Condominiums and apartments have a lot in common, but the main thing that sets them apart is the potential for ownership. Apartments are always rent-only, but condos provide the option to rent or own. For those looking to buy a home who don’t feel they need something as large or expensive as a whole house, condos are an attractive option. But is owning really all it’s cracked up to be? Choosing between condo renting versus owning can be tough. Here, then, are some of the pros and cons of the former that shed a little light on the latter:
PRO: Renting is easier…
One thing any homeowner can tell you is that the process of buying a property is often stressful and expensive. Not only is a mortgage down payment significantly higher than any reasonable rental down payment, but buyers also have to pay hefty percentage-based closing costs. All that, and they still have to worry about getting approved in the first place, which depends heavily on their credit score, something renters have more wiggle room with.
CON: …but mortgages are stable.
Alternatively, something homeowners don’t have to worry about is rising rent costs. When making a mortgage agreement, the amount the buyer owes every month is agreed upon ahead of time and will never go up unless they willingly choose to renegotiate payment. Meanwhile, all across America, rental costs continue to rise year after year, and renters have little recourse when their landlords decide to increase prices.
PRO: You’re not tied down…
There’s one big thing a person simply cannot do when stuck with a mortgage that could take years to pay off: change their mind. Buyers have no choice but to commit to a property when they decide they want to own it; there’s no turning back. Renters, though, are bound only by the terms of their lease. If they get a job offer in another city or decide that a certain neighborhood isn’t right for them, renters are free to leave typically within just a few months. Sometimes less.
CON: …but you have less control.
Being rootless often means being powerless. That’s definitely true when it comes to renting property. Simply put, renters must abide by the terms of their landlords, while owners get to be the ones calling all the shots. If a renter wants to repaint their bedroom or put some nails in the walls to hang pictures, they have to get permission from the landlord. Worst of all, a landlord can sell their property to someone else at any time, possibly necessitating tenant eviction.
PRO: Someone else does the upkeep…
A renter might not be able to make changes on a whim, but they also don’t have to worry about paying for repairs and maintenance. Those things are the responsibilities of the property owner. From fixing leaky faucets to mowing the grass to overseeing major renovations, landlords are legally required to do whatever they must in order to keep their properties safe, sanitary, and livable.
CON: …but they also get equity.
Whether an owner uses a property as their own private residence or offers it up to others for rent, they have one thing that a renter never will: equity. Equity is the market value of a homeowner's unencumbered interest in a property, and it can be leveraged in a number of useful ways. Equity can be used to finance all manner of investments through credit. For those who own property, then, a home isn’t just a place to live but a valuable financial asset.
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