There’s something to be said for having peace of mind, even if it might cost you. For many, that can easily take the form of having a place to truly call your own—space that gives you privacy and the ability to customize it to your dream preferences.
Maybe you’re already picturing your deep sunken tub, eye-catching fireplace, and garden with its organically-grown fresh vegetables and bright, sweet-smelling flowers that will attract and support the honeybees.
Or, maybe the idea of having a place all your own appeals to you, but you sure don’t want to get tied down with all the upkeep that goes along with a home purchase—and the need for privacy doesn’t rank very high on your list, at all. What really matters to you is a sense of community.
If you find yourself nodding when you read the first paragraph, then it’s very possible that buying a house could be the right move for you; if you have that same type of positive reaction when reading the second paragraph, then a condo may be the better choice.
But, is it really that simple? To find out what might be right for you, we invite you to take our House or Condo Quiz—and, unlike many quizzes, this one can help to answer two important questions for you:
• Does it make sense to purchase a home or condo, or should I stay where am I for now?
• If it does make sense to buy, which one could be better for me? Condo or house?
Let’s get started with the quiz!
Buying a Condo vs. House
Now that you’ve taken the quiz, what do you think? Are you clear about which direction you want to take? If so, consider checking out our home affordability calculator to get a better understanding of how much house you can afford.
If not, it may be because there are several pros and cons to each choice (aren’t there, always?) and you may just need to mull them over a bit more.
Pros of Buying a House Typically Include More:
• space, including storage space
• ability to customize your home
• room to garden and create a pleasing outdoor space
• control, including but not limited to having pets
• typically no homeowners association (HOA) or HOA dues
Another pro of buying a house is that they are generally considered better investments overall.
Cons of Buying a House Typically Include:
• higher cost
• more work to maintain inside
• more work to maintain outside
If, after taking the quiz and weighing the pros and cons, buying a house feels like the right choice for you, you can start brainstorming about your dream house, including its size, number of rooms, location, style and more.
Attend open houses to help decide where you could see yourself putting down roots and to see what home layout really grabs your attention. It can also be a good idea to check home prices for the type of home (size/layout) and area you are drawn to and see if it is in your price range.
Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of buying a condo.
Check out local real estate
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Pros of Buying a Condo Typically Include:
• more affordable
• lower expenses
• more ease of maintenance
• amenities included
• less expensive homeowners insurance
• covered maintenance
• community activities
Cons of Buying a Condo Typically Include:
• less privacy
• no yard
• rules and restrictions (noise levels, style/colors, pets and more)
• less overall space
• HOA fees
• limited parking
• slower appreciation in value
• easier to outgrow
Plus, the mortgage interest rates might actually be higher on a condo vs. a house, and condos can be harder to sell. Lenders sometimes charge more for loans on condo units because of the strength of the condo association financials and other factors are taken into consideration and evaluated for risk.
If, after reviewing pros and cons you decide the benefits of a condo are right up your alley, then you can start creating a list of what you definitely need in yours, along with what you’d like to have, and then start looking at your options.
When to Buy
You may know what you’d like to buy (condo vs. house) and where (in what neighborhood), but do you feel as though now is the right time? If so, fantastic!
You might decide, though, that you want to rent for a while longer under certain circumstances, which can include:
• wanting to pay down debt first, whether that’s credit card debt or student loan debt, as just two examples
• wanting to save more money for the down payment and any associated expenses
• needing to boost your credit score first
• wanting more time to look at houses/condos before deciding
Renting is typically the cheapest option available for housing, because rent can be less than typical mortgage payments in certain areas of the country. Plus, there isn’t a down payment to pay (just a one-time security deposit), and the landlord usually covers repair and maintenance costs. Renting also gives you more freedom to move and, when you decide to live somewhere else, you haven’t invested your capital into the property.
Pro tip: If you want to buy a house or condo but don’t feel financially ready (or have other reasons to wait), consider putting the decision on hold while you reconfigure your budget and get ready for home ownership. You may discover that, in a relatively short time frame, your decision has changed.
Making Your Dream Home or Condo a Reality
At SoFi, you can make your home owning dreams come true with as little as 10% down on mortgages for qualified borrowers and properties. We’ve been named a 2019 award winner for the Best Mortgage Lenders for First Time Home Buyers.
Potential benefits of choosing SoFi for your mortgage loan include a more affordable down payment that allows you to buy more house, the fact that we charge no application fees or origination fees—and that we have no prepayment penalties. The pre-qualification process is painless and you can conveniently apply online.
IMPORTANT: The projections or other information generated by this quiz regarding the likelihood of various outcomes are purely hypothetical, do not reflect actual results and are not guarantees of future results. The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi Mortgages are not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria#eligibility-mortgage for details.