Condo or Con-Don't?

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Condominium sales are hot throughout many parts of the country — especially in big cities like Chicago. But when deciding between a single-family residence and a condo, one needs to know all the facts; making a decision based solely on a lower sales price could result in regret down the road. Condo units and single family homes both have distinct advantages that depend on your personality type and family situation, and all need be taken into consideration. Let’s take a look. 


We start with the obvious – condos tend to be cheaper! Monthly payments on a condo are typically lower than an SFR under similar conditions, and can often be easily handled by a single income. This makes them an attractive option for singles, or for small families not yet ready to start looking for their forever home.

Furthermore, condominiums offer freedom from continuous maintenance and upkeep. You own the unit, but the condo association is responsible for the building repair and landscaping. This is advantageous for professionals who travel often for work, or individuals in poor health who cannot afford to pay for landscaping or snow removal.

Finally — from a social perspective — a condominium offers a greater sense of community than an SFR. Not separated by backyards or property lines, tenants have more opportunity to interact. Most condo complexes also offer fitness rooms, swimming pools, and gathering areas that are open to all, and are usually protected behind gated entries, or are under the watch of doormen.


There is, of course, a flip side to this coin. While yes, condos are cheaper from a mortgage perspective, single family residences tend to re-sell easier, as their appreciation goes much faster. And while you may be delighted when, come winter, you don’t have to shovel snow or repair that condo’s broken furnace, someone else does. That means you will owe additional condo association fees, in addition to your monthly mortgage payment.

Something else to consider — communal living is not for everyone. Remember, you don’t get to choose your neighbors! Privacy is limited, and noise levels can be hard to mask when you share walls with tenants. Families with small children, or professionals with early schedules may choose the relative peace and quiet of a property that offers some space between themselves and their neighbors.

In the end, both condo units and single family residences offer distinctly different, yet beneficial amenities. As always, you should speak with your Midwest Lending mortgage professional before you make your decision, to see which option fits not only your wallet, but your lifestyle as well.