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What Is a Condominium Anyway?

Townhomes and condos

In the wake of the Great Recession from 2007-2008, it’s no surprise that more Americans have begun snatching up condos and townhouses, as opposed to full-size single-family houses, primarily because of financial benefits. There are actually quite a few advantages of owning a condo that go beyond the financial aspect, in fact, which is why so many people have continued buying these properties even when they could afford a separate home. But for many first-time potential home buyers, the differences between houses, apartments, townhomes and condos can get really confusing really quickly. So what exactly is a condo, and why should you be interested in buying a condominium yourself?

  • The easiest way to describe a condo is to think of it as a hybrid between an apartment and a full-size house. Condos often look like apartment buildings (although they can also look like small townhouses too), and there can be as few as eight separate units in a condo association, or as many as 100 separate units.
  • When you’re buying a condominium, you’re actually going to own the unit you’ve purchased just like you would own a house. The main benefit of owning a condo, rather than renting a townhouse or apartment, is that you build up equity and you can participate in the condo association board, which makes decisions for the entire condominium community.
  • Unlike owning a townhouse, condo owners don’t have to worry about the exterior part of the building, including the yard work and landscaping. This part of the condo is technically owned by the association, meaning that all the residents have equal ownership.
  • Buying a condominium can also be a great idea simply because of the convenience: condos are usually located in scenic places or in metropolitan hubs, and they often come with extra features (like concierge services and athletic facilities) that you’d expect to find in an apartment building.

It’s very important to do your research before buying a condominium; because condos differ so much in terms of size, location, price, and features, it’s essential to keep an open mind and to ask questions about any property you’re thinking about buying.

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