3 Reasons You May Regret Buying a Condo

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 25, 2021

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Woman sitting outside on her condo balcony.

Image source: Getty Images

Before you purchase a condo, consider these drawbacks.

It can take a lot of money to buy a home, especially with the inflated property prices in today's housing market. If you're looking to purchase a home, you may be considering a condo over a single-family home.

When you buy a condo, you purchase a unit within a larger building. You're responsible for maintaining your individual unit, but common area maintenance is covered by your homeowners association (HOA) fee.

Typically, you can buy a condo for less money than a standalone house would cost. That means you may not have to bring as much money to the table for a down payment, and you may get to enjoy lower monthly mortgage payments once your purchase is complete. But despite those benefits, here are three reasons you may not want to buy a condo.

1. Your HOA fees could go up over time

When you buy a condo, you join a homeowners association and have to pay dues every month. Those fees cover things like lawn care, snow removal, pool maintenance, and other such common expenses.

When you first buy a condo, you'll be looped in to what your HOA fees look like so you can make sure they fit into your budget. But HOA fees have the potential to rise over time. If your building's roof needs a fix, or if the maintenance companies your HOA hires to service your building raise their rates, then you could see your fees increase. That could, in turn, make your housing expenses more burdensome.

2. You may not get the privacy and quiet you want

Buying a condo means having to share a wall with other property owners. And that means you may not get the quiet and privacy you're after.

These days, a lot of people are planning to work from home in some capacity on a long-term basis. If you expect to have that arrangement, you'll need to be very careful about buying a condo. All it takes is one noisy neighbor to zap your productivity during the day.

Also, you may have a situation where you're dealing with noise even if your neighbors are as courteous as can be. Say your neighboring condo owner has a baby who screams through the night as a newborn. That's not a situation that can be helped, but it could impact you in a very negative way.

3. You may not enjoy being bound to certain rules

When you're part of an HOA, you're required to abide by its rules. But those rules may not work for you.

Some HOAs ban pets or certain types of pets or dog breeds. Other HOAs impose rules that forbid condo owners from renting out their homes, whether it be on a short- or long-term basis. If that's something you're interested in doing, you may be out of luck. Make sure you understand what restrictions will apply before buying a condo, keeping in mind that those rules, like your fees, could change over time.

Buying a condo can be a good way to break into homeownership. Just make sure you know what you're getting into so you don't regret your decision afterward.

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