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House or Condo? Deciding what to invest in

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By : Andy Asbury    99 or more times read
Making your first home purchase is a serious business. It is probably the most expensive thing you will ever own and even if a mortgage is a common thing nowadays, it still doesn't hide the fact that you will likely owe a lot of money to the lender. So, it makes sense to buy something that is going to give you the most bang for your buck, a home that you will be happy living in and content to own for a few years.

The single family home has long been the symbol of home ownership. When you buy a house, it and the property it's on belong to you and you have full control over them. While zoning laws need to be considered, usually you can make just about any modification to your property that you desire. A house gives you more room for your family and friends and you can have pets. You also tend to have more privacy in a single family home, as you're not sharing property or walls with your neighbors.

However, your house will cost more for you to keep it in good repair. If you're handy with tools, this may not be too onerous. If you are not, you will have to pay a professional to repair major breakages or wear-and-tear. Your maintenance of your home is your responsibility; you can hire it done, but you have to pay extra for it. In addition, heating and cooling your home will be more expensive than in a condo or apartment. You can make improvements that affect how much you pay for this, but there's that maintenance/repair issue again. You may also have to pay higher taxes than if you live in a condo.

Now a condo is generally more available in hot areas of town, want to live in the heart of downtown? A condo there is cheaper and more easily available than other types of real estate in most cases. You will generally not have to do any outside maintenance, as the condo board hires this done, as well as maintenance and repair. For well-managed condos, the strata fees often cover heat, hot water, and the fees for maintenance and a fund for repairs/replacements for the building. Many condos have amenities like pools, meeting houses and fitness facilities, which are maintained by the condo board and paid for with the strata fees.

A condo is not the place to live if you value your power over your property. All changes to a condominium unit must be okayed by the condo board. Despite owning your condo, you may not be able to have a pet. You must study the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions) carefully to make sure you are not buying into an untenable situation. You will have less outdoor property and less privacy than a home. There is also the matter of the condo strata fees, which can be raised by the condo board. If there isn't enough money in the condo funds, condo owners can be assessed a fee for any repairs and/or replacements that the board decides are in order.

No matter what you choose to buy, getting a home/building inspection done is imperative to making sure that you are not buying a property that has something majorly wrong with it. If buying a condo, carefully read the CC&Rs before you sign the paperwork. It might be the best condo ever, but if you can't have your faithful Fluffy there, it's not worth what you're paying for it. Examine your nature and consider whether you want the expense and upkeep of a single family home. If you think that your time would be better spent elsewhere, a condo might be a better choice. It all comes back to what you really want. Don't buy a house just because you think that you "should" have one. Rather, buy any property because you think it's a good investment, both personally and financially.
To find Minnesota lofts and condos for rent, go to There you'll find detailed information about rental properties in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and surrounding areas.

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