The terms “apartment” and “condo” are sometimes used interchangeably which can be confusing when you are trying to make a decision between the two.
Additionally, choosing one over the other can mean a different kind of lifestyle and a different set of financial responsibilities. Knowing these differences can help to narrow down your choices and make the decision easier. So, what are the main differences between apartment and condominium living? Here are the top 5.
Perhaps the most important factor that differentiates an apartment from a condo is who owns the unit. A condo is owned by an individual who may or may not rent it out. Furthermore, a condo is governed by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) which is a group of condo owners who collectively makes decisions regarding that particular condominium community.
On the other hand, individual apartment units are owned by one owner, usually a large business. If you rented a condo, you would be renting from an individual landlord, and if you rented an apartment, you would be renting from a business.
Rules and Regulations
Both apartments and condominiums have rules and regulations. The difference is how those rules are created. The rules for an apartment community are basically universal and instituted by the apartment's management company, which also enforces those rules.
In a condominium community, however, there are two layers to the rules and regulations. Not only does the HOA have its own set of concerns, but the owner of that particular unit you are renting may have his own regulations regarding the property. Generally, the HOA governs the “outside” of the unit, and the landlord manages the inside.
Location, size, availability and number of amenities all play into the rental cost of a condo or apartment. Regardless of whether you choose an apartment or a condo, the owner of the rental property determines the fixed rate.
HOA fees are added to condos and may or may not be included in the rental fee. Apartments require no HOA fee since they don’t operate under one.
Amenities vary considerably from one community to the next, whether apartment or condominium. Examples of the kind of amenities you might expect would be a pool, gym, laundry, public park, playground or business office. Since condos are individually owned, they may be more apt to have private laundry facilities. They also may differ from one another with the kinds of renovations that have been made since those are dependent upon the owner.
One area where apartments and condominiums vary widely is how the maintenance of the unit is handled. Free maintenance is a benefit of renting an apartment. The company that owns a rental unit may utilize a third party who handles all work orders in a timely manner and is available 24/7. Additionally, issues can be handled when you are not home.
With a condo, the ease of solving maintenance issues will vary depending on the landlord. Your landlord will likely be the main point of contact for maintenance requests, which means you as the renter are at the mercy of their responsiveness. The variability is as diverse as the amount of individual landlords.
If you're torn between apartment life and a condo community, it is wise to do some research to find out what type of reputation each has. Always look at a rental property's policies to find out what is and is not allowed and decide whether the rules and culture fit your lifestyle. Remember that a condo includes the requirements of both the landlord as well as the Homeowner’s Association.
Happy hunting! And if you're looking for a place to call home in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area, come check out Cleveland Crossing Luxury Apartments!