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What are the Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo Compared to a Freestanding House?

Written by Bermudiana Beach Resort

25 | 10 | 19

Real Estate in Bermuda  |  
5 minute read

Aside from location, housing type is one of the most important decisions you must make when purchasing real estate. Two great options are condos and freestanding houses. There are pros and cons for both types of housing. Let’s discuss...

 

The Pros of Buying a Condo

condo interior

The Ideal Choice for Desirable Locations

More buyers are deciding to purchase condos over freestanding houses in recent years due to the increase in the popularity of urban living. They are especially great in vacation hotspots and can allow you to own a slice of paradise at a lower price.

Access to Premium Amenities 

Some also offer additional amenities, such as pools and fitness centers, that would be cost and space prohibitive in a house. For this reason, most people who live in houses have to commute to public facilities to get those amenities. In contrast, a condo owner has access to these without even needing to leave the property.

Low Maintenance

With people living busier lives, condos are an attractive choice because of their convenience and low-maintenance. While homeowners are busy mowing their lawns, painting the house, trimming hedges and pruning trees - condo owners are enjoying a few laps at the pool or simply relaxing at home.

The exterior of a condo building and all common parts are generally owned and maintained by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA). The owner is responsible only for the interior of the condo they own. But it is the responsibility of the HOA to repair and maintain everything beyond the front doorstep. Each condo owner then pays annual HOA fees towards these costs.

Close Knit Community

Neighborhoods of detached single-family homes tend to create distance between neighbors. Condos create a much closer community, plus it’s added security. Since condos tend to attract people of similar backgrounds and interests, there’s a greater likelihood of socializing.

Condo Complexes are Very Secure

Condo complexes can be gated communities and often have security systems such as CCTV. Neighborhood watch schemes are commonplace.

The Cons of Buying a Condo

condo interior

Recurring Association Fees 

A condo typically costs less than a freestanding house, but that isn’t the only figure that needs consideration. One major drawback to condo life is the HOA fees, which in some years can increase significantly if there's a roof to replace for example. 

Despite this, these fees go to a good cause - the HOA will conveniently take care of all exterior maintenance for you. This means you don't have to worry about trimming the hedges or keeping track of when the roof might need painting or keeping the building insurance up to date.

You're Not the Only Voice in the Decision-Making Process

Although many owners seek the sense of community and security found in condos, some buyers don't like the rules and restrictions associated with them. All stakeholders within your building will share the decision-making process with regards to the condo, so it isn’t just up to you.

Unable to Modify the Exterior

An inherent disadvantage of a condo is uniformity, you can’t just paint the exterior, and in some cases, the interior (for example, if it is part of a condo-hotel) any color you want to. As a family grows, you won’t be able to knock down walls or add anything extra.

For this reason, condos are much better suited for vacation getaways rather than primary residences.

 

The Pros of Buying a Freestanding House

bermuda homes on the sea

You Have Complete Control Over the Property

Technically speaking, owning real estate entails land. Condos don’t have that by definition. It’s one of the primary advantages of owning a freestanding house. You also have total control over the property to remodel or make changes without requiring the consent of other people.

When you buy a condo, you're unable to modify the exterior and in some cases the interior,  because you don't technically own the building - you'll only own the space within your walls. However, condos in desirable locations are often designed to the highest standard, both structurally and aesthetically. So, you're unlikely to want to change anything anyway.

You Usually Get More Storage Space

Houses also typically feature more storage space in closets, attics or basements. But then again, if you own a condo in a vacation hotspot, will you really require much more than a few breezy linen shirts, beach cover-ups, a couple of pairs of shorts and your swimming gear?

More Privacy

Freestanding houses offer more privacy because your neighbors won't be living as close to you as they might be in a condo building. For starters, you won't be sharing a floor or in some cases, a wall. 

However, you might not become as close to your neighbors as you might if you lived in a condo. There's a real sense of community within a condo complex that often can't be replicated with housing estates.

The Cons of Buying a Freestanding House

bermuda-houses

House Maintenance is Your Responsibility

Despite advantages like more privacy and total control over exterior modifications, homeownership has some drawbacks. For example, a homeowner is completely responsible for all maintenance inside and outside the property, including care and upkeep of the yard and trees.

In a condo, you pay association fees and the HOA will take care of all the exterior maintenance for you.

Utility Bills Can Be Higher

Another disadvantage is that utility bills are generally higher because houses typically take up more square feet than condos and are more expensive to heat or cool, for example. 

There’s no doubt that buying a condo can be a great decision if you want access to more amenities, engage in less maintenance and want to be a part of a closer community. Purchasing a condo is an exciting time, especially when it’s in a desirable location. But what exactly is the process?

Buying a Condo? Here’s A Detailed Timeline 

What’s my first step? What will be my last? And everything in between? To help you visualize the steps, we’ve created a timeline.

From inquiry to exploring your new home, we’ve mapped it all out. You can be the proud owner of a condo in no time, with ocean views and access to amazing amenities.

condo buying timeline