You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne. — Miguel de Cervantes Click To Tweet
When many people envision buying their first home, they imagine just that: a house. The white picket fence, the big yard, and the oversized space are all such quintessential parts of many people’s real estate fantasies that it seems next-to-impossible to give them up. However, for many individuals, couples, and families alike, buying that big house isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. From the huge initial cost to those seemingly-endless maintenance tasks that go into maintaining a home, in many cases, buying a house ends up being more of a nightmare than a dream. For those considering their first home purchase, a condo may be a better fit in terms of budget, space, and the stress a condo can save you—here’s why you should consider a condo for your first home.
Why You Should Consider A Condo
For Your First Home
Lower initial price
According to Census data, in 2017, the average cost of a home in the United States was well over $300,000. While, to upper-middle-class families, that may seem like a steal for a place you’ll live for the rest of your life, for many people, that kind of cost is simply too high to maintain any real quality of living. If you’re looking to get a mortgage on a house in that price range, not only would you need good credit, a steady job, and enough money to foot the monthly mortgage payment, but also a down payment of at least $50,000 to be an attractive candidate for purchase. Fortunately, if you’re buying a condo, the initial purchase price tends to be significantly cheaper—often by as much as a few hundred thousand dollars—meaning you’ll save on that down payment, and those years of mortgage costs, as well. And considering how often money and stress are linked, having a few extra thousand dollars in your bank account can also afford you priceless peace of mind.
Lower maintenance costs
Want to keep your home costs relatively low? A house may not be for you. According to research from GoBankingRates, the average home costs a staggering $1204 to maintain. Did we mention that’s not a yearly figure, but a monthly one? That includes everything from insurance to HOA fees to utilities to repairs to snow removal and lawn care—quite a pretty penny, if you ask most folks. However, since condos are usually smaller and have some of those expensive items, like snow removal and lawn care, built into their price, you’ll be paying significantly less every month than you would if you were to buy a traditional home. In fact, many condo buildings even offer other routine maintenance included in your condo fees, meaning you can save big on both time and money when those weeds start looking a bit overgrown or you find yourself with three feet of snow to contend with when you’re trying to get out of your driveway to get to work. When wintertime rolls around and you’re spending your time curling up in front of the fireplace instead of stressing out about how you’ll get your car out in the morning, you’ll definitely be grateful.
While buying a huge house might mean you have the room to add a game room, home gym, or screening area to your home (albeit at great personal cost to you, and pending the approval of your mortgage lender and your town’s zoning board and building department), for many condo residents, those amenities are just part of the package. Instead of cutting into an extra bedroom or storing an elliptical trainer in what was once a walk-in closet, in an amenity-rich condo, you can simply go next door to the fitness center or check out a movie in your condo community’s amenity space. Case in point: at buildings like 888 Hope at Grand Park, you can catch an outdoor movie after taking a dip in the rooftop pool, while at Manhattan luxury tower 1010 Park Avenue, your kids can enjoy a safe place to play, courtesy of the building’s circus-inspired playroom—the same can’t necessarily be said for your house without some major renovations. Better yet, many condos offer pools, something that can be a huge cost and liability for homeowners, but come with zero maintenance and the added safety of a hired lifeguard for those living in condos. And considering that leisure activities, including socializing, physical fitness, and playing games, are all associated with increased markers of mental well-being (in addition to a reduced risk of cognitive decline as you age), having built-in options for activities right at home can be a major benefit.
Less home maintenance
In addition to the lower cost of home maintenance, a condo’s comparatively small footprint means there’s generally less maintenance to be done, as well. Not only are America’s houses typically on the older side—the median age of a U.S. home was 36 years according to data from a 2009 report by the Census Bureau—they’re less well-maintained than your average condo is. Since condos have only been around a relatively short time, with the majority being built after the 1960s, and the fact that they’re maintained by a larger organization means you won’t find any of the problems plaguing older homes in your condo, from lead paint to old windows to antiquated heating systems. Even when you’re away from home, your condo is likely working for you in ways your house didn’t—at buildings like 3550 South Ocean, a full-time concierge can help collect packages for you or help with your home needs, even in your absence. And who couldn’t use a little bit less on their plate after a stressful day at work?
Easier to rent out
If you’re looking to sublet or rent out your home for a period of time, having a condo might be more advantageous than having a full house. As the size of the American family shrinks and more people are choosing to stay single, the need for massive rentals has waned, with smaller properties gaining more traction in recent years. The result? While your five-bedroom house might sit on the rental market for months, someone’s bound to scoop up that virtually maintenance-free condo in no time. When those checks for your rental property start rolling in and your financial situation (and the stress associate with feeling money-crunched) have improved, you’ll definitely know you made the right choice.
Before you spend your last time saving up to purchase that big house of your dreams, consider whether or not a condo might save you some serious hassle (in addition to some serious money) in the long run. From saving on up-front costs to having minimal maintenance to look forward to, the simplicity of condo living might just be the boon you never knew you needed.