1st Time Homebuyer Homeowner Real Estate Tips

Condo vs House: Which Home Is Right for You?

Deciding between buying a condo or a house is like choosing the backdrop for your life’s next chapter. 

Would you rather end up the main character in a story of lower initial costs as a condo owner or a story of more privacy and space as a homeowner?

If you’re thinking about buying a condo or a house but can’t make a decision, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we examine the benefits and drawbacks of each, helping you pinpoint the property that fits your lifestyle best.

Let’s dive in and help you find your perfect home.

Key Takeaways

  • Condos typically have a lower purchase price than houses, making them ideal for first-time homebuyers or those with smaller budgets.
  • Houses offer more privacy and space but come with greater responsibilities like maintenance and higher insurance costs.
  • Amenities such as pools and gyms are common in condos whereas houses provide the freedom to personalize your property without HOA restrictions.
  • While condos can be easier to maintain due to HOA involvement, they also come with monthly fees that contribute to overall costs.
  • When considering resale value, houses may appreciate more over time because they include land ownership.

What is the difference between a condo and a house?

When comparing condos and houses, there are several key differences to consider, including cost, insurance, maintenance responsibilities, available amenities, location options, neighbors, HOA rules, and selling considerations.

Each option has its unique advantages and drawbacks that cater to different lifestyles and preferences.


Buying a condo might be the smart move if you’re eyeing affordability. Typically, condos sport lower price tags than their single-family home counterparts, making them an attractive choice for first-time buyers or those with smaller down payments.

Think of it as stepping into homeownership without the deep dive into your savings; condos often serve as a wallet-friendly starting point.

Consider that over time, though, owning a house could bring financial gains that make the initial investment worthwhile. Houses usually carry higher resale values because of the land they sit on. Generally speaking, they tend to appreciate more substantially over time compared to condos.


thinking about a home

Considering insurance for your condo or house is crucial. Owning a condo often means paying less for insurance compared to a standalone house. This is due to the fact that you’re not insuring the exterior or the land; that’s typically covered by the homeowners’ association (HOA).

You’ll just need to protect your unit’s interior and personal possessions.

However, if you opt for a house, expect the insurance cost to be higher since you’re covering everything — the building itself and the land it sits on. But with greater coverage comes greater responsibility; you must also consider additional policies like flood or earthquake insurance depending on your location, which can add up. 

Plus, if you’re unable to come up with a down payment of at least 20%, you may be on the hook for private mortgage insurance, too.

Either way, insuring your home means peace of mind knowing that both structure and contents have protection against unexpected events.


Owning a condo typically means you’ll have fewer maintenance responsibilities than with a house. The homeowners’ association (HOA) often handles exterior upkeep, which can include everything from mowing the lawn to fixing the roof.

This convenience is ideal for those who prefer not to deal with time-consuming yard work or unexpected repairs. However, you do pay a monthly fee for these services, so it’s important to factor this into your budget.

With houses, all maintenance falls squarely on your shoulders. You’re in charge of every aspect of upkeeping your property — from painting walls to replacing broken appliances and managing landscaping tasks.

This gives you more control over how things are done but requires either personal effort or the cost of hiring professionals. Owning a house requires you to be ready to handle anything that comes up, whether it’s a leaking faucet or a full-scale renovation project.


Condos typically come with a range of amenities that cater to various lifestyles — like fitness centers, swimming pools, and community spaces. These facilities can add value to your living experience without the hassle of maintenance.

Also, condos often offer services like landscaping and security, saving you time and effort on these fronts.

On the other hand, single-family houses may not have shared amenities, but they do provide more privacy and personal space. You have the freedom to customize your property according to your preferences without needing approval from a homeowners association (HOA).


When it comes to the location, it’s essential to consider your lifestyle and preferences. Condos are often situated in urban or suburban areas with easy access to public transportation, amenities, and entertainment options. They can be ideal for individuals who seek a vibrant community with convenience at their doorstep. 

On the other hand, houses are commonly found in more secluded or family-oriented neighborhoods, offering larger lots and privacy.

The choice between a condo and a house also depends on proximity to work, schools, and recreational areas that align with your daily routine.

For homeowners who value walkability or prefer an active social scene nearby, condos nestled in bustling city centers may provide the perfect setting. Meanwhile, those seeking a quieter environment or spacious outdoor living spaces might find that houses in suburban or rural locations suit their needs better.


Living in a condo means being close your neighbors. You might share walls, floors, or ceilings with other residents, resulting in more frequent interactions. This setup can lead to a sense of community and potentially less privacy than living in a single-family house.

However, it also provides the opportunity to meet new people and build relationships with those nearby.

Most condos have communal areas such as lobbies, hallways, and elevators where you are likely to run into your neighbors regularly. It’s essential to consider whether this social aspect aligns with your lifestyle before deciding between a condo and a house.

Additionally, factors like noise levels from neighboring units should be considered when choosing the type of property that best suits your preferences.

HOA rules

After discussing the impact of neighbors on your living situation, it’s essential to consider the rules and regulations set by the homeowners’ association (HOA) in a condo or housing community.

HOA rules dictate what homeowners can and cannot do with their properties, as well as outline standards for maintenance and appearance. This includes guidelines for exterior modifications, noise levels, pet ownership, parking regulations, landscaping requirements, and even restrictions on renting out your home.

What’s more, HOA rules also typically involve monthly or annual fees that cover shared expenses such as landscaping, amenities upkeep (pools, gyms), security services (gated communities), and insurance on common areas or structures. Altogether, this provides benefits but adds financial obligations to residents.


real estate agency showing

After considering the HOA rules, it’s essential to understand the selling process for condos and houses. When you decide to sell your condo, you must take into account any restrictions outlined in the community’s bylaws that may affect the sale.

Additionally, factors such as association fees and special assessments can influence a potential buyer’s decision. On the other hand, selling a house involves showcasing its features like outdoor space and privacy.

Marketing a house typically involves highlighting its unique characteristics such as yard size, location, schools, or local amenities.

Selling a condo may require approval from the homeowners’ association (HOA), which can add an extra layer of complexity to the process. Potential buyers will also consider factors such as shared facilities and common areas when deciding whether to make an offer.

Who should buy a condo?

First-time homebuyers with limited down payment can consider buying a condo, as they generally come with a lower price tag compared to single-family homes. If you prefer a low-maintenance lifestyle and community amenities without the hassle of exterior upkeep, then a condo might be suitable for you.

Another reason to opt for a condo is if you desire more independence than being a renter but not as much responsibility as owning a house. Condos are also an ideal option for individuals looking for starter homes that offer greater affordability.

If you want homeownership without the burden of regular maintenance and enjoy living in urban or desirable locations, purchasing a condo could be the right choice.

Who should buy a house?

Prospective homeowners who value privacy, space, and independence should consider buying a house. Houses offer the freedom to personalize and expand living spaces without restrictions imposed by condo associations.

For those seeking outdoor areas like yards or gardens for recreational activities or gardening, a house provides enough land for those pursuits.

Potential homeowners interested in enjoying expansive living spaces and desiring autonomy over their property may prefer purchasing a house over a condo. The opportunity to customize landscaping, have larger living quarters, and build equity in real estate are huge factors that draw individuals toward buying a standalone home instead of a condominium.

What are the benefits of buying a condo vs house?

If you’re considering whether to buy a condo or a house, here are some key benefits of choosing a condominium over a single-family home:

  1. Lower initial cost. Condos typically come with lower price tags than single-family houses, making them an attractive option for first-time buyers or those looking to downsize.
  2. Maintenance-free living. Condo ownership often includes exterior maintenance and landscaping, relieving homeowners of these responsibilities. This can be particularly appealing for busy individuals or retirees.
  3. Amenities access. Many condos offer various amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, or community spaces that may not be practical in a single-family home due to space and cost considerations.
  4. Community living. Condos often provide a sense of community and shared responsibility amongst residents, fostering social connections and support networks.
  5. Location advantage. Condos are frequently located in urban areas or near popular attractions, offering convenient access to entertainment, dining, and public transportation.

FAQs: Condo vs house

What are the pros and cons of buying a house?

Buying a house comes with several advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making a decision. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Greater privacy and independence. With a house, you have more privacy and independence compared to living in a condo. You don’t have shared walls or common areas, giving you a sense of ownership over your space.
  2. More space. Houses are typically larger than condos, providing more room for your family and belongings. You also have the option to expand or renovate based on your needs.
  3. Higher costs. Owning a house usually involves higher upfront costs, including larger down payments, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses.
  4. Maintenance responsibility. As a homeowner, you’re responsible for all maintenance and repairs for your property, from fixing the roof to landscaping the yard.
  5. Potential for appreciation. Unlike condos, houses include the land they rest on, which may appreciate over time and increase the overall value of your property.
  6. Customization options. With a house, you have the freedom to customize and personalize both the interior and exterior according to your preferences without needing approval from an association.
  7. Location flexibility. Houses are often available in diverse neighborhoods ranging from urban areas to suburban communities offering different lifestyle options.
  8. Longer commute time. Depending on location choice, living in a house can result in longer commutes compared to condos located in urban centers with easier access to public transportation or amenities.
  9. Limited amenities. While some single-family homes come with impressive amenities like swimming pools or spacious yards, they may lack the extensive facilities offered by many condo communities.

What are the pros and cons of buying a condo?

Looking to buy a condo? Here are the pros and cons to consider:


  1. Lower maintenance. Enjoy the convenience of minimal exterior maintenance, as many condo associations handle upkeep.
  2. Amenities access. Condos often feature on-site amenities like gyms, pools, and communal spaces for residents’ use.
  3. Affordability. Generally, condos come with a lower price tag than single-family houses, making them an attractive option for first-time buyers.
  4. Location benefits. Condos are commonly situated in urban or desirable locations, providing convenient access to city life and entertainment.


  1. HOA fees. Homeowners association fees can increase your monthly expenses and may have special assessment fees for unexpected repairs.
  2. Less privacy. Close proximity to neighbors means less privacy compared to owning a standalone house.
  3. Resale value. Historically, condos appreciate in value at a slower rate than single-family homes due to market factors such as oversupply in some areas.
  4. Limited customization. Restrictions on structural changes or major renovations may limit customization options within a condo unit.

Which is cheaper to buy: a condo or a house?

Buying a condo is generally cheaper than buying a house upfront. Condos often come with lower price tags and can be an affordable option, especially for first-time homebuyers with limited down payments.

Condos are usually less expensive because you’re purchasing the unit rather than the land it sits on. Thus, if budget is your primary concern, a condo may offer a more cost-effective entry into homeownership compared to owning a single-family house.

Which is easier to sell: a condo or a house?

Selling a condo is often easier than selling a house. Condos are attractive to first-time buyers, making the market for condos consistently strong. Additionally, their lower maintenance needs and generally affordable price points increase their appeal to potential buyers looking for an easy entry into homeownership.

Buyers who seek convenience and amenities associated with condo living find them more accessible compared to buying a traditional home. Unlike houses that require upkeep of exterior areas like lawns, condominium associations handle these responsibilities, making condos suitable for busy individuals or those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle.