The decision to purchase a home, any home, is a big one. It means more responsibility, less flexibility when it comes time to move, and a mortgage. However, financially speaking, purchasing is a better investment more times than not.
When you lease your home, the money you pay in rent each month will never be in your possession again. It’s gone forever. However, when you buy a home, the money you pay towards your mortgage each month goes toward the equity of your home. That means that whenever you decide to sell your home, you could potentially see all of the money
you paid return to you (minus interest, of course).
One of the benefits of purchasing a condo as opposed to a stand alone house is that there are fewer maintenance requirements of you. The property managers will make sure the exterior of the condo, the shared common areas, and the landscaping is maintained. Your only maintenance responsibilities are within the wall of your condo. That said, part of the fees you pay when you live in a condo go into a reserve fund that is used to pay for all of the maintenance you don’t have to do. If the reserve fund ever gets too low, each condo owner will have to pay their share of any expenses that exceed what is in the fund.
Living in a communal property has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include the low maintenance, the amenities such as a pool, fitness center, parking garage, or retail stores, and the energy efficiency. Because not all of your walls will be exterior walls, your energy requirements will be less because the condos above and to the side of you insulate you.
The disadvantages to living in a condo are that somebody lives above and/or beside you, you have to share the amenities, and you have to abide by the rules of the community. While your neighbors may insulate your unit, they could also be loud. Most condos are built with sound proofing in mind, but there’s always that one person who likes to rattle the walls with a subwoofer. The rules of the community that governs the facility may include whether or not pets are allowed, certain age restrictions on residents, and whether or not condos can be leased to others. These are things you should ask before purchasing your new home so you are able to make an informed decision.
As with any real estate purchase, it’s all about location. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to purchase a house or a condo, Austin or Toronto, to lease or to live in, location is key. Consider the distance to work and to retail stores, the neighborhood surrounding the property, and the proximity to public transportation or major roadways.
Investing in a property in an area you plan to live for a good while is a productive use of your funds. Contemplate all the pros and cons to apartments, houses, and condos. Austin, TX is a great place to live, but so is Toronto.