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Condo vs Apartment: Which Is Right For You?

Condo vs Apartment? Today we are going to take a look at the difference between the two options.

We have a team of highly experienced real estate agents and we would love to put our expertise to work for you.

In this post we’ll be taking a look at a condo vs apartment, what they are and when each would be best for your particular situation. So, let’s get started!

condo vs apartment
Condo vs apartment: find out which is best for you

Condo vs Apartment

When thinking about a condo vs apartment, one of the first differences that may comes to mind is that a condo is a higher-end, more expensive type of dwelling and an apartment is a lower cost, often not as luxurious, place to live.

However, the differences go much deeper than just the look of the apartment or condo, and not all apartments are less luxurious.  Here are several more differences that you may not know about.

Condo vs Apartment: Ownership

The biggest difference between an apartment and a condo is the fact that you can own your own condo, whereas you are usually unable to purchase an apartment.

condo ownership
The biggest advantage of a condo over an apartment is that you can buy a condo

You Can Only Rent Apartments:

Apartments are usually located within a larger building that is owned by an individual or more often by a corporation or leasing company. This company will lease or rent out individual units to renters.

You can have other apartments such as a basement apartment that is a part of a home with a separate entrance. But this type of apartment, again, can only be rented out and is owned by your landlord.

You Can Rent or Buy Condos:

You can either rent a condo from a condo owner, or you an actually purchase a condo yourself and you become the condo owner.

condo-vs-apartment
You can either buy or rent a condo

Recommendation:

If you want to make an investment, build equity, and actually own your property, then purchasing a condo is the better choice.

Condo vs Apartment: Amenities

In many cases, condos will have more or better amenities than an apartment.

Apartment Amenities:

Most apartments buildings include parking, but you may have to pay extra for underground parking. Your apartment building may include a gym and if it is a really nice building, it may also have a swimming pool.

common areas
Condos often have a better choice of amenities

Condo Amenities:

Depending on your condo, you may have a much wider and nicer variety of amenities than you would find in an apartment building. Some possible condo amenities include:

  • Sauna, Theatre, Rooftop terrace, meeting room and residents lounge as in the K2
  • Outdoor terrace, billiard table and fitness facility as in the Caroline Street Private Residences
  • Party/meeting room, fitness room and outdoor terrace with BBQ as in the Bauer Lofts
  • Party room, steam room, rooftop patio with BBQ and library as in the Westmount Grand

Recommendation:

If you are looking for more and more upscale amenities, then choose a condo over an apartment.

Condo vs Apartment: Cost

condo lobby
Condos usually cost more than apartments

Apartment Costs:

Renting an apartment is probably a better choice if you are on a tight budget or if you are looking for a more temporary arrangement, because they usually cost less than a condo.

Condo Costs:

Generally, a condo will cost more to rent per month than an apartment. But if you can afford it and have money for a down payment, you may want to consider purchasing your condo.

You may pay a bit more each month for your mortgage payment and condo fees, but the money that you are paying  goes towards something that you actually own. 

As you make your monthly payments, you are paying down your mortgage. When and when you go to sell your condo, your condo will have most likely gone up in value and the amount that you borrowed to buy it will have gone down. You get the difference.

When you rent, on the other hand, you don’t get anything in return for your rental payments once you leave your rental unit.

Learn more about how mortgages work

Recommendation:

If you can get enough for a down payment and can afford a slightly higher monthly payment, buying a condo is so much better for you financially than simply renting.

Condo vs Apartment: Length of Commitment

Apartment:

Renting an apartment can be a shorter commitment for you than purchasing a condo. Most apartments can be rented with a one year lease.

Sometimes you can find a lease on a month to month basis, but that is more difficult or you may be able to sublet an apartment.

Condo:

Purchasing a condo will usually require a longer commitment from you. When you purchase your condo, you will usually be paying lawyers and real estate fees, so you want to hold onto your investment long enough to make it worth your while to sell.

However, when you own your condo, you are not bound by a leasing agreement, so you are free to sell it whenever you want to.

When you buy a condo you are usually making a longer commitment

Recommendation:

If you are in transition, or aren’t sure about whether or not you will need to re-locate in the near future, then renting an apartment or renting a condo as opposed to purchasing a condo is probably a better choice for you.

On the other hand, ownership means that you are free to sell your condo whenever you like and you are not tied to a lease agreement.

Condo vs Apartment: Age

Apartments:

Generally speaking, apartment buildings are usually older than condo buildings.

Condos:

Condos only became legally possible in 1967, but they really didn’t catch on until the 1990s.  From then on their popularity has grown as an affordable option for home ownership, especially in the more expensive urban areas in Canada.

As a result, most condo buildings are relatively new, especially compared to apartment buildings that have been around much longer.

buying a condo
Condo buildings are generally newer than apartment buildings

Recommendation:

If you prefer to live in a new building, then a condo would be a better choice for you.

Condo vs Apartment: Maintenance

Apartments:

Apartment buildings rely on the leasing company to do any necessary maintenance to your building. If the roof needs replacing or the pipes burst, the leasing company needs to cover these expenses.

Condos:

With a condo, part of your fees go towards the ongoing maintenance of the property. Condominium corporations will also have a reserve fund created from your condo fees for any unexpected larger maintenance expenses.

Sometimes, however, there isn’t enough in the reserve to cover these expenses and the condominium corporation’s insurance with kick in. 

However, there have been cases where there hasn’t been enough money in reserve and the insurance won’t cover everything, so the condo owners must cover the costs in something known as a special assessment.

condo maintenance
Part of your condo fees go towards the ongoing maintenance of the property

Condos vs Apartments: FAQs

Is it better to own or rent?

For most people, if you can afford it, it’s better to own your property rather than rent it. Property usually goes up in value over time and as time goes by you are paying down your mortgage so you are building equity.

What is a Special Assessment?

A special assessment is a large fee that is charged in order to cover a bigger project within the condo community such as replacing a roof or repairing structural damages to your building.

If your community is planning a larger project in the near future, then your condo fees could go up for a period of time. For example if you normally pay $450 a month in fees, they may go up to $550 a month for a year to cover this cost.

condo ownership
A special assessment is a large fee that is charged in order to cover a bigger project within the condo community

Why do condos usually cost more than Apartments?

Often, condo buildings are located in the central core of an urban center making the real estate that they are built on much more expensive. 

However, this can also make it more attractive for people who want to live in the heart of the city, close to the nightlife, public transport, and other great amenities.

Can I purchase an apartment?

Usually you can only rent an apartment. However, sometimes you will find an apartment building that does have units for sale, but in essence when you purchase this type of apartment, you are in effect purchasing a condo.

kw condo living

Condo vs Apartmemt? KW Condo Living Can Help You Make the Right Choice

If you are not sure whether you are ready to purchase a condo, talk to the experts at KW Listings. We are a team of highly experienced real estate professionals who specialize in helping our customers buy and sell condos in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Woodstock, and Stratford.

We can help you find your perfect home or investment property. Contact us today to start your search.

“Excellent service. I was able to rent a house within 1 week with Michael’s assistance (without hidden info and hassles). Michael was very responsive, very kind and very straightforward in his communication. Thank you, Michael Ferguson and the KW Listing Team.” – Nora Lopes

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