Finding the right home could be an overwhelming journey. From how much space you need to which neighborhood, finding the right home can take a lot of trial and error.
You often hear people use the words apartment and condo interchangeably, but what is the true difference between the two? And if they're not right for you, will a townhouse be a better fit?
We break down the three types of homes you can look at and whether they're fit your lifestyle.
Townhouse communities can be built in rows of three to four houses, with many of the residents sharing one wall. If you're renting a townhome, keep in mind that the upkeep will be a little higher than an apartment. You'll also have to take care of the lawn, driveway and any other exterior areas within your property, aside from the interior.
In contrast, if you're renting a condo, you'll only be in charge of the cleaning your home. Your landlord, who owns the condo, will be responsible for most upkeep within the unit.
Any communal spaces around the property, like a gazebo or pool, will be taken care by the community's homeowner's association (HOA), a separate fee that goes to the upkeep of the property.
The rules can be tricky, depending on the group leading the association. Make sure that you're allowed to rent on the property as a renter before you sign the lease, as many don't allow renters within the condo community.
In an apartment complex, the property management company is in charge of repairs and exterior maintenance. All rules apply to everyone across the complex and if something breaks, management will take care of it.
HOA fees can quickly creep up, especially if your landlord is requiring you to pay them. If you're required to cover the HOA fees at your condo or townhouse, ask what's included in the monthly payment. Before committing, ask how often the fees change, how often extra charges creep up and what kind of restrictions you face as a renter.
One thing to keep in mind at a townhouse is landscaping. The service, while necessary, sometimes is not covered by your landlord in your rent, resulting in an extra expense to you.
Your one-bedroom rent at an apartment complex includes all necessary amenities, including access to mailrooms, parking, trash, gym and in-unit repairs. Luxury units may have additional fees like a pet rent, package holding, dog walking, renting communal areas and more.
According to a 2018 study, three in four residents would pay more for a package of their top three smart home amenities. They see smart home amenities more valuable than a pool or an on-site gym.
But, if you love hanging out by the pool yet want to live in a smaller, tight-knit community, a condo is for you. Do you have a restricted pet breed? If so, go rent that townhouse.
However, if you're an all-inclusive person and don't want to worry about extra amenities, then a one-bedroom apartment at a complex is right for you.
Think long and hard about your day-to-day and whether you have time (and money) to pay for extra amenities you may not use and choose your next home accordingly.
Townhouses are often two to three floors with extensive square footage for a living room, dining room and storage. You'll have space to organize all of your mementos and seasonal clothing. As your family expands and you're not ready to buy a home yet, this is a great alternative.
If you're into Marie Kondo and your possessions could fit in a few boxes, a small condo or apartment could be right for you. Don't only consider the inside square footage, think about outdoor spaces available like tennis courts, dog parks, pool gathering area and others as part of the space you may need.
Are you a person that likes to grill on the weekends? You'll need a patio for that. While some apartment complexes have common areas to grill, they're often occupied for events. If you're aching for some outdoor space, a townhouse is the best option for you.
While taking on landscaping (depending on your landlord) may be a hassle, having a little rectangle of grass that's just yours (for the lease duration) could be worth it.
Townhouses also offer a little more privacy than a condo or apartment as they only share a maximum of two walls, often soundproof. If you're sensitive to noise, a townhouse with less noise pollution can work better for you.
Luxury condos will attract young residents looking for the latest amenities like dog walking, high-tech fitness studios and salt water pools with a sauna nearby. Just know each of them are extra on your rent.
If you're a hands-off, barely-home person, we suggest looking into an apartment complex with only the necessary amenities in order to pay just for what you use.
There are advantages and downsides for each type of home. It all comes down to your needs and what amenities fit your lifestyle.
You may think you need upwards of 1,000 square feet on your own, but once you start looking at your daily activities, you may find you don't need that much.
The costs differ as much as the square footage, but once you have your preferences narrowed down — pool, low maintenance fees, your commute — it will be easier to decide what you should look for.
Think of your short- and long-term expectations for your home, especially if you're thinking of expanding your family or changing jobs, and you'll find the right one.
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