Question - "Why do investors tend to disparage condos as good investments? Wouldn't they be easier to manage since the exterior maintenance is taken care of by the HOA? I would think the maintenance costs would be lower if the roof, siding and grounds were covered by your dues. There would be less tenant calls, and you would have less stress in your life with an HOA taking care of these things. Even if you have a crazed, power hungry association president, why would you care as long as they are handling things while you relax on the beach?"'
Answer - First, every deal should be evaluated individually. I would never make a sweeping comment that an investor should not buy condos. Some are well-managed, and some are not. The main reason investors tend to shy away is the loss of control. The HOA is such a wild-card that you can't really plan for how it's going to affect your investment.
They can decide to limit the number of rentals allowed.
Beware of low condo fees because that is often indicative of potentially high special assessments.
The HOA can spend those fees on any maintenance they see fit. So, maybe you wouldn't have painted the building in year 7. You would have waited til year 10. Too bad...they are doing it in year 7.
If too many condos are rented, it can be hard for owner occupants to find loans for the complex because they may not be FHA approved. That limits your selling ability to only other people who can pay cash or find some sort of creative financing because buyers may not be able to get government backed loans.
Anyway, I could go on, but the gist is that you lose a lot of control over your property when you own a condo. There are the additional issues of flooding from other units into yours, etc that just come with the nature of close proximity. All things being equal, a SFH is much better.