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Home vs. Condo: Which is Your Best Investment?

Buying Real Estate

Home vs. Condo: Which is Your Best Investment?

“Am I better off buying a beach home or a condo?” Our realtors® get asked this question every single week by people looking to buy their first property on the Grand Strand. In fact, if you’re reading this blog right now, you’re probably wrestling with this same exact question. And, like most real estate questions, the answer can usually be summed up with two simple words: “It depends.” 

The Grand Strand is awash in both beautiful beach homes and stunning condominium complexes. Each has its own unique benefits and its own unique drawbacks. Knowing which kind of property best suits your needs is largely dependent on you and your goals. 

Here is our breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of condos and beach homes.

Condo Strengths

One of the biggest benefits of buying a condo is that the upfront cost is cheaper than with a beach home. Condos are much smaller in square footage than a free-standing home. So, more often than not, the asking price on a condo will be lower than that of a single-family home. What’s more, since most owners are only responsible for maintaining their property’s interior, maintenance costs are typically going to be a lot cheaper with condos than with a single-family home. 

Another key strength of buying a condo is its location. While homes are most often built in quiet, suburban neighborhoods, condominiums are typically built in more densely populated metropolitan areas.  This means that most condos will be a lot closer to shops, restaurants, and other places of interest—including the beach.

The last key strength we’ll touch on is the amenities. Most Condo complexes come complete with a plethora of convenient, resort-like amenities—such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers—that would be cost-prohibitive in a house. What’s more, as maintenance of these facilities is typically the responsibility of a condo complex’s HOA, condo owners get to enjoy these amenities without having to deal with the stress and expense of maintaining them: win-win.

Condo Weaknesses

Now comes the downside to all those wonderful amenities: HOA fees. Each month, in addition to your regular mortgage payment, you will also have to pay a fee to your complex’s homeowners association. These fees can be costly, and they can increase when extra money is needed for special maintenance projects—such as repairing storm damage to the building or installing a new roof. 

It is worth noting, however, that in addition to maintenance, HOA fees also cover many of your unit’s basic utilities—such as water, electricity, internet, and cable. Likewise, HOA fees are directly tied to the number of utilities offered by your complex. The fewer amenities the condo complex has, the lower the HOA fees should be. 

In addition to the fees, some buyers also take issue with the rules and restrictions associated with owning a condo. Homeowners must share in the decision-making process concerning the condo building. And while some buyers take comfort in the sense of community and safety found in a condo complex, others chafe at how an HOA can impede how they use their property—particularly if that HOA does not allow rentals. 

For more information on dealing with HOA’s, check out our blog—Tips for Dealing with  Your Homeowners Association. 

House Strengths

Now for the benefits of buying a home. First off, when you buy a home, you have complete control of the property. Does the kitchen feel too small? Remodel it! Want to add an outdoor sitting area? Go for it! You own the property, and in most cases, that means you are completely free to remodel or make changes to your home without needing consent from an HOA. 

Another big advantage of buying a house is the size. On average, most homes are going to have a lot more square footage than a condo. That makes homes much more conducive to accommodating families with children or pets. With all that extra square footage, houses will have a lot more storage space in closets, attics, or basements. 

Lastly, due to the more communal nature of life in a condo building, homebuyers will enjoy a lot more privacy than their condo buying counterparts.

House Weaknesses

While having all that extra space and privacy is wonderful, it also comes with a much bigger price tag. The down payment and mortgage payments on a home are a lot steeper than those associated with a condo. And while most homeowners don’t have to worry about paying those pricey HOA fees, homeowners are still on the hook with costly utility fees and higher insurance premiums.

What’s more, homeowners are also responsible for maintaining both the interior and the exterior of their homes and the land that the home sits on. If you enjoy doing yard work and household chores, like cleaning the gutters, this isn’t an issue.  However, if not, you are probably going to pay someone to do those services for you.

Turn to the Real Estate Pros

Whether you are interested in buying a home or a condo, it is important that you have experienced real estate professionals there to help you along the way!

For more than 60 years, BHGRE Elliott Coastal Living has been the name the Grand Strand trusts for all their real estate needs. Using the latest technology and most innovative marketing strategies, we guarantee that our family of real estate professionals will find the perfect home to suit your needs.

Give us a call at 843-280-5704 or stop by our office today. Together we’ll find you the beach property of your dreams!

Kyle earned his Masters and Bachelors Degrees from the University of Alabama. A native of the Upstate, Kyle fell in love with the Grand Strand as a child during summer vacations with his family. A passionate writer, reader and world traveler, he can always be found on the beach with his head in the clouds and a book in his hands.

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