Buying a condo in 2022: here's what you should know

For a first time home buyer, or someone looking for a change of place, the kinds of housing out in the market are endless. In a long list of houses, apartments, societies, colonies, finding the right place to live can be quite puzzling. Condominiums or condos are one such kind of housing. They are individually owned spaces to live in, set into a community. While people often confuse condominiums with typical apartments or houses, they are significantly different. Usually the comparison is between apartments and condominiums. The two are differentiated by the kind of ownership and costs associated with each. Condos have been well accepted in the western market, and are making their way well in the Indian market too. Nowadays, more and more people are opting to live in condominiums, especially in metropolitan cities. Why is that you ask? 

Here is everything you need to know about condominiums to decide if it’s the right pick for you. 

WHAT EXACTLY ARE CONDOMINIUMS ?

Condominiums often confuse buyers, for they featurally line up with apartments. Condominium or condos, can be best understood as buildings that are split into individually owned units to reside in. While they are owned individually, condos are set in a communal or collective space. The resources and amenities such as parks, pools, or gyms are set to be shared amongst the community. The maintenance too is either carried out by a set association or through mutual coordination amongst residents to keep their premises and communal resources well. From high rise buildings to smaller detached ones in colonies, condominiums are diverse and can be found in different settings. Depending on what’s most convenient or affordable for you, the ideal condominium can be picked. 

Owning and living in a condominium has, however, has it’s share of advantages and drawbacks associated with it. 

ADVANTAGES 

ECONOMICAL 

Condominiums give more bang for one’s buck. They are comparatively affordable to begin with. This makes it especially good for first time buyers looking for a comfortable home without bearing the burden of a hefty price. Condos are economical and give one much more than a typical house would. What this means is that while adorning a house with amenities such as pools or parks or sports centers can rack up a huge expense, condo’s give you the whole package for less. With communally owned and shared resources, the cost for each individual goes way down, giving all owners a well facilitated living space. 

EASY MAINTENANCE

Maintaining condo’s is fairly easier and much more cost effective than maintaining a house. To begin with, the cost to maintain the outdoor spaces or communal properties is split amongst the unit wonders, reducing the spending needed from each person. Even if it’s time to refresh the exterior or repair parts of the building, an individual does not have to pay much out of the pocket, rather the association of owner’s helps carry out such repairs and also provides for it through the communal maintenance reserve. 

PACKED WITH AMENITIES 

Condos are packed with amenities to create a fun and positive living experience. They are equipped with parks and/or gyms, pools that can be enjoyed and used by all members of the condo. The maintenance and cost of such amenities is equally divided amongst the residents meaning everyone gets to access luxurious amenities without spending too much money, within close and safe quarters of their home. 

WELL SECURED COMMUNITIES 

Condominiums are mostly formed in gated and well secured communities. Even if built independent from a colony or residential community, condos are easier to keep secure as the security hassle and cost is shared by the occupant, giving you peace of mind without the hassle of managing security. Condos usually have either security of staff or some kind of system to ensure safety in the premises. Modern condos are also utilizing hi tech security systems, centrally installed but individually controlled to help each resident keep their home secure and feel safe. 

DRAWBACKS 

RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS 

One of the drawbacks of living in a condominium is that while the sense of community is great, it also brings with it certain rules and limitations. While some rules are very generic, limitations on modification or renovations to your home can prove to be restricting. Since condominiums are a part of a single unit, maintaining uniformity means that residents are not able to easily make tweaks to their home’s looks and exterior. These restrictions may also extend to having pets in the home, or the amount of parking allotted. Aligning with the rigid rules is important and rather compulsory in a condo which may not be ideal for all. 

LOW SENSE OF PRIVACY 

The biggest drawback of condos in comparison to privately owned houses is that the sense of privacy is noticeably lower. Since the units are built in a single bigger unit, the placement of the floors and spaces is adjacent to each other. Being in close quarters means that noises and disturbances can flow from one unit into another easily, creating an uncomfortable living situation. Further since even outdoor spaces are communally shared, there is little to no privacy when one wishes to unwind in the outdoors. 

LOWER RESALE VALUE 

The resale value for condominiums is significantly low. This is mostly because buyers may find it difficult to adhere to the restrictions as well as gel with the existing community. Further since the land is not owned by an individual, just the singular unit, the prices placed have to be run by and agreed upon by the management as well as the owner which can prove to be  a bit of an obstacle to smooth sale of the property. 

STRICTER LOAN AND MORTGAGE REGULATIONS

Loan and mortgage regulations for condominiums are usually stricter than that for a home or apartment. This is because the ownership is rather complicated and lenders have certain prerequisites when it comes to financing a condo. These rules are mostly with regards to how much occupancy is there, and what ownership stake is being asked for in a building. This makes it tougher to secure a loan, and ultimately tougher to buy a condo as it is not so easy for everyone to buy without any kind of financing. 

Overall, condominiums are a great pick for home owners as they are affordable, easy to maintain and have a sense of community attached to them which is a positive aspect for the overall living experience. Further, the amenities are a bonus, giving one a more luxurious and convenient environment. However, owning and inhabiting a condominium has its own set of challenges which need to be kept in mind while investing in one. If one is able to manage the limitations well, condominiums could make for an ideal living space.

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