great deal of variability in assessing the potential resale value of a particular property type, there are a few issues to keep in mind. As a general rule, people may prefer buying single-family homes over condominiums. Single-family homes often appreciate in value more quickly, because the owner owns the land underneath the home, not just a portion of the dwelling itself. People who are thinking about purchasing a home and selling within several years should pay attention to the area and consider their target demographic for selling the property. Condos, particularly those with smaller square footage, are more likely to appeal to people who are not looking to expand their household's size. This could be an asset or a liability, depending on the average buyer in the area.

4. Energy Efficiency

In any region that requires at least a moderate amount of energy for heating or cooling throughout the year, energy efficiency becomes a key component of the decision between a single-family home and a condo. Single-family homes tend to use more energy, simply because they are typically larger and have all exterior walls on one account. Condo owners, if they share walls with their neighbors, might not have to pay as much to heat or cool the space. On the other hand, owners of single-family homes are free to individually consider energy-efficient upgrades such as solar panels. By comparison, condo owners would have to first obtain approval from the association.

5. Independence

Ultimately, interested home buyers should determine how much they are willing to give up a degree of independence and privacy in exchange for minimal upkeep and amenities outside of the home. Condo associations have a fair degree of license to set the rules for the community, and they can be comparatively strict or lax. Single-family homeowners often have much more freedom to determine how they want to handle maintenance demands, perform upgrades, and lend their own personal style to the property. People who crave their own space and freedom to do as they choose should plan to purchase a single-family home, or look for condos in associations without a lot of rules.

Deciding between a condo and a single-family home should first start with a discussion of preferences over these factors of homeownership. If buyers understand how much importance they place on personal independence, and how much work they are willing to invest into the property, their decision may become clear.

Gloria Singer is the Broker of Boca Expert Realty, a boutique Boca Raton real estate company with a focus on professional service and an unparalleled customer experience. Our select agents are amongst the top performing professionals in the field. Visit www.BocaExpert.com for information on Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach real estate and to connect with an expert in the local market. 

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