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The debate on condo vs. apartment is one that has always divided opinions among people. If you are looking for a new home, should you buy a condo or rent an apartment?
While some may think that buying a condo is better suited for their needs, others choose to rent a house as their preferred choice of living arrangement. Choosing between owning a condo and renting an apartment can be complex and stressful. Many lifestyle and financial considerations need to be addressed so that you make an informed decision.
Let’s take a look at the comparison between buying a condo vs. renting an apartment. What makes each option unique, and more importantly, which one is better?
What is a Condo?
A condominium, popularly known as a “condo,” is a private residence within a larger building or complex. When you become a condo owner, you take up the ownership of the unit, along with the right to use common areas. Together, with other condo owners, you’ll share swimming pools, garages, elevators, common hallways and gyms, to name a few. In simpler terms, you do not fully own the amenities within the building.
To own a condo means you can call the shots on who will rent your unit. You’re the landlord, and interaction with the renters will be directly handled by you. With a condo, you’ll build equity in your home. Equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and what your home is currently worth. Investing in a condo means working towards building equity, especially if the property is located in a prime location.
You’ll find high-rise condo buildings in the city, offering a great living experience. The term “high-rise” refers to a building that vertically rises seven or more stories. So, condo buildings can be as high as you can imagine, and the higher you go the better the view experience.
What is an Apartment?
An apartment is a rented unit that is part of one, or more, residential buildings that is usually owned and/or managed by the property management company. In an apartment, renters have common areas to share like a swimming pool, gym, and covered parking.
Usually, units are defined by rental agreements between an owner and tenant, with a flexible lease that can range from a few months to one year. All tenants are subject to the same guidelines within the building or complex, which are established by the owner or management company.
What’s the Difference Between a Condo and an Apartment
The difference between a condo and an apartment stems from ownership. While an apartment is owned and managed by a property management company, a condo, on the other hand, is privately owned by an individual who manages it, or it lies under the umbrella of the condo community’s homeowner association HOA, which gets help from property management companies to run it.
When you rent a condo, you typically engage the owner directly, unlike in an apartment where you deal with a property manager who works for the corporation. Often, it is easier to contact the landlord directly in the case of renting a condo, however, for an apartment, you may not necessarily have as much contact with the landlord.
Condos are often managed by the owners, and renting one can be chaotic if the landlord is unreachable, especially when you need urgent assistance. If you are thinking of renting a condo, consider the availability of the landlord.
Let’s take a look at how condos and apartments compare from other points of view.
The Aspect of Cost: Buying a Condo vs. Renting Apartment
You may be thinking a condo will cost you more than an apartment. Well, to some extent you are right. Condos will typically require a downpayment to partly offset the purchase price. The downpayment can be anywhere between 3.5% to 20% of the price of the property. On the other hand, renting will cost less upfront, with requirements being one month’s rent and a security deposit.
If you lack a chunk of money to offer upfront, then you’ll probably have to rent, which is typically less costly than buying a condo. That said, depending on the location of the property, the monthly costs of a condo and an apartment could be similar.
Cost Associated with Buying a Condo
Condo owners are required to pay monthly fees to HOA. The HOA fees represent the largest expense of the condo lifestyle. The HOA fees are used to facilitate the maintenance, and other expenses such as parking, insurance, and a contingency fund. The downside of paying this fee is that you never get it back, nor does it build equity.
Unlike apartments, owning a condo comes with paying property taxes. This means condo owners incur extra costs, in the name of taxes, annually. You also have to keep in mind that condo closing costs can be up to several thousands of dollars.
Depending on your budget, you can pay a downpayment and offset the rest with a monthly mortgage payment.
Cost Associated with Renting an Apartment
Apart from paying monthly rent, as a tenant, you also could be paying for utilities separately, such as gas, electricity, and internet, to external providers every month.
With that said, in apartments, you don’t have to worry about closing costs. As soon as you pay a security deposit, and one month’s rent, you’re good to go.
Whether you rent an apartment or own a condo, maintenance is always a must. An issue is always going to show up that needs immediate attention before the damage is out of control. So how does maintenance vary in both condos and apartments?
Maintenance in Condos
If you are a condo owner, it’s your responsibility to fix any damages within. If you choose to let in a tenant, you may agree on what cost either of you will take, as far as maintenance is concerned. However, HOA often covers any maintenance of the community, such as the shared amenities and the building itself.
Unlike apartments where the management will organize the maintenance by sending someone to your unit, owning condos means you will have to handle the process, since you are technically the landlord.
Maintenance in Apartments
In most apartments, maintenance is offered free and available 24/7. Of course, the management doesn’t want to upset their tenants by being inefficient in essential services like maintenance. Most of the repairs are usually their responsibility, and all you have to do is submit a service request.
How Do Rules and Regulations on Both Condos and Apartments Compare, and Who Sets them?
Rules and regulations can be stressful, especially when it limits your lifestyle, right? Needless to say, you’ll have to follow them if you want to stay within the community, no matter if it is the condo or the apartment.
In the case of a Condo
In a condo, rules and regulations are likely to be set by the HOA. These regulations offer guidelines on residential living to evade chaos and unnecessary issues within the community. For example, you’ll be informed of the pet policy within the community.
It is always important to check out whether the community is pet-friendly before buying a condo. It is not a guarantee that they accept pets.
In the case of an Apartment
In most cases, the apartment’s management company is the one setting the residential guidelines to be followed by everyone. Mostly, apartments don’t fancy walls being interfered with. This means more restrictions on customization, unlike in the condos where there are fewer restrictions.
Why You Might Be Better Off Renting an Apartment
Renting an apartment gives you the flexibility you need, meaning you’ll have the capacity to move on short notice. The owner of a condo, on the other hand, has to sell the property, or rent it out, before moving. Leases always have an exit clause, giving the tenant room to terminate it as stipulated in the agreement.
More Convenient Location
Apartments often can be found in a prime location, like being a walking distance from social amenities. For instance, you will find an apartment for rent around major shopping malls and popular recreational amenities, just to mention a few.
Less Maintenance than Condos
Renting an apartment gives you the financial benefit of not incurring the maintenance cost. As discussed earlier, it’s the responsibility of the property management company to fix it.
Buying a Condo vs. Renting an Apartment
If owning a condo or renting an apartment isn’t your taste, maybe you might want to consider homes for sale. You’ll find many listings, ranging from single family to multi family homes, no matter what area you want to live, and real estate agents can be vital in helping you secure your next home. Buying a home gives you the opportunity of also building equity.
What to Consider When Choosing a Home for Sale
It’s important to be aware of the critical factors when buying your next real estate property. Let’s check out what those vital aspects are when buying a home.
Establish how much you are willing to pay for a home. Prices vary, and so do the quality and location of the house.
Do you qualify for a mortgage? Is your credit score good enough to attract a substantial mortgage for your home?
Choose a location that makes it easier for you to get access to social amenities.
To buy a condo or rent an apartment is your choice to make, but at least backing it with facts will help. Based on the discussion above on buying a condo vs. renting, we can ultimately conclude that renting an apartment is the better option.
Flexibility, financial benefits, and convenience are all part of what is important, as far as your living arrangement is concerned. Renting perfectly fits the description, and thus gets the nod any day.
Taking out an adjustable-rate mortgage can be costly, especially whenever the rate goes up. Renting will be more stress-free, as you will not have to worry about the mortgage payments.
When you are searching for your next apartment home, you may be considering a different city too. Looking for a different city that is convenient, but still affords you the chance to be close to work and close to the gym, can be a little tricky. The good news here is, if you are looking in Oakland County, we can help you go over the top five cities to rent an apartment in.
Obviously, there is a wealth of towns that make up Oakland County, but there are a few places that stand out among the rest. Cities like Royal Oak, Southfield, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, and Auburn Hills are the top places to look for affordable luxury apartments. That said, let’s go over a few reasons why each of these cities is a great place to put down roots and experience apartment living at its finest.
Farmington Hills is definitely our top pick for cities to rent an apartment for a variety of reasons. For instance, not too long ago, Time Magazine picked this northwest suburb of Detroit as their top place to live in the entire state of Michigan. The good news here is things have only gotten better since then.
Farmington Hills has so much to offer in the way of affordable luxury apartments, but that is not all this city has to offer its residents and visitors. Just take a quick day trip into the city, and you will find that there is so much to see and do here. Not only are there a wealth of parks, recreational spaces, museums, galleries, and more, but Farmington Hills also has a multitude of golf courses, adventure spots, historical sites, amazing local eateries, and first-rate shopping. What’s more, this city has highly regarded schools and a flourishing economy, making it a great place to live for just about everyone.
Coming in at number two is Southfield, yet another cozy suburb of Detroit. Southfield has parks, restaurants, shopping centers, quality schools, and affordable apartment homes. This city is currently building a downtown district with even more everyday conveniences.
The nice thing about this city is that it is located right next to Farmington Hills. As a result, you can have access to comparable city-wide amenities, if you will. In terms of housing, Southfield has a handful of apartment complexes, townhomes and rental homes. This city is also ideal for growing families, young professionals and retirees.
That said, Southfield does still have a few kinks to work out like its roads and limited dining options. If this city can get a handle on these two things, then it may just give Farmington Hills a run for its money.
To many people’s surprise, the continually reimagined city of Royal Oak comes in at number three for several reasons. For starters, there is no denying this city has one of the best downtown districts around. However, when it comes to affordable housing, space, available parking, and privacy, you might be a little disappointed.
Sure, you can live in posh apartments/condos here, but if you are on a budget, you may want to look elsewhere. Despite high rental rates and limited space, there is a lot to see and experience in Royal Oak, like its nightlife. In fact, Royal Oak has one of the best bar/pub/lounge scenes in Oakland County. Thus, it is a great spot for young professionals and those who can afford to live in a pricey part of town. Since it is a bustling city, it is not necessarily ideal for growing families or retirees. Nevertheless, younger people do seem to enjoy this lively part of Oakland County.
While in Royal Oak, if you are wondering what is across 10 Mile Road or 696’s service drive, it is the city of Ferndale. Similar to Royal Oak, Ferndale has more houses for rent than it does apartments. Thus, this is why Ferndale is not ranked too high. Nevertheless, the available apartment homes that you will find in Ferndale, for the most part, are reasonably priced.
Once again, this is yet another lively city that attracts a lot of young professionals, students and people just starting out in their careers. Notably, one issue with apartments living in Ferndale is that there is limited parking. That said, many people that choose to live in Ferndale also decide not to have a vehicle. As a result, if you do not have a car, then living in Ferndale is one of the better choices since you will find all of your everyday conveniences within walking distance. In addition to standard amenities, this city has a multitude of restaurants, shops, year-round events put on by the town and more.
Number five on the list is Auburn Hills. This lovely city in Oakland County has a wealth of apartment complexes at affordable prices, which matters. This city also has excellent schools, parks, and a thriving economy thanks to various corporate headquarters and Oakland University.
In fact, the only downside to this city is that it is further out from most things like the airport, major cities like Troy, Birmingham, Farmington Hills, Novi, etc. Consequently, if you do not work in the area or go to school in the vicinity, then Auburn Hills may be too far away from key points of interest for you. Regardless, Auburn Hills made it on our top five places in Oakland County to rent an apartment list because you will find contemporary apartment homes, great amenities and convenient access to major freeways.
Bonus City – Birmingham
Our bonus city for apartment hunting is Birmingham. This cozy, yet posh, area of Oakland County has apartment homes, townhouses, high-rise condos and other rentals for lease. Moreover, Birmingham has great schools and a must-see downtown district with shops, restaurants, yoga studios, plus more.
All-in-all, Birmingham is a wonderful place to put down roots if you can afford to. Clearly, the one caveat here is that Birmingham is a pricey place to live, and your dollar only goes so far. Thus, if you want a large, contemporary apartment home here, you are easily looking at $2,000+ a month for even a 1-bedroom apartment. Of course, if you can allocate thousands of dollars a month just for rent, then, by all means, check out this bonus city in Oakland County.
The Best Option
As you can see, all of the cities mentioned above in Oakland County have a lot to offer, but if you are looking for a city that you and the whole family can enjoy, then your best option is more than likely Farmington Hills. Not only does this city have great schools, affordable contemporary apartment homes that offer tons of living space, ample apartment and street parking, endless entertainment options, plus more, but it is also a well-maintained city.
Ultimately, Oakland County has several cities that are worth considering. These cities mentioned above are just the ones that stand out amongst the crowd. Consequently, if you are short on time and would like your search to be narrow down for you even before you begin looking, then you should utilize the above top five cities for renting an apartment in Oakland County list. That said, if you need additional assistance or would just like to know more about the apartment communities available in these specific cities, then feel free to contact a knowledgeable team member at Botsford Place Terrace Apartments today.
So, you have signed on the dotted line and are ready to move into your new Farmington Hills apartment. In general, moving into any new space is exciting, and a tad bit stressful, especially during the summer months. Similarly, moving to a new city can make you feel a bit turned around. That being said, Farmington Hills is rather user-friendly, and there are a variety of everyday conveniences available, regardless of where your new apartment is located.
If you have not started packing up your old place just yet, there is no need to panic. You can save yourself some time and energy by first and foremost getting organized. This means creating both a moving checklist and an inventory list.
A moving checklist will help you stay focused on the task at hand, and an inventory list comes in handy as well, especially when you are using movers—which we highly recommend. Remember, you are moving in the heat, and no one likes making multiple trips. With movers, you can get settled into your new apartment quickly, and you won’t have to bribe your friends into helping.
In addition to considering movers, there are a few more things you can do to make your summer move more manageable. Here are five tips for moving into your swanky Farmington Hills apartment this summer.
#1. Research and Plan Ahead
Summer is often one of the busiest times for moving companies. Thus, you are going to have to do some research, cost comparison, and plan well in advance. Once you have chosen movers and set a date, try to schedule your move for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. As you know, it can get pretty hot in the summer, but the temp often is more agreeable in the mornings.
Regardless of the time slot you end up with, if you are doing a lot of the heavy lifting yourself, stay hydrated, schedule breaks, and dress for the occasion. Consider applying sunscreen and bringing portable fans to stay cool and sunburn-free.
Another scheduling issue to stay on top of is the actual date. Unsurprisingly, the beginning and the end of the month tend to be busy days for moving. Moreover, the end of the week and holiday weekends are costly, plus they book up quickly. Therefore, do your research and plan your move sooner rather than later.
#2. Turn On the Utilities ASAP
Moving in the heat is one thing, and getting situated in an apartment that is sweltering hot is another. So, do not forget to turn on your utilities and air-conditioning beforehand. Not only does a cool apartment make moving more enjoyable, but it keeps everyone focused. In fact, if you live close to your new apartment, consider turning the a/c on the night before, especially if your move-in day is going to be a hot one.
Besides turning on the a/c as soon as possible, make sure other utilities you may need immediately are set up already as well. For example, if you need your internet up and running to take care of other business, then set it up prior to moving. Similarly, lights, cable, heat, water, and anything else that you are responsible for turning on should be working on move-in day (do not forget to change your mailing address too).
#3. Be Aware of Items That Are Susceptible to Heat
Moving, whether on your own or with assistance, takes time. In other words, many of your belongings will be sitting in a hot car or truck for possibly a few hours. Therefore, it is in your best interest to put items that do not fare well in warmer weather in a clearly labeled box that goes in first or in a cooler/refrigerator bag (food items, typically). Food and other perishables should be one of the first things you put away, even if you adequately stored them during the trip.
Likewise, try not to leave your electronics in the heat for too long. This can cause irreparable damage to rather expensive stuff like your laptop, smartphone, TV, and vinyl records. Additional items you should not leave in the heat for too long include medicines, formula, water bottles, flammable products, house plants, pets, pet food, and candles or other likely-to-melt items.
#4. Decide What To Do with Pets
Speaking of pets, if you opted not to get a pet sitter, then you need to factor your pet(s) into your moving schedule. For instance, if you have several trips to make, then it is best to have your pet(s) be the last to go. Bringing your pet at the beginning of the move means you have to keep an eye on your furry friend. This means making sure your pet has water, food, and a place to go to the bathroom.
Furthermore, there will likely be people in and out of your apartment on move-in day, and having your pet around may only lead to trouble, ie. people injured, carpet soiled, an escape attempt, etc.
On a slightly different note, before moving, you should also consider taking your pet in for a check-up at the vet. Not only do many apartments require your pet to be up-to-date on their shots, you typically have to provide documentation from the vet stating as much. Remember, moving is stressful for your four-legged friend, so consider a sitter or pet daycare until you get settled in.
#5. Pack Move-In Prep and An Overnight Bag
Another excellent tip for a summertime Farmington Hills move is to make sure you have what you need for the first night in your new apartment. Even the most organized person can forget where they put all their pants, underwear, and everyday toiletries. So, instead of sifting through boxes or having to pack everything all at once, consider packing an overnight or weekend bag. This way, you won’t have to unpack immediately, and you will have everything you need on hand. Consider packing a bag for your children and pets as well—if you have any. Having things they need, like their favorite toys, can help keep them occupied as well as ease them into a new apartment.
In terms of move-in prep, it helps to have cleaning supplies readily available. Generally, all apartments are given the once over before a tenant moves in, however it still does not hurt to wipe down the counters or vacuum after unloading all the boxes. You should consider a quick cleaning of the bathroom(s) too. Ultimately, you will feel more at home, when you know you or a family member has thoroughly cleaned your apartment.
Moving takes a lot of planning and forethought, but that does not mean it cannot be fun. Try keeping a positive attitude, especially in the heat. Additionally, if you have children, have them help out with the move—carrying the throw pillows, the lighter boxes, or something small. Getting the kids involved in the minor details of moving helps make the transition to a new apartment easier. Of course, if your kids are too young to assist, consider a babysitter, or have the grandparents tag along to entertain them.
Finally, once you feel everything and everyone is settled into the new apartment, double-check that you have everything. Nothing is worse than leaving something of value at your old place. Even Though you will likely be exhausted, take a few minutes and do a final walkthrough inspection of your previous home, if you can. Try doing this before the movers show up and after the job is done.
When you say apartment, the first thing that comes to mind is “limited floor space”. Yes, this is quite true as most apartment doesn’t have the kind of floor space compared to traditional homes. Good thing there are few tips and hacks that will help maximize all the available space in your Farmington Hills apartment.