Buying a home can be an exciting and rewarding process, especially if you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. This market is moving quickly, and in order to capitalize on it, you should get a clear idea of what kind of home best suits you and your lifestyle. In Florida, specifically Orlando, we benefit from a great variety of options in both single family and condominium products. Below, I’ll give you a few things to think about when deciding what type of home to purchase.
1 – Pricing Variety
Single-family homes located in traditional neighborhoods and subdivisions tend to have a narrow range of values spread throughout the community. Home features and options will cause prices to fluctuate but lot locations and features have little impact on overall value with the exception of lake or waterfront lots. By contrast, condominiums can have tremendous variety of pricing with the same building or floor. Take The Vue in Downtown Orlando for instance. Within this 34-story tower you can find studio units priced in the mid $300,000’s and penthouse suites as high as $2,800,000 and all residents are able to congregate and share common areas and amenities.
2 – Exterior Autonomy
For homeowners who want a final say in the type of roof, driveway, landscaping, paint scheme, and architectural style of their residence, a single-family home makes the most sense. Your home can be a reflection of you from the outside, and generally speaking no one tries to tell you how to manage it. Some homes are part of Home Owners Associations however, and many of these exercise some authority over exterior decisions.
This autonomy also comes with a hefty dose of responsibility. You are in charge of maintaining every component of your home from the edge of the curb or street to the pipes below and the roof above. Lawn maintenance, roof replacement, HVAC servicing, window washing, paint, bursting pipes, electrical issues…all of that is 100% your responsibility as a single-family homeowner.
Everything mentioned above – all the components outside your walls (depending on individual community bylaws) are typically covered by your condominium association. This is a huge advantage as maintenance costs can be incredibly high for homeowners. When something goes wrong, you get to call your community manager or maintenance person to come fix it, rather than take the time to repair it yourself or schedule a vendor. Your utility bills can also be much cheaper in a condominium than they are in a single family home because of the amount of space, and the amount of insulation offered by neighboring units.
The maintenance-free lifestyle offered by a condo is great for busy professionals, travel enthusiasts, and even first time buyers with little maintenance experience. You’ll typically be paying association fees on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and it’s important to remember that these fees are in addition to your mortgage payment. Often times non-payment can lead to fines, and eventually even liens on your property. Some buildings may charge pay for amenities like pools, fountains, docks, community rooms or spaces, elevators, and shared HVAC equipment, but for many communities these are included.
3 – Insurance
No matter where you live, if you have a mortgage on your property, you need to have homeowners insurance. Owners of single family homes have traditional policies that cover the entire property, while condominium owners generally pay for a policy that covers interior surfaces and contents. This is a great and little known advantage for condo owners since these policies typically cost a fraction of traditional homeowner’s insurance policies.
In larger, newer condominium buildings, insurance costs can be barely noticeable and smaller or older communities may have higher costs due to aging mechanical and structural systems. It’s important to keep in mind that if something goes wrong anywhere in the building and a claim is made, everyone is responsible for subsequent rate increases. With a single family home, your yearly insurance costs can be higher, but ultimately, you’re only responsible for what happens on your property, so the flood at your neighbor’s house won’t drive up your rates.
4 – Lifestyle
This is where your personality comes in. Most of the items mentioned so far equalize, but your choice of a home reflects your values and lifestyle preferences. Essentially, it comes down to convenience, time, space, and privacy. Obviously, owning a condominium is very convenient. You can walk out the door and the world is at your fingertips, with little responsibility dragging you down. Especially in a downtown condominium, you have immediate access to shows, parks, sporting events and usually public transportation. Space and privacy is where single family homes have an advantage. Your neighbors are generally more than wall away, and you will likely have a yard to stretch out in.
Whether you’re looking for a condominium or a single family home, reach out to me and I’ll help you with the process. You can also get a copy of our free buyer guide that gives you a roadmap for your purchase.
Find out how much buying power you have in today’s market, and if you can find a loan for the type of product you’re looking for.