When it comes to buying a home that isn’t a townhouse, you have a few options at your disposal. Typically, the two main options are condos or apartments. It might seem as if apartments and condos are basically the same, but this isn’t the case.
Both condos and apartments do have some things in common. For example, they are both offer excellent locations. For a busy city such as Toronto, having a great location is imperative.
The main difference is that a condo is a high-end, rich dwelling that is expensive to manage. However, an apartment happens to be a low-cost and simpler way of life.
There are many other significant differences when it comes to this topic, which you might not be aware of. Making the decision on whether a condo or apartment is best for you is huge. So, here’s everything you need to know to make an informed choice.
1. The Difference In Space Ownership
Common areas of concern for any property purchase is space ownership.
There is a major difference in the ownership of an apartment vs a condo. A single condo unit typically belongs to an individual condo owner.
An organization known as the condominium corporation is responsible for managing the condos. These fall under the supervision of a circle of condo owners.
An apartment building is owned by a registered leasing company. An individual looking for space can rent an apartment from the leasing company.
2. The Property Management
If you are looking to rent rather than buy either a condo or an apartment, then the property manager makes a huge difference.
Professionals own and manage their apartment building. The property management company will be highly experienced, and this will be reflected in the cost of renting.
However, when it comes to renting a condo unit, you will have to deal with an individual condo owner who could be any citizen. Since condos are individually owned by different owners, they might vary in their look and appeal. There is a lot of personal effort and investment involved in setting up a beautiful condo unit. Hence, the facilities that you are likely to get in a condo on rent will be more than those in an apartment.
When it comes to solving the problems that you might face after renting the property, the response from the property management company would differ. For an apartment, you would have to get in touch with the organization that has leased out the property to you.
3. The Difference In Costs
When you compare the cost of renting a condo and an apartment, there is a difference in price.
Renting an apartment is most likely to cost you about $100- $300 less, compared to renting a condo unit. The true savings will differ depending on the region you are renting a space in. For example, a newer vs an older building will have different associated costs. (1)
However, there are various other cost factors to consider too. For example, renting an apartment would mean just renting out a space to stay. But, when you rent a condo unit, you get access to better amenities and facilities included in your rent too. A condo lease gets you to access to different facilities such as gym, a party room, lounge facilities, fitness centers and much more.
It really depends whether you want the lifestyle benefits of a condo, or something basic without amenities that you’ll find with an apartment.
It might seem cheaper to go for an apartment over a condo. Especially given condos have higher hoa fees. However, if you are then paying separate membership fees for a gym, spa etc that would automatically be included in the price of a condo, then an apartment isn’t always cheaper. Plus, with a condo you don’t even have to leave home to access any of these wonderful amenities!
So, the choice between a condo and an apartment depends on your budget as well as lifestyle.
4. Facilities That You Get for the Money You Pay
There is no doubt that the facilities that you get in a condo are far superior to those you’ll find with an apartment.
Even if you go for an expensive apartment, the facilities wouldn’t stretch that far. At best you’d get a parking space, gym and very rarely a pool. Apartment amenities on the whole can be underwhelming.
However with condos, the facilities go far beyond the basics. This includes having a concierge service, party rooms, fitness and yoga centers, lounge facilities and much more. These are on top of the standard parking, gym and pool features.
Moreover, if you opt for an expensive and luxurious condo building, you get many more amenities within common areas. For example, it’s not uncommon to find a lush park or even an indoor jogging track. None of the amenities an apartment will give you come close to that of a condo. There’s also the benefit of living in a condo community. Overall, condo owners get way more bang for their buck.
So, the facilities you require are another consideration in the choice between a condo and apartment.
… [Apartment] residents are only entitled to rent units, but usually at cheaper rates than comparable condominiums due to the difference in facilities. – Lion Real Estate
5. Location And Age Of The Development
When we talk about the Condo vs Apartment debate, age may also be a factor.
Condos tend to be more recent compared with apartments. To be specific, condo developments entered the market much later than apartments, that is, after the mid-90s. Apartments on the other hand, tend to be much older.
In terms of the location, condos are in bustling neighbours. They are also well connected to public transport. Apartment buildings are more prominent in suburbs and outdated areas of Ontario. Also, apartments are more scattered around the city while a lot of condominiums are concentrated in bustling areas such as downtown Toronto.
6. Risks and Intricacies Involved
Apartments are rented from professional organizations. As a result, apartments might have different procedures for dealing with any issues that you might face.
Condos owners are usually quite approachable. So, this makes it straightforward to raise concerns or fix maintenance issues, especially if you rent a condo. However, condos are usually purchased for investment purposes. (2) This means your condo owner could decide to sell up if you are only renting a condo. If this happens, you’ll need to vacate the building after a notice period. Apartments don’t generally have such uncertainty, which is another big difference between a condo and an apartment.
The following video by Realtor & Blogger Mark Savel provides further information about the differences between condos vs apartments.
Condominium vs Apartment: Which Should You Choose?
Both condos, as well as apartments, have their own set of pros and cons. Ultimately it depends on your individual needs as to which side of the apartment vs condo debate would work better in your favour.
For example, if you are on an extreme budget, then renting an apartment or indeed purchasing one is a good option. Especially since the hoa fees will also be less. However, if a better quality of living is your main focus, then condos win the race every time.
Furthermore, in today’s market condos are a better housing solution compared with all other options. This is based on the amenities on offer and the accessibility. Not to mention the ease of living that these spaces offer. This is the main difference between a condo and an apartment.
When you break it down, the condo vs apartment debate is clear to understand. There are certainly significant differences between the two housing types. It’s a good idea to consider which would be better for you. However, when it comes to which is best overall then the condo is a sure winner.
For news, updates, and exclusive access on all new and upcoming condos in Toronto Canada, make sure you visit Precondo.
1. Lauren Pelley, How to find a great apartment in Toronto on a budget, retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/how-to-find-an-apartment-in-toronto-1.4004591
2. Joe Richer, Registrar, Real Estate Council of Ontario, What to consider when buying a condo as an investment property: Ask Joe, retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2019/04/06/what-to-consider-when-buying-a-condo-as-an-investment-property-ask-joe.html