What Are The Reasons Not to Buy a Condo

When looking for a new place to live, a condo may appear to be a more tempting and cost-effective option than a single-family home.

After all, condos are generally less expensive, come with a variety of facilities, and require less care.

However, there are a variety of reasons to consider purchasing a condo, ranging from higher fees and rules to a lack of privacy and space.

The more you know about the benefits and drawbacks of owning and living in condos, the easier it will be for you to make an informed real estate decision.

Fees and Assessments for Homeowners’ Associations

While a condo may be less expensive up front than a house, you must also consider the monthly homeowners’ association charge, which you will often have to pay for the duration of your place.

This cost may cover your water and trash usage, landscaping and snow removal, pool and tennis court maintenance, building insurance, and common area maintenance. Some HOAs include cable, heat, and energy in their monthly costs, but this is uncommon.

According to Realtor.com, HOA costs can range from $100 to hundreds of dollars each month, depending on the building, its amenities, and your location.

You may usually anticipate paying more for a newer building with a clubhouse and several amenities than for an older structure with only a swimming pool and a few utilities covered.

You could be evicted if you don’t pay your HOA fees, just like you would if you didn’t pay your rent or mortgage.

A portion of your HOA costs is usually set aside for costly repairs, such as roof replacement.

However, if your building requires substantial repairs that deplete the reserve money, your HOA may be forced to charge you an assessment. This could result in an unexpected cost of thousands of dollars for you and the other owners in your building.

Less privacy and walls that are shared

Many condos, like apartments, have shared walls, which means you’ll be closer to your neighbors and have less privacy and quiet. This can be a problem if you have noisy neighbors with whom you don’t get along, or if you live next to someone whose dog howls nonstop.

Living in a condo also means you have to be more aware of how much noise you create, so playing a musical instrument late at night or turning up the volume on your television may result in complaints from your neighbors.

Community Restrictions and Rules

One of the most common reasons against buying a condo is that you must agree to buy a condo by some HOA rules. Common sense limits such as avoiding loud noise, taking care of the common space, and only using a few parking spaces are frequently included in these guidelines.

They can, however, determine minor matters such as the color of your front-window curtains or whether or not you can put that Christmas wreath on your door.

In some situations, the HOA rules may be incompatible with your way of life. For example, home-based businesses are frequently prohibited by HOAs, so if you work from home or have clients visit you, you’d certainly run into issues if you moved into a condo. Your HOA bylaws may prohibit you from renting out a portion of your unit to a friend or through Airbnb.

Selling Difficulties and Slower Appreciation

If you’re buying a condo as an investment or with the intention of selling it for a profit in the future, keep in mind that condos appreciate at a slower rate than single-family homes.

The notion of supply and demand comes into play here since more purchasers may want a place with actual land, so standalone home prices will rise faster than condo prices. HOA fees and assessments can eat up a large portion of any profit produced over the course of ownership, so investors should keep that in mind.

You should also evaluate the possibility that future HOA fees and limitations would deter potential buyers. To attract purchasers and cover the ongoing costs of ownership, you may have to cut the price of your condo. You may also discover that selling your condo takes longer.

Flexibility and little space.

Another reason to avoid buying a condo is that you will have less space and choice in how you use it.

Although some condos have extra storage space or even a basement, you’ll still be living in a smaller, more compressed space than you would in a house. While having less room means having less to clean, it can be a disadvantage if you have a lot of things.

You won’t have your own land, which means you won’t have a private yard for your children or a large garden in which to grow flowers.

Condos often feature a balcony or small porch space where you can place a few plants, grill out, and sit outside, but what you do there is still subject to HOA guidelines.

Obtaining financing is more difficult.

While you can typically receive a mortgage for a condo, you may encounter some difficulties along the way, particularly if you desire an FHA loan. Your condo must be on an approved list, have a majority of the units occupied by owners, and be your primary residence, among other requirements, to qualify for an FHA loan.

Many things, even if you get a traditional home loan, could make it hard for you to get a loan. This includes things like the complex’s HOA delinquencies, insurance coverage, and covenants.

Making the Best Housing Decision

Whether you’re looking for your first place or downsizing from a larger home, your lifestyle will have a big impact on whether a condo or a house is ideal for you.

If you have children or want space to work on outdoor activities, buying a house with land may appeal to you more, but you must consider the additional effort needed. If you don’t want to do any yard work and think the HOA fees and rules are worth it for the extra comforts you get, you might want to live in a condo.

Your preferred location is also a factor. If you wish to reside in a bustling downtown neighborhood, condos are more readily available. If you prefer a more tranquil suburban setting, there are lots of house options available, as well as condo complexes in most areas.

Real Estate Condo Agent

If you’ve determined that a condo is right for you, you should speak with a real estate agent to identify one that meets your requirements.

HOA costs, proximity to neighbors, and available space vary by type of condo, so doing some research and visiting a few different buildings in the region will help you narrow down your choices.

You should also request a copy of the HOA’s rules booklet to learn more about them and make sure they aren’t too restrictive for you.


Finally, determine which amenities and services are most important to you, such as a pool, 24-hour maintenance, included utilities, and covered parking.

This will help you in selecting a community with a reasonable HOA charge and avoid paying for amenities you will not utilize.