Is The Northern Michigan Condominium Lifestyle Right For You?

Condominiums are one of the most misunderstood types of real estate you can buy. They get a lot of hate when compared to apartments and homes for no reason. Many people are unable to tell you the difference between an apartment and what a condo is. Moreover, condos come in multiple forms and can look like a house, apartment, or townhome. The thing that defines a condo is ownership. (Click here to see Northern Michigan's finest collection of vacation rentals)

Our team has an entire list of reasons to buy a condo and reasons not to buy a condo. Living in a condo is different than living in a home. There are always a few things to consider when moving to a condo: finances and social life. A home is much more private and often more expensive than a condo. Condos are normally places where more than one person lives in multiple units in one complex. This gives you plenty of opportunities for social interaction if you are interested in that kind of thing. If the thought of spending your days alone in a house seems dreadful, the condo life might be for you.

What Makes a Condo Different Vs. An Apartment or House?

As stated earlier, the primary determinant of a condo is ownership. Like an apartment, it is owned by those who live in it. Condos have privately owned residences and collectively owned communal property. 

Apartments are rented structures that are owned by a single central entity. You can buy a condo that is built like an apartment, townhome, or family home. 

It is not the style of structure that determines what a condo but rather who owns the property is. 

If you like the idea of owning your own property but don’t want the responsibility of owning an entire home the condos are a great compromise. Homes are more private but more costly. A lot of people who can easily afford a condo cannot easily buy a home. Buying a condo is a great way to get the homeownership leader's first step if you have yet to own property. They often require lower down payments and it is typically less responsibility for upkeep compared to a family home. 

Financial Benefits of Condo Ownership

Of course, the number one factor on most people’s minds when they are looking at buying a condo is their finances. Can you afford it? Well, there are expensive and more affordable condos depending on where you look.

More Affordable
It is normally possible to find a comparable condo for less than than the cost of an equivalent home. This means lower property taxes and lowers down payments. Other factors come into play to make them even more affordable too. 

Most condos have a smaller square footage area than a home. This is less room you have to heat and cool, keeping your utility costs down. If you are lucky, you might find a condo with solar power and not even have a power bill at all. Lower square footage also means you need to spend less to furnish the place. Furnishing a home is one of the largest unexpected expenses most homeowners encounter when they purchase their first property. You will still need to get stuff for your condo, just less of it. 

Less on Maintenance
Most condos include some of the maintenance or all of it with your condo owners association fees. These are similar fees to homeowners association fees but for a condominium complex instead. These fees pay for yard maintenance and other maintenance factors that need to be checked regularly. When you own a home, all of these things are up to you. You have to pay for all of it out of your own pocket. 

When you own a condo, there are rarely going to be instances where you have to come out of your own pocket beyond your fees to pay for repairs. The condominium complex should handle everything else for you unless it is stated as your responsibility in the agreement you signed when you took ownership of the condo unit. 

Homes can often cost as much as one percent of their total value in repairs yearly. Think about that. For a three hundred thousand dollar home that is nearly three hundred dollars a month, you’ll need to set aside for repairs. Think about how much money you’ll save on maintenance by moving into a condo!

Condo Owners Association
Like a homeowner association, most condominiums come with a condo owner association that you pay dues to. Dues cover the cost of all the amenities and the maintenance of the properties in the condo complex. These dues may seem like a headache but once understood, paying dues actually lessens the expense for a homeowner. 

Sometimes people do not like some of the Master Deed or Bylaws that are included with their condo owners association agreement. Normally you can go to the meetings and bring up items you would like to have changed once you are an owner. The truth about condominium living and the answer to the question is condo living is right for you is nuanced. There are just as many reasons to buy a condo as there are reasons not to buy a condo. 

Social Benefits of Condo Ownership

As you grow older, it can become more difficult to maintain a social life even though it is just as important for mental health in old age as in any other.

Condos are a great way to expand your social circle by living among other like-minded people. There are a lot of condo complexes that are built to serve particular demographics like retirement-aged individuals. These communities are often tight-knit, and people have great experiences moving to one from a standard family home. 

As you compare different condos that are available, you should always look at the amenities in every place you stop. These can make a big difference in the quality of life at a particular complex. 

If possible, try to speak with some of the residents and ask them how they feel about the amenities to see what the public’s reaction is for a true picture of how things are at the complex. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust the salespeople at the front office, but you can normally trust your future neighbors.

Plenty of Neighbors
Homes can become a very isolating place if you are not careful. It is a lot more difficult o become socially isolated when you live at a condo complex simply because there are so many people who live at the condo complex. 

Often you can find a place with like-minded people, and then you will want to go out and socialize instead of forcing yourself. 

Other Benefits of Condo Ownership

The financial and social side of things with a condo is the most important for the majority of people. That does not mean those are the only benefits. There are even more, and depending on what you value in life, you might find your primary motivation for owning a condo is not even on this list. It is by no means an exhaustive list. 

Again the defining trait of a condo is the residents own the residences. If you have yet to own a home or any property, it is about time you get started. Buying a condo normally has Lowe qualifications than a home, so they are easier to get. 

You won’t be throwing your ones away on rent every month once you own the property. Instead, it will go towards paying off your mortgage every month, slowly building equity for you. Unlike rent that is gone forever, you will see a portion of your mortgage payments come back to you when you finally sell the place.

Repairs and Yard Work
Some people live to fix things around the house. Condos may not be the best choice for those people. 

If, however, you are like most people who want nothing to do with housework or repairs, you would love a condo community. The complex will take care of all the repair work and yard work on the property. You won’t ever have to wake up early to mow the lawn again.

If that is not enough of a reason to get a condo the what is?

Condominiums are often easier to find in a desirable location than a home because they can be built in much higher density. Only so many single-family homes can be built per square mile. 

Condos can be built vertically, vastly increasing the housing density, making it far easier to buy a unit near something desirable to live. 

If you want to live in a very particular location, you should look around that area for deals on condos and compare it to the home prices in the area. The differences can be shocking.

The Bottom Line on the Condominium Lifestyle

Is condo life for you? Only you can answer that, but I would hazard a guess that if you have read this far, there is a pretty good chance. Remember, the biggest benefits of owning a condo are property ownership, a more affordable cost of living, and easier access to social life. 

If those three things are near the top of your priority list when it comes to housing, the condo life would be the perfect fit for you. If they are not at the top of your list, it does not mean that it is not for you. It just means you need to figure out what your top priorities for housing are Before you make any decisions. 

If you are downsizing to a condominium Talk to northern Michigan condominium real estate About condominium living. Talking to others can help answer the question, is condo living right for you? Downsizing to a condominium with the help of northern Michigan condominium real estate is crazy easy. Thanks to the help of Brook Walsh real estate.

Posted by Brook Walsh on


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