Are Condos Ideal for 1st Time Home Buyers?

Living the condominium life has its perks – from having the right amount of space to starting a life with your partner to enjoy amenities in the comfort of your building without driving a distance. As first-time home buyers, condominiums are a great option as you can enjoy homeownership without extensive maintenance.  

But why not an apartment? What is the difference between a condo and an apartment? 

No worries, we got you covered! This article will explore the critical difference between an apartment or condominium, the pros and cons of buying a condo, and why you should purchase a condo as your first home.

What is a Condominium?

Commonly called a condominium, it is a type of housing complex in which there are units for sale and rent – when you rent a condo, you are renting directly from the condominium owner.

As a condo owner, you will be responsible for what goes on within their units, such as maintenance and repairs. Beyond that, owners must pay regular fees to a condo association – contributing to the upkeep of shared common areas, amenities, and the condo’s exteriors. 

In Malaysia, condominiums are seen as a symbol of luxury – where their numbers grow in desirable, urban centres such as Klang Valley and Kuala Lumpur.

Finding an RM400k condo unit is an affordable starting price for a luxury condominium. In addition, unit prices can go lower between RM300k-RM500k, but luxury condos are priced where the sky knows no limit –  as seen in many countless Instagram shots of infinity pools.

Difference Between Apartment and Condominium 

While condos and apartments have some similarities, they are critical differences between who owns them, how they’re run and governed, and the costs involved.

CondoUnitMortgage/Taxes/Monthly RentIn-Unit
ApartmentNoneMonthly RentNone

Ownership – Typically, apartment buildings are owned by a property management company, while condos are individually owned units. Instead of answering to a property manager, condo dwellers make up a condo association that collects dues to cover maintenance costs for common areas of the condominium complex.

Rules and responsibilities – Rules for apartments are set by the property manager and tend to be the same for every tenant. This is not necessarily so with a condo, where the condo association sets rules; the governing board comprises people who own units within the complex.

Costs – Condo owners must worry about varying expenses like the mortgage payment, condo fees or property taxes. If you’re renting, you might not notice much of a price difference between rent for an apartment and rent for a condo. However, the makeup of your payments may be slightly different if you’re renting a condo. Your landlord may have written in your lease that you’re responsible for the condo association fees and utilities, or they may adjust your rent to cover the cost.

Amenities – Condos and apartments both may provide specific community amenities. What you get generally depends on where you are and how much you pay to live there. An excellent condo or apartment complexes offer gym access, a pool or extra security.

Maintenance – Condo owners are typically responsible for any maintenance or repairs needed within their unit. This is true if they’re living there themselves and if they’re renting out the unit to a tenant. An apartment will likely have a maintenance staff who know how to deal with most problems, and they’ll resolve an issue quickly. If you purchase a condo, there is no maintenance staff as you have to rely on the owner to get things done.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo

Pros Buying a Condo

The benefits of purchasing a condo revolve around property ownership with added amenities and less upkeep and affordability. Condominiums are excellent choices for empty nesters looking to downsize, seniors who prefer less maintenance and first-time homebuyers looking for a starter home in an urban area.

  • Added amenities – depending on the complex, you may have access to amenities like a pool, dog park or parking garages. The condo association typically maintains these shared amenities, so you enjoy them without keeping them up on your own.
  • Less maintenance – condos are popular for people who want the freedom of owning their residence but don’t want the upkeep of having a single-family home. If you like owning your place while not having to mow a lawn, shovel snow or repair a roof, a condo might be an excellent fit for you.
  • Typically, condos are cheaper than traditional homes and are great for first-time homebuyers with modest salaries. While you have to factor in condo association fees, a condo can be more affordable than a freestanding house. If you’ve previously discounted homeownership because of the high cost of entry, a condo might be closer to your price range.

Cons Of Buying A Condo

Like any home purchase, there are considerations to consider when you’re looking to buy a condo. If you don’t want to pay additional costs on top of your mortgage or abide by community rules, condo living may not be suitable.

  • Condo association restrictions and fees – when you buy into a complex development, you also buy into the set rules set by the condo association. These rules can include rental limitations and pet restrictions. Additionally, you’ll pay the monthly fee for the upkeep of the common areas and building upkeep. These fees can vary widely depending on the location and size of the condo.
  • Less square footage – large families or people whose well-being at home comes from outdoor space might feel cramped in a condo. Most of the time, condo units don’t have private outdoor space, and you may have to walk a fair distance to find a park or playground.
  • Less privacy – condos share common areas and walls. With this shared space comes the feeling of community and a lack of privacy. Shared space can have noise problems, and your condo association may restrict how long guests can stay.

The pros and cons of buying a condo will vary depending on the type of condominium and its location, the size of the complex and the kind of tenant.

Welcome to your new home

Once you decide whether a condo or a house is right for you, the next step is to get pre-approved. Shopping with a pre-approval in hand will give you confidence. It’s also often a priority for sellers to know you have the money you’re offering, so if you want to make an offer on an attractive property quickly, it’s probably a good move.

Originally published: Why Condos are Ideal for First-Time Home Buyers

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