In last week’s blog, we talked about the advantages that buying a condominium provides over single family detached homes. But condos aren’t for everyone and there are many reasons to buy a house instead!
Before we get going, we want to congratulate you on your decision to become a home owner. If it’s your first time, it can be a little crazy! If you’re a little more seasoned, it’s still an exciting time!
So let’s get into some of the reasons to buy a house instead of a condo.
Location and Size
A lot can be discussed about location. Of course, there is the physical location of the neighborhood that you find your home in, but also the type of location in which you find your home. Condos are often found in higher population density locations like cities or along the beach (especially in South Florida).
Houses and neighborhoods are usually located a little bit further away from the hustle-and-bustle of city life. You will most likely need a car to get to most places like work and the grocery store. However, with that also comes with a more private, quiet lifestyle.
Many families choose houses over condos because you also get a lot more space for your money with a house. What may cost $300,000 for a Downtown West Palm Condo with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and 1,200 sq. ft. will potentially get you at least another bedroom and 1,000 sq. ft. more in a house.
Most houses also come with yards! That can’t be overlooked. While condos have shared common areas, they don’t have much private outside space like a home. It’s hard to let the kids go play in the backyard when you don’t have one. And don’t forget that it makes it much easier if you’re a pet lover to open the sliding door to the back yard to let them out instead of having to take an elevator to the first floor and finding a place to relieve Fido!
After the crash of 2008 rules were put in place that have made it nearly impossible to get a traditional mortgage in a condominium. There are strict guidelines and regulations that most condominiums can’t meet that would result in a traditional loan. Not all condos suffer from this problem like One and Two City Plaza and the Whitney in Downtown West Palm Beach (where we can offer financing options). However, many buildings are not available to traditional, fixed interest rate loans.
That is not a problem with houses. The financing options for houses are numerous and vast. We work with some of the best lenders in South Florida, but we always encourage our clients to do the research on their own. Many different companies offer different loan features and programs.
Also, with a home, there are programs (like FHA Loans) that will require a much smaller down payment than you would need to provide to even be considered for a condo. Contact us for more information!
Lifestyle and Privacy
In a condo, you and your neighbors are literally on top of each other. Even in homes that have zero-lot-lines have more privacy than condos. There are no shared walls with your neighbors and that isn’t a bad thing.
That isn’t to say that many of the neighborhoods in South Florida (like Evergreene in Palm Beach Gardens or Olympia in Wellington), don’t offer amazing amenities like club houses, fitness centers and pools. Most gated communities offer many of these features so you get all the bonuses of a condo, plus the privacy and space of a house!
Most neighborhoods and communities have Home Owners Associations. They maintain rules and community standards (like placing requirements on landscaping and house colors).
People tend to look negatively on HOAs because of these restrictions and the fact that they also come with fees. However, that is an unfair way to look at it.
Maintaining great community standards means that you will know what to expect from your community. Home owners also are members of the association and have a voice in what happens in their communities.
Also, it is important to understand that many of the benefits of being in an HOA take care of things that will need to be dealt with regardless. For example, some HOAs offer lawn care and pest control. That can be a serious expense on its own for a home owner. Or consider saving money on having a huge pool nearby, but not in your own backyard (you won’t have to maintain it!). It’s important to research each of the HOAs in the communities that you’re looking at. The benefits often outweigh the costs.