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Condo vs Single Family Home - Pros and Cons

Real Estate Agent with Muellenbach Real Estate - First Weber Real Estate

Do you barely know how to spell hammer, much less comfortably swing one? Is travel a regular part of your work week? Do you prefer to spend winters in warmer climates?

First-time home buyers and seasonal travelers often prefer condos because condo fees cover maintenance, yard work, and exterior repairs.   Condominiums also tend to be a bit more affordable, perfect for entry-level buyers and retirees wanting to stretch their dollar.

For condo buyers, location is often a deciding factor. Proximity to restaurants, entertainment and public transportation takes priority over square footage and yards. 


  • Monthly condo fees:  Be certain you can afford the monthly condo fee in addition to your mortgage and taxes.
  • Make sure that at least 90% of the units in the condo development are owner occupied.
    • Keep in mind: If 3% of the owners fall behind on their condo maintenance fees, it is up to the remaining 97% of the development’s residents to make up for the shortfall.
    • Lenders will consider both your creditworthiness and the financial health of the condo association.
    • Some condo associations do not allow residents to rent their units, or it’s common for HOA’s (Home Owners Association’s) to limit the number of rentals within the association. If you are considering renting your condo down the road, be sure your association allows it.
  • In 2009, the Federal Housing Administration announced that it would insure loans on condos only in developments where at least 50 percent of the units are owner occupied and, for new developments, where at least 30 percent of units are already sold. If you are considering using an FHA-insured loan, you can check if a condo development is FHA approved at hud.gov

Single Family Homes

Single family homes typically offer more space and room for growth, storage, and a yard or private outdoor space.  For the same price as a small condo in a cool downtown location, you could potentially find a larger single family home only a short commute away.

Size: In general, the size of a condo is more limited than that of a house. Condominiums are forced to build up and will often have less square footage than comparably priced single family homes.

Control: You own your home and don’t have to worry about whether your neighbors have become delinquent in paying their condo fees. Decisions affecting your home are yours and you do not have to involve your neighbors or a Home Owners Association (HOA). HOA’s often have strict rules governing everything from painting your door to pets and even grills on balconies.  

Privacy:  You typically have more privacy and space in a single-family home. A house is a self-contained dwelling often separated by at least some yard space from other houses. Condominium share space with other units by definition.  If you value privacy and want space from your neighbors a home is almost always a better option.


  • As a single family homeowner, you are completely responsible for all maintenance inside and outside of the property, including care and upkeep of the yard and trees.
  • You may need to invest in tools, a lawnmower, snow blowers in colder climates, ladders, etc..
  • Travel for long periods of time can be stressful as a home owner.  Asking neighbors or family to check in on the house on the rare vacation is one thing, doing so regularly will test their patience.
  • Utility bills are generally higher, because houses have more space than condos.

Depending on your preferences for space, privacy, and neighborhood, you may be happier in a single-family home or in a condo. Regardless, find an experienced Realtor you can trust, make sure you get answers to all your questions, and do your due diligence before you sign on the dotted line.

Author: Chris Muellenbach is a real estate broker with:
Muellenbach Real Estate, First Weber Group


Chris Muellenbach

Muellenbach Real Estate - FirstWeber


414-335-8035 I chris@mke-realestate.com

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris

Welcome to ActiveRain and congratulations on your first post. It's excellent!

There are many issues to consider when choosing between a condo and a single family home. Of course the choice may be dictated by price in some areas! It's a different lifestyle, and the costs can vary. This realy gives buyers something to consider carefully.

Looking forward to hearing more from you, learning more about your business and your community, and seeing your participation on others' posts.

Have a great weekend!


Oct 15, 2016 01:40 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Hi Chris Muellenbach, Welcome to Active Rain and congrats on your first blog post. This is a great place to meet awesome professionals while learning about various real estate markets.

Oct 15, 2016 04:38 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good information to share with prospective home buyers.

Have a most productive October.

Oct 15, 2016 06:01 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Chris welcome to ActiveRain and congratulations on posting your first blog on this site.

Oct 15, 2016 09:04 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Your age plays a huge roll as to whether Condo Living is the right move for you !

Oct 15, 2016 09:57 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Very good points Chris!

Welcome to Active Rain, looking forward to reading many more of your posts, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help as you get started here.
All the best of success to you.

Oct 15, 2016 03:47 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Chris Muellenbach both condos and homes have their positive and negative factors.... my preference is a home.... not sure I would ever adjust to that demising wall that eliminates privacy even if it has sound deadening material within it...

Oct 15, 2016 08:44 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

and welcome to ActiveRain...it's a great place to learn, share, market and network...and I hope you enjoy all of it...

Oct 15, 2016 08:45 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I love the post. Thanks for  sharing. 

Oct 15, 2016 10:08 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Welcome to Active Rain.  I hope you enjoy your time here.

Oct 16, 2016 12:32 AM
Susan Laxson CRS
Palm Properties - La Quinta, CA
Realtor in San Diego, CA & Naples, FL

Welcome to ActiveRain Chris Muellenbach! Looking forward to learning more about you and your real estate market. Informative post!

Oct 16, 2016 09:01 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Chris

interesting first post and I like both condos & homes! As much traveling as Vegas Bob does I prefer condos.

Oct 20, 2016 08:28 AM