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Choosing A Condo Versus A House

As recent signs have shown the Home Buyers Market might finally pick up both locally and nationally in this year. The recent signs of life in the market are seen as encouraging and positive news for buyers and sellers alike. Once you know you are going to be in the market for a new place, the first question is often about location. Beyond the "where do you want to live" issue, the next big choice to settle on is what kind of home do you want. Especially for first time buyers, this is where a lot of angst and uncertainty comes into play. Let this list help demystify the decision making process for you a little. There are varying factors to both choices and depending on income, lifestyle and future plans. The final answer may in fact be a different, but important one for every person, couple or family. Which one will it be: a Condo or a House.

The Top Five Deciding Factors

1. Location:

In the past Condos were mainly found in large cities or mini-spoke suburbs. But now legitimate condos are everywhere homes are. Suburbs and many small towns within a reasonable commuting distance to metro areas all now have condos now. New developments are sprouting up all the time bucking trend of lesser construction of new homes. Other than proximity to your job, the qualities of a private home and a condo are now available in the same locations.

2. Single or Married

This is usually one of the chief factors in what kind of first home you choose. In matters of equity, credit, lifestyle, commute and proximity to work, this is the big one. Lifestyle is sometimes the overriding factor has a lot to do with it. First time buyers once again are trending toward city living over the burbs, in a reversal of recent findings. Recall that when you buy a condo there are maintenance fees to contend with and depending on your amount of free time you may be paying for amenities that you won't use.

3. Family minded versus flying solo:

Depending on your plan for how soon you want to start/expand your family this could weigh heavily in your decision. Often people starting or planning families have traditionally settled on buying homes and living in the suburbs where quality of life and better quality public education are often found. Younger singles or couples not opting for starting a family in the near future can weigh living in the city and saving up for that next home in 5-10 years when they are ready to grow into a family unit. We had a recent report on the so-called "baby bust" touched on this topic as well.

4. Privacy:

Another one of the the issues that can go either way for most people. There is a certain anonymity that comes from apartment and condo dwelling that young professionals especially seem to like. While you might have very outgoing and social neighbors, there is an unspoken code about leaving people alone if they don't feel like participating in the building affairs and and events. But usually there is also an obligation that comes with being part of a building community and that sometimes you cannot shake. If you own your own house on the other hand, you might be starving to be noticed or bothered. Depending on how thickly settled your area is you might enjoy a wonderful dose of peace and quiet.

5. Responsibility:

This is another double- edged sword to consider. The condo life may seem sweet and carefree to the casual observer, but that is truly not the case. There is definitely a "you broke it you bought it" mentality when you have a condo and dealing with Boards, Associations and particular neighbors can be challenging at times. Home ownership has a tremendous upside in terms of comfort, space and privacy but also comes with the personal and financial pressure unlike anything else. The D.I.Y. craze before the bubble definitely turned a lot of doubters in to handy jacks and jills when it comes to fixer-uppers.

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