Should You Buy A Condo Or A Single Family Home?


By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, condo sales are increasing year by year and have outpaced single family homes by 0.7 percent in 2017.

The first condo in the United States was built in Salt Lake City in 1960 and now there are more than 17 million units in the United States.

Millennials are looking for proximity to entertainment and dining and condos are frequently priced more affordably than single-family homes in downtown areas. Condos are also popular with “empty nesters” where the children are off to college and the parents are now looking for a new life style or want to downsize. No matter the age condos are becoming more attractive.  Many buyers are looking for convenience and smaller living places.

There are many reasons why you could choose one over the other, and it really depends on your lifestyle and goals. This might help you make your best decision.

Pro condo:

Condos frequently cost less.

The monthly expenses can be less. Sometimes it does not look like this at the beginning, but the monthly condo fees often include water, cable, WiFi, building insurance, and more.

If you are financing the purchase, your monthly mortgage payments can be less.

Condos are easier to take care of.  You can lock the door and go on vacation.

The personal maintenance is clearly much less.

Great amenities like pool, exercise room, business office, are often included.

Best of all—Location. You can be downtown in the city, leave your car in the garage and walk to dinner and entertainment. For a young couple the short walk to the restaurant may be more important than a backyard!

Less work and more free time. The association would take care of all exterior maintenance. Grass cutting and painting are all handled by the association.

Against condo:

There are more rules and restrictions. It is important that you research these before buying. You do not want to have a surprise when your vehicle is not allowed or your pet is too heavy.

Small storage space and less privacy could be an issue.

If there are major repairs, you might have to pay a big assessment, which you have not budgeted for.

Condos, in general, don’t appreciate in value at the rate that homes do. It is sometimes harder to sell a condo than a single family home.

Parking can be a dilemma for condo owners.

Condos can restrict certain activities (smoking, BBQing on balcony).

If your family grows you may need to move up to a larger unit.

More difficult to get traditional financing.

There may be rent restriction.

The owner only has exclusive right to all property within the walls of his own condominium unit and all owners share ownership of the “common area.”

Condo owners are generally restricted in the ways they can modify the exterior, and occasionally the interior.

Pro single family homes:

Houses typically have more living space.

You can have a beautiful yard, where you can plant flowers and shrubs.

You have more privacy.

You do not share the walls and can make decisions alone like when and how you want to make repairs.

No monthly dues for maintenance. You can do the yard work yourself or hire it out. Same with exterior maintenance.

Except for some local zoning ordinances homeowners typically have the freedom to modify the exterior or interior or their property however they want to.

Owning a house comes with the right to exclusive ownership of all the property you have purchased both inside and outside of the house.

Against single family homes:

Houses need much more work. When going on vacation, you need to have someone to take care of landscaping, watering, or security.

The original price is typically higher.

You have a higher monthly maintenance cost for insurance, water, electricity, landscaping, repairs, WIFI, cable, real estate taxes and more.

Maybe you have a pool, but no other amenities.

As a single family residence owner, you would need to schedule and handle all the exterior issues like roofing, painting, landscaping.

About Christel Silver

Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) and again for 2018 as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. For more information visit