South Florida is home to some of the most luxurious properties in the country. The state features different types of housing that serve different lifestyles. However, this variety might be confusing. If you are buying a property in South Florida and wondering which one is best for you, a condo or a house? There are pros and cons to both.
One has a fenced-in yard and more privacy. The other is closer to downtown. Which one to choose ? and how to decide?
Let’s find out more about these two types of properties to help you find out which one is better for you.
A house is a four outer walls building that stands on its own, unconnected to any other structure. Most of the time, houses feature a lot with a yard in the front or the back. In addition to the building, the owner owns all the structures on the land, too, like a garage or an additional unit.
In densely populated areas, you may find houses side-to-side in a row. In less populated areas, suburban homes sit on a lot along with few trees and a lawn.
The Costs of Houses :
A single-family home that is detached from any other properties costs more than a condo for several reasons. First, houses are usually bigger. Also, house ownership includes the interior and the exterior as well.
The insurance for a house is also more expensive than for a condo since it covers everything and not just the interior. Additionally, you will be in charge of maintenance and all the costs related to it. Yes, if you don’t like maintenance, you might pay someone to do that for you, but you also need to add their payment to your expenses.
For taxes, most cities and counties in Florida tax condos and houses the same. However, by owning a house, you will probably own more property, therefore paying more for taxes.
On the other hand, a condo (condominium) is like an apartment, that is sold independently, in a shared complex or building. Usually, a condo is smaller in size in comparison with a house.
Unlike a house, you don’t have to worry about maintenance if you own a condo. There is usually a board or a homeowners’ association (HOA) that holds and takes care of the outside of the building and all the shared spaces, such as swimming pools, the gym, and parking garages. These spaces differ from a complex to another depending on the size and location.
Many first time homeowners prefer condos as they are usually cheaper than houses. However, there might be some HOA additional fees.
If you have sold or bought real estate, you’d know that the actual cost of the piece is not the same as the listing price. Usually, additional charges are added, such as the homeowner’s insurance, taxes, mortgage insurance, and HOA fees.
The Costs of Condos :
In the majority of cases, condos are less expensive than houses since they have less square footage, and since the owner is only responsible for the inside, maintenance is cheaper. If you own a condo in South Florida, you don’t need to worry about mowing the lawn, painting the roof or the exterior walls. All of that is done by the board or by the HOA.
HOA fees can differ depending on how many amenities the complex offers. Any additional services like the doorman, a dog park, or a storage unit cost more. In this particular area, condos costs increase. To avoid that, you should let your real estate agent know which amenities you need and which you don’t.
For the homeowner’s insurance, it costs less than it does for a house since the owner will only take care of the interior. The HOA covers the rest. If the exterior walls need repainting, the HOA’s insurance will cover it.
The most important thing is to know all the costs before buying a condo.
Condos vs. Houses: Pros and Cons
The differences between condos and houses are truly significant. The two properties vary in size, location, and costs. Condos are smaller in size and part of a bigger community. On the opposite, houses are situated in neighborhoods. Many new houses come with HOAs as well, as they are part of planned developments.
If you can’t decide which one to buy, a condo or a house? It would be best if you considered these things:
1. Living in a condo is living in a community :
Living in a condo means sharing the amenities with your neighborhoods. You will interact with your neighbors at the gym, swimming pool, clubhouse, and the mailroom, in addition to the HOA meetings.
It can be a positive thing if you have a good relationship with your neighbors. But if you are more of an introvert, or if your neighbors are noisy or like to pry, condos might be a curse.
2. Houses Have More Privacy
As houses are separated from all other properties, they are an excellent choice for people who value privacy. If you don’t like someone stepping on your yard, you can put up a No Trespassing sign.
However, the privacy that a house in South Florida can grant you might cost more money. You’ll need to pay more for owning the interior and the exterior of your home.
If you are more of a social person, this might be a downside for you. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your neighbors can have positive impacts. For instance, if you are leaving town for a few days, you’ll have someone to guard your place, water your plants or feed your pet.
A good thing about houses is that you don’t have to deal with the HOA everyday, unlike condos. On the other side, you’re going to have to handle any maintenance or security issues on your own.
3. The HOA’s strict rules
Each HOA has its own rules, conditions, and restrictions. The rules concern the residents’ behavior, shared responsibilities, and even architecture and design. The HOA decides what containers you can bring to the pool and the color of your curtains. Before buying a condo in Florida, you need to read the convent and understand the HOA rules and restrictions.
A good HOA can facilitate your life as a condo owner. That is why you need to research the association deeply and also find out if the units are occupied by owners or renters. If there are too many temporary occupants, the common areas won’t be taken care of.
As mentioned before, HOAs are not just for condos but houses in planned communities as well. In that case, the rules tend to be leaner, and even the costs are usually less. You can ask about it before you decide to buy a home. The HOA can completely define your homeownership experience.
Finally, it is important to consult with a real estate agent before buying a house or condo. Experts know more about the local market and will help you find the perfect fit for you!