When looking for a new place to live, you might see both condos and apartments and wonder “What’s the difference between apartment and condo living?” You’re thinking about all the same things no matter which place you’re previewing: price, square footage, amenities, types of flooring, pet rules . . . as long as you have what you need, why does it matter what type of unit you rent? Well, it does. Knowing the difference between a condo and an apartment is important: it affects how your community, and home operate from day-to-day.
Ownership: Apartment vs Condo
Apartment complexes usually have one owner. This means that all the leases and rules are uniform as well. This can be a good thing when it comes to neighborly disputes, since you all have to apply by the same rules. The property manager can act on, and fix the problem, they have the authority to do so.
Each condo typically has one owner. The complex does not own all the units. This can be really nice, because it can afford you a bit more freedom. You are not confined to the rules of the complex regarding the inside of your unit.
Bear in mind, most condominium complexes do have a Homeowners Associations to which residents must pay monthly fees. They have rules regarding the outside of your home too.
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Condo Maintenance and Apartment Maintenance
Apartment complexes will typically have a staff on hand to deal with maintenance. Many even have a 24 hour emergency on-call maintenance, in case your heat goes out or you have a water leak. This is a huge perk of apartment living. If something breaks, as long as you notify the manger, the problem is resolved quickly. If you give permission, maintenance can even fix the problem while you are at work.
If something breaks at your rental condo, you have to call the owner directly. If he or she isn’t naturally handy, he will have to call an outside vendor. Then you have to be home when the vendor arrives to do the work so there is scheduling involved. Minor issues can take a while to fix, and may be inconvenient for you.
Unit comparison: Apartment vs Condo
Apartments tend to be cookie-cutter – meaning your unit will look like your neighbor’s – and will typically, but not always, have less upgrades than condos. Apartment buildings may change owners, but will always be rentals, so from the owner’s perspective, putting extra money into them isn’t always wise. You might find far more carpet, vinyl and formica than hardwoods and granite, but newer developments are often incorporating at least some of today’s hottest design trends.
Condos are more unique, and more upgraded than your typical apartment. They are designed to be motivating to a buyer. Many will be upgraded, and kept up to be sold in the future (like a home). So, you will see more granite countertops and hardwood floors. These things add value to the condo, and help the owner get a better return on investment when sold. The owner is building equity on the home, while renting to you. They want a good return on their investment.
Condos and luxury apartments may have very similar building amenities. Pools and weight rooms are examples. However, the condo amenities tend to be more upscale. Owners will often vote on upgrades to the property, because those upgrades affect their overall property values.
The differences between a condo and an apartment are not huge at first glance, but worth noting when choosing your next home. If you know your preference, it can help you find a home you can truly be happy in, a home that suits your needs.
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