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For those who are just embarking on the renting journey, the adventure comes with a million questions. If you find yourself in this situation, the very first questions that might pop in your head would be how much it costs and what you can get for the money. This gets us to the next question, condo vs. apartment – which one is the best fit for you? So, let’s find some answers.
What is a condo?
A condominium or condo is a type of private residence in a building or community which is owned by one individual who also acts as a landlord. The units have a very clear structure and an extensive list of amenities that might include access to pools, fitness centers, BBQ areas and many other perks that usually come with living in a community. Given the fact that the owner is the landlord, he/she would have an incentive in investing more time and money in the property and adding all kinds of useful and exciting amenities. It’s also possible that the owner might have lived in the unit before deciding to rent it out therefore the place could carry his/her own personal touch. Also, since the owner is the landlord, he/she could be more willing to allow certain modification to the home or negotiate some items on your lease.
Are condos cheaper than apartments?
Long story short, no, the cost of renting a condo is usually similar to that of renting an apartment. The only difference between a condo and an apartment is in the way you make your monthly payments. Condos are managed by a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and there are HOA fees for living in a condo, meaning that rent will include both the utilities and the fees for the upkeep of common areas. However, when renting an apartment, you would have no HOA fees and utilities will not be included in the rent.
What’s the difference between a condo and an apartment?
First, the basics. Apartments are part of buildings containing multiple rental units, sometimes organized as a community, and the buildings are often managed by a professional company. On the other hand, condos are also part of buildings with multiple units, but each unit is typically owned by a different individual.
Apartments in a rental building are usually designed in the same way and have similar layouts, amenities, and decorations, while condos carry the owner’s personal taste and touch. Most condos are well-cared after, sometimes showcasing exquisite designs, modern appliances, and high-end finishes.
Another thing you should know is that apartments are managed by professional companies, meaning that there is usually 24h maintenance available for whenever something goes wrong in the home. However, living in a condo means that you would depend on the owner’s availability and willingness to help out if any maintenance is needed. For condos, you might even have to pay the maintenance costs yourself, but it really depends on the owner. Keep in mind that even if the landlord agrees to cover the maintenance costs, he/she could take longer to make repairs.
There’s also the possibility of buying a condo if the owner is selling. That’s never the case with apartments since, as we mentioned before, they are owned and managed as an entire building or community. In case the condo is sold, you might find yourself having to look for another home as the new owner might not be willing to continue renting it. In this regard, the safest choice when faced with the condo vs. apartment conundrum would be to go with the latter, if you don’t plan on buying anytime soon.
Condo vs. apartment – Take your pick
Most people would prefer renting in a place professionally managed by a company because they are expected to be more organized and experienced in dealing with different situations (maintenance, paying the rent, fees). However, living in a condo has its advantages as well. You may find a condo in a beautiful building, with outstanding amenities and unique designs. Fair warning, some HOAs are not in favor of owners renting out their units, therefore, finding a condo for rent might prove to be a difficult task.
Depending on which one you choose, you also need to get specific insurance. Although both apartment and condo insurance policies usually cover personal property damage, condo insurance also adds building coverage. Make sure you check the policy and what it covers to choose the proper one for your situation.
As far as inventory goes, nationwide, you’re much more likely to find a wider selection of apartments for rent than condos. According to our study about construction, approximately 346,000 new apartments were delivered in 2017 with the majority of them being built in Texas. If you’re willing to relocate, make sure to head towards cities like New York, NY, Dallas–Fort Worth, TX, Houston, TX or Los Angeles, CA where the number of new apartments exceeded the 13,000 threshold during 2017.
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Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 9-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.
Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and Realtor.com. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.
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