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Home Buying: Should You Buy a Single-Family Home or a Condo?

If you're in the market for a new home, it's important to decide whether you want to buy a single-family home or a condo. To help you make up your mind, here are the pros and cons of each.

A view of a row of houses.

Single-family home


There are several distinct advantages to buying a single-family home. It offers a considerable amount of privacy, since it doesn't share any walls with other units. It's also often more spacious than a condo, which can be helpful if you have a family or need a lot of storage space. Many single-family homes have yards, so you can enjoy the outdoors. You're also free to renovate, decorate and maintain the home the way you want to — so long as it's in line with any applicable homeowner's association guidelines and local building ordinances.


A single-family home can be pricier than a condo. You will be responsible for all the interior and exterior maintenance — and that can add up to a time-consuming, financial burden. In addition, as SF Gate advises, your utility bills are likely to be higher because of the amount of space in a home.



With a condo, the condo association handles the maintenance of the exterior structure, shared spaces and outdoor area, so you only have to take care of maintaining the interior of the unit. In addition, there might be features such as a shared gym or onsite pool that you can use. Plus, condos are often located within walking distance to stores, parks and other amenities.


Given that a condo is a part of a larger structure or building, you'll most likely have less privacy than in a single-family home. Although some condos have a balcony or other outdoor space, that's not always the case. You'll have to pay association fees, which are used for shared services — such as cleaning, landscaping and security — as well as for maintenance and renovations. However, they can add up to anywhere between $100 and $1,000 per month, depending on the location. The association may also have rules and restrictions in place regarding what you can and can't do. For example, some places don't allow pets or restrict you from doing any interior work in the condo.

Ultimately, the choice whether to buy a condo or a single-family home depends on your budget, lifestyle and personal preferences. But regardless of which type of home you choose, make sure you know exactly what you're signing up for before you seal the deal.

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