Purchasing a Condo or a Home

Deciding Between Purchasing a Condo or a Home?

The choices for a residence are seemingly endless.  Families can choose apartments, duplexes, single-family homes, rural properties, suburban neighborhoods, and many more.  Your investment in a home is one of your single most important financial decisions, so it should align with your needs and desires.  Many individuals deal with deciding between purchasing a condo or a home.  Both represent home ownership, but the responsibilities and benefits of each are very different.

What is the difference between a condo and a single-family home?

Single-family homes are independent units where the homeowner owns all of the home and the property it sits on.  The homeowner is entirely responsible for maintenance, from the interior plumbing to exterior lawns and shrubs.  If something breaks, it’s up to the homeowner to fix it.  On the other hand, the homeowner has almost complete autonomy over their property.  As long as they work within city codes, building regulations, and any homeowner association (HOA) for their neighborhood, an owner of a single-family home can choose to remodel, paint, deconstruct, or build to make it an abode that perfectly meets their needs.

A condominium, or condo, is a hybrid between a single-family home and an apartment (although not all condos are structured in shared buildings like apartments.)  Many of today’s condos resemble connected houses and may be multi-storied.  Condo owners have ownership of the interior of their units only.  That means they are free to remodel, paint, replace the flooring, etc.  However, they do not have control or responsibility over shared services like roofing, landscaping, exterior painting, etc.  Instead, the complex management company or condo association has authority and responsibility for these items.  Some items, such as windows, exterior doors, and HVAC units, may be the responsibility of the condo owner or the complex management company based on the contract. 

Why would you choose a condo or a single-family home?

It really comes down to lifestyle.  Neither option is inherently better than the other.  It depends on what’s important to the owner and their family.

Single-family dwellings

Homeowners that desire complete control over their residences tend to prefer single-family dwellings.  Since they own the house and the land it sits upon, they have nearly full autonomy to do as they please.  While they still need to adhere to city codes, building regulations, and possibly HOA restrictions, they can amend and design it to their liking.  However, they need to have the time, resources, and capacity to manage the home and property maintenance–from replacing the roof to downing dangerous trees. It’s harder to get away for any period of time if the house is unoccupied, but many areas will allow short or long-term rental of residential properties.


Other homeowners aren’t interested in maintaining the exterior of their homes and prefer to leave that to a management company.  After purchasing the condo, the homeowner will be responsible for paying a monthly or annual HOA fee that covers the cost of maintenance and repairs.  Other rules may also apply, such as restricting the owner from renting the unit out on a short-term or long-term basis or limiting the size or number of pets.  

On the other hand, there are many benefits to condo living.  Often, condominium communities have shared amenities such as recreation centers, swimming pools, or maintained parks. It’s easier for condo owners to participate in travel or manage busier lives without responsibility for exterior maintenance.  For example, condos work well for snowbirds who routinely spend months in Arizona or Mexico.  And then, while it may seem small, condo owners often enjoy less expensive homeowners insurance since only the home’s interior must be covered. 

If you’re deciding between a condo and a home, a real estate professional can help you weigh your options.

The best place to begin your journey is with an experienced real estate agent like Gail Schoeneberg.  Gail has extensive experience and knowledge, including marketing financing and buyer and seller representation in the Southern Oregon market.  She will help you determine if buying a home is the right choice.  And, of course, once you decide what you’re looking for, Gail will be at your side until you find the perfect new home for your family.

Contact Gail Schoeneberg today at 541-840-1909.  Your new home awaits.

Own Oregon Real Estate