3 Signs You're Ready to Move From a Condo to a Larger Home

Woman sitting outside on her condo balcony.

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It may be time to upsize -- and leave your condo behind.

Key points

  • Condos tend to be smaller than townhouses and standalone homes.
  • If your needs, schedule, and income have changed, it may be time to move to a larger living space.

Buying a condo is a great way to break into homeownership for the first time or when you're on a budget. Condos are typically smaller than townhouses and standalone (detached) homes, so they tend to cost less. And, they typically don't require the same amount of maintenance. After all, if you only have 800 square feet of living space, you're likely to spend less on maintenance than you would for a 2,000-square-foot home.

But while a condo can be a great starter home, there may come a point when you're ready to move on. Here's when it pays to upsize.

1. Your family has grown

A one- or two-bedroom condo may have worked for you when your family was smaller. But if you've grown your family since moving in, you may be growing increasingly desperate for space.

Children's toys and gear tend to take up a lot of space -- space you may not have in your condo. And so it could pay to move to a larger space with more storage and a dedicated play area.

2. Your work schedule has gotten more flexible

The larger your living space, the more time you're apt to spend cleaning and maintaining it. If your work schedule had you glued to your desk when you first became interested in buying a home, then you may have opted for a condo for the convenience factor alone. With a condo, there's no exterior maintenance -- that's generally outsourced and covered by your HOA dues.

But if your work schedule has gotten lighter, you may now have the capacity to take on more upkeep. It may be a good time to move to a larger space, even if it means having to mow your own lawn.

3. Your income has increased

Generally speaking, it costs less to buy a condo than a larger home. If your income has increased since buying your condo, you may be in a position to take on a higher mortgage, as well as higher property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. In that case, a move may be appropriate, especially if you've been itching for more space.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you move from a condo to a standalone home, your maintenance costs may increase, but you might not have to pay HOA dues every month, since many detached homes are not located in a HOA. Sometimes, HOA dues can be inflated. If you find a detached home that’s not in a HOA, you may find that you're not spending all that much more on maintenance.

Are you ready to upsize?

Some people buy a condo and stay put for years, or even decades. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having your condo become your forever home if it's comfortable and suits your needs. But if you're eager to expand your living space, then it may be time to move -- especially if your family has gotten bigger, you have the time to maintain a larger home, and your income allows you to take on higher housing costs.

Our Research Expert