Condos and apartments are two of the most popular forms of housing in urban areas. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some significant differences between them. Condos and apartments have different ownership structures, legal frameworks, and living arrangements. If you’re in the market for a new place to live, it’s important to understand the differences between both of them to make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll explore the major differences between condos and apartments.
What Is A Condo?
A condominium, often abbreviated to “condo,” is a privately or individually owned unit inside a community of all other privately owned units. Typically, the individual condo owner owns the inside and the internal structures of the external walls. Pools, garages, elevators, outdoor areas, and fitness centres, to mention a few, are among the communal facilities that condo owners collectively own. While some condominiums are in high-rise buildings, detached condos are available in some markets.
Ownership often involves a nonexclusive interest in some “community property” managed by the condominium’s management.
Typically, homeowners association, a board of unit owners manages the day-to-day operations of a condominium complex, like lawn maintenance and snow removal.
What Is An Apartment?
An apartment is a rental property often owned (not merely managed) by a property management firm and placed in a complex, residential building, or community – depending on the situation. Inside an apartment building or condo community, all apartments are identical, the owner is identical, and each tenant adheres to the same rules. Further, every renter responds to the same property manager, who is often located in the leasing office alongside leasing agents (to help existing residents and lease other units).
Condo Vs. Apartment: Differences To Note
So, what distinguishes a condo from an apartment? Nothing in regards to physical qualities. The main difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership. So you now understand that an apartment is positioned within a complex (including other units) owned by one entity, typically a corporation, and rented to individual tenants.
However, a condo is often owned by a person and maintained either by the owner individually or by the condo community’s homeowner association (HOA) or condominium corporation with the support of a property management company. The landlord becomes your independent condo owner if you rent a condo complex. Yet, when you rent an apartment, the company’s (the owners’) property manager acts as your landlord, though you might not deal with them as frequently as you would with a landlord because the whole leasing office caters to tenants.
Let’s look at a few other differences between a condo and an apartment.
1. Types Of Amenities:
Let’s look have the amenities offered in each condo and an apartment:
The amenities accessible in condo buildings differ somewhat more than the apartments since they rely on the amenities controlled by the HOA. In bigger condo complexes, facilities may include a concierge, fitness centre, swimming pool, lounge, parking space, boardroom, party room, and outdoor spaces. Occasionally, there may be an indoor or outdoor pool.
Since the condo’s landlord is also the owner, a condo will likely have a more individualised feel. You will likely find updated and luxury amenities like granite countertops, hardwood floors, new appliances, and personalised touches like a wall colour or kitchen backsplash. Moreover, it provides variation among the condos in the complex. Moreover, everything in the condo units is the sole responsibility of the owner. Hence, condos tend to be more modern and recent in their look and feel along with the amenities.
While the expenses of the shared amenities are shared by everyone, the repairs and maintenance of individual units is the responsibility of that individual condo owner.
You won’t find any personal touch when it comes to apartment buildings. The flooring, the kitchen backsplash, etc., are similar throughout each apartment unit. Unless any apartments in an apartment complex have been upgraded, they are all identical.
Even though many apartment communities provide luxury facilities these days, most apartments still provide more basic amenities, like a laundry facility, an outdoor pool, and a fitness centre. At the same time, some offer a dog park, valet waste, tennis courts, etc. It relies on the neighbourhood and the apartment’s condition.
Without question, the amenities in a condominium are far superior to those in apartment units. Even when you pay for a condo versus an expensive apartment, the amenities will not be sufficient.
2. Property Management
The next question is, who will you deal with or manage the condo units or apartments?
When renting an apartment, you are doing so via a reputable leasing company that has likely been in the industry for decades. Professionals or a property management company own and control the apartment complex you reside in.
While renting a condo unit, you engage directly with the condominium’s owner. Since it is their property and they care about it, some landlords may be overprotective and invasive. Condo owners are often quite approachable. This makes it easy to report complaints and address maintenance issues, particularly if you rent a condo.
In the worst-case scenario, you can have a landlord or condo owner that frequently inspects their property, which may prove bothersome. Hence, maintaining the condos is essential to avoid any future problems.
3. Cost Of Renting
There is a pricing difference between the condo unit rent and an apartment unit rent. A condo will not necessarily be more expensive to rent than that of an apartment. If a condo and an apartment are located in the same neighbourhood, its prices will likely be comparable. However, the prices vary depending on the quality of the rentals, though. If one is more improved and has more facilities than the other, the pricing will reflect this.
Moreover, landlords of condos and property managers of flats price their units according to the typical rent in the region, comparing their rates to that of nearby condominiums and apartments. For both apartments and condominiums, determine your maximum affordable rental amount.
When renting an apartment, you will probably pay your monthly rent (and any associated utilities) via the web portal for your apartment community or by cheque if you wish. Additional utilities (like gas, electricity, and internet) that aren’t part of your rent are normally paid to external suppliers monthly.
Yet, when the landlord manages the facilities in a condo, the monthly rent might include a set (or by usage) charge for utilities (depending on the landlord).
In a condo, you will likely be a member of the condo’s HOA. As a condo renter, you must pay monthly HOA fees for the maintenance of the community’s shared amenities and exterior and other amenity costs, such as those for concierge services. While renting a condo, the monthly rent is often preset. Your landlord typically sets the monthly payments for rent and includes HOA fees and utilities.
Online payments will most likely not be available when paying a landlord. In regards to condo rents, cheque payments will always be acceptable. Before signing a lease, you should ask about the landlord’s preferred form of rent payment.
4. Rules & Regulations
In addition to rules concerning garbage and pet waste in the neighbourhood, the property management company of an apartment will also provide tenants with regulations regarding the flat’s interior. Moreover, when renting an apartment, you are not permitted to paint the walls, install heavy items that may ruin the walls, or undertake any permanent decoration.
In a condo, the HOA will probably set the residential rules for the complex. For instance, there could be rules prohibiting the placement of garbage outside the front door, pet waste removal, and leaving personal things across the condo community. Regarding dogs, if the condo complex is pet-friendly, it does not always follow that the condo you wish to rent is as well. Verify with the condo owners to ensure this rental unit remains pet-friendly if you intend to bring your furry companion along.
So these are the key differences of condo vs apartment.
The structure of a condo may resemble that of an apartment — often a unit inside a larger residential complex — but condominiums are owned rather than rented. Further, the condo owner pays property taxes, whereas landlords pay property taxes for apartments, not tenants.
Condo owners build equity, are accountable for all interior care, and pay monthly HOA dues. In contrast, an apartment tenant pays rent monthly, does not generate equity, and depends on the landlord to handle maintenance concerns.
A condominium is often a wise investment if you can pay the prices and want to remain in the area for a time. Or otherwise, you can look for an apartment. Both condos and apartment buildings will offer comfort and convenience. Yet, ultimately it is the lifestyle choices, the amenities you prefer, the flexibility you want, etc.