If you’re moving to New Braunfels, you might consider buying a condo for a number of reasons! Perhaps you want a vacation home in the Hill Country or plan to start your own Air BnB location. Maybe you’re looking to own a space of your own, but you don’t want the responsibility of taking care of a stand-alone home. Whatever the reasons, we suggest considering the following pros and cons prior to signing your name on the dotted line.
What is a condo?
Condos offer a hybrid between apartment living and home ownership! Condo owners hold the title to the interior of their unit only. In other words, the ownership of all exterior land, common areas, amenities, etc. are technically “shared” space among all residents. The common property is usually maintained by the condo association. In other words, you don’t own the responsibility to take care of landscaping, pools, stairs, roofing, etc. The condo association takes care of that and leaves you with peace of mind.Often, condos also resemble apartments in building style: rather than a multi-story home with a shared wall, you may own simply a small, one-floor unit in a larger, multi-story building.
Pro: No Yardwork
Because most condos don’t have private backyards, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of mowing, landscaping, or any other various forms of yard upkeep. If your complex does have a common outdoor area or courtyard, the condo association will usually take care of upkeep so you don’t have to!
Pro: A Sense of Security
Unlike stand-alone homes, many condominiums provide both a sense of inherent security. Besides the “safety in numbers” factor (i.e. your neighbors are only a wall away should you yell for help), many complexes provide a security guard or gated fence.
Pro: A Community
While some residents dislike the fact that condo neighbors live in close proximity to each other, others find it to be a perk! Many communities like this are close-knit and enjoy a sense of communal living. If you like the other residents on your floor, borrowing a cup of sugar or entertaining on the weekends can transition to authentic friendship.
Pro: Convenient Amenities
Often, to improve quality of life and resident satisfaction, condominium complexes offer a wide variety of amenities...from simple to luxury. Common perks include fitness centers, pools, and common areas that you don’t have to take care of! More luxurious condos may also provide perks like a coffee bar, concierge service, sauna, and community garden, among others.
Because condominiums need to appeal to a wide variety of people, they are usually built to accommodate as many demographics as possible...including handicapped residents. Many condos provide elevators, wide entrances, etc. Additionally, many units are single-level, which is a huge perk for wheelchairs and walkers.
Pro: Lower Cost
The spendthrift in you will rejoice at this news: condo owners actually spend less per square footage on their condos than a comparable stand-alone home! Amy Tierce, a regional vice president with Wintrust Mortgage, explained that purchasing a condo can be the more financially sound decision, "especially in higher-cost markets where condos can be the only alternative to high-priced, single-family homes.” Also, unlike private homes, condos are usually part of a larger building structure, meaning much less of your unit is actually exposed to the summer heat or winter frost. Because of this level of insulation, utility costs are generally much lower for condo owners. To read more about how affordable a condo can be for you, click here.
Con: No Escape From Fees
You might think that buying a condo would remove you from the hassle of paying a Homeowners Association...but most condos still require HOA or Condo Association fees to repair certain units, mow the common areas, and keep up amenities like a pool or fitness facility. Depending on your condo, these fees might be pricey.
Con: No Backyard
One of the biggest differences between condos and stand-alone homes is the amount of private outdoor space. Many families really desire a private, grassy space to play, grill, and relax. Whether you have pets, children, or guests to entertain, having your own backyard is always an attractive perk in a home. Because condos don’t usually provide private backyard space, many complexes feature common spaces or playgrounds to make this fact a little more bearable.
Con: More Difficult to Sell
One of the most difficult things about buying a condo is the difficulty you might face when selling it. Because condos are usually almost identical to the surrounding units, there’s not much to distinguish your unit from others in terms of curb appeal, modifications, or special features.
Con: Limited Privacy
Because condos are literally built on top of and next to one another, they don’t offer a great deal of privacy. Even if your condominium features thick, insulated walls, it’s nearly impossible not to notice loud music or rowdy neighbors. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a huge problem if you have respectful neighbors.
Con: Following the Rules
Just like living in a gated community or belonging to a homeowner’s association, living in a condo comes with its fair share of rules and restrictions. Depending on your condo association, you might be heavily restricted concerning things like outward appearance, paint colors, pets, etc. We recommend reading the rules and regulations before purchasing your condo to make sure it fits your lifestyle.
Con: Slower appreciation
Unfortunately, it’s been generally proven that condos appreciate in value at a slower rate than comparable homes. While purchasing a condo is still an investment, it might not pay off as quickly as you might like.
If you think a condo might be what you’re looking for, contact a Keller Williams REALTOR® to explore all the options New Braunfels has to offer. From modest to luxury, you’re sure to find the right condo for you.