Choosing between condo and apartment living can be a little challenging. The truth is many people do not know the actual difference between renting a condo and an apartment, which is essential to making the right decision. That said, there are a number of pros and cons for both living situations. Thus, at the end of the day, you will have to decide what matters most and what exactly you are looking for in a home. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go over the basics first.
Difference Between an Apartment and a Condo
Typically, the most obvious difference between an apartment and a condo is often ownership. Normally, when people are looking at condos, they are interested in purchasing one, however people do opt to rent condos in certain situations as well. Therefore, if you are considering a condo for rent, then this difference does not apply.
With that said, there still are a few other notable differences. For instance, condos tend to offer more living space, fewer neighbors, and have a few more amenities like guard gated communities or concierges. Of course, additional space and extra perks are not free. Rather condos tend to cost more and may even include HOA fees, even if you are renting.
On the other hand, an apartment tends to be located in a larger building and offers slightly less space than a traditional condo. Apartment complexes tend to offer similar communal perks these days, but may not have a doorman or valet parking. However, the nice thing about apartments is they are generally affordable and tend to be more modern/updated more frequently.
Pros of Renting a Condo
Looking at the pros of renting or purchasing a condo, then, are fairly obvious. If you want a few more upscale amenities, more living space, and fewer neighbors—this is probably the best choice. Moreover, condos tend to be in good overall condition because they have exchanged hands less. In other words, despite being available for rent now, more than likely, your future condo was purchased by someone previously and maintained as though it were someone’s property versus as a rental. Along those same lines, if you are renting from the actual owner of a condo, then you will likely have more facetime or direct contact with your landlord. Thus, any issues that need to be addressed can be brought directly to your landlord’s attention for a quicker resolution.
There are also a few disadvantages to renting a condo as well. For starters, as briefly mentioned, there are typically HOA fees. You may think as a renter, these fees do not apply to you, however the owner or landlord is still responsible for these fees. Consequently, these HOA fees are often factored into the rental rate.
Furthermore, renting a condo unit means you are likely dealing with an individual versus a property management team, which can sometimes be bad if the said individual does not have ample experience when it comes to managing a property or being a landlord.
Other condo cons you can expect to deal with are maintenance fees and availability. Generally, condo owners are responsible for their unit’s maintenance and repair costs. So, as a renter, this could either mean you are expected to cover these costs on your own or again, those fees have been worked into your rental rate. Lastly, finding a condo for rent is definitely not a walk in the park. Many condo communities do not even allow owners to rent out their units.
Pros of Renting an Apartment
When it comes to renting an apartment, there are a few benefits. Besides being more affordable, renters/tenants are typically not responsible for apartment home maintenance or repair costs. Furthermore, with less square footage, there is less to clean up, and your renter’s insurance is typically cheaper. Utility bills also tend to be more affordable when you are renting an apartment.
Other reasons renting an apartment can be beneficial include communal amenities like playgrounds, covered parking, nearby schools, and an abundance of everyday conveniences. Often you will find that apartment communities are in heavily populated areas. Therefore, it is easier to get what you need and feel like you are a part of the surrounding community.
The only disadvantage to renting an apartment is you usually have less of a say in decorating or remodeling. When you rent an apartment home, you cannot paint the walls crazy colors or request that a wall be knocked out to create an open concept floor plan like you can with a condo. Overall, this is a small price to pay for more flexible renting terms and more money left over each month.
Other possible cons you may encounter with an apartment include loud neighbors, parking issues, and less square footage—finding a 4-bedroom apartment these days is next to impossible.
Things to Consider
If you are still mulling over the pros and cons of both and need a little more assistance, that is perfectly understandable. Moving to new housing, in general, can be a lot of work, so it makes sense to be sure of your decision. Thus, the things you need to consider here are your overall budget, whether or not you need additional space for a pet or a home office, if you want added perks like a doorman or valet, and if you can afford unexpected maintenance cost or repairs. Chances are you would prefer to have a little extra spending money at the end of each month, so unless absolutely necessary, there is really no reason that an apartment cannot meet your living requirements.
Flexibility and Location
Another thing to keep in mind when making your decision is flexibility. In both scenarios, you are a renter, which does give you more flexibility than purchasing a home or a condo/townhouse. However, since apartments are generally more affordable, you can seriously consider month-to-month leases, or short-term leases without it costing you an arm and a leg.
In addition to flexible leasing terms, finding an available condo in your desired location that you can rent might be a little tricky. So, you should keep that in mind when you are looking for your future home. Remember, being closer to your job or your kid’s school matters more.
Plus, the available amenities may not be that different when you narrow down your options. This is especially true if the condos in the area were once apartments that have been renovated and are now being marketed as condos. So, you should make sure you are not opting to spend more for comparable communal perks when it is all said and done.
Where You are at in Life
Finally, it helps to think about where you are in life when deciding between an apartment and a condo. If you are a young professional who is always on the go, then a condo may not make sense for your needs at the moment. Likewise, if you have a large family, then neither a condo nor an apartment may be right for you plus four kids.
You should also keep in mind how long you are planning to stay in the area. If you have recently relocated for work, but it is only temporary, then an apartment is the better choice financially and socially. Ultimately, only you know which housing situation will work best for you and your family, but at least now you can make a more informed decision.