MoneyWisdom Blog

Condo or House? Which is Better for Me?

Posted by Bill Burpeau on Jun 12, 2015 8:59:00 AM

condo_vs_houseAs my children grow up and have begun leaving the nest, I sometimes look around my yard and think, “How am I going to do all this yard work without them?” I’m not getting any younger.  There are so many things to be done, like mowing, weeding, flower gardens – not to mention snow removal. So I’ve been thinking lately about the possibility of moving into a condo when my youngest flies away in about five years from now. I’ve heard lots of things about them – good and bad – so I decided to do some research.

Here are some typical pros and cons.


  • There is no yard to mow, no snow to shovel, and no exterior painting to do.
  • They are generally less expensive to purchase (square foot vs. square foot).
  • Condos can be more secure due to the close proximity of neighbors and possibly gated security.
  • There can be a stronger sense of community.
  • Often amenities like swimming pools and nice gyms.


  • Association Dues (that can change yearly).
  • Proximity to neighbors who can be quite noisy.
  • Fees or special assessments in the event of emergency repair (broken water pipe or roof damage).
  • Can be harder to sell due to the fact that all the units look the same.

I’ve concluded that whether or not to move into a condo is a very personal decision. You have to decide how you want to live. Are you willing to give up some freedom in order to have less maintenance and more security? If I do decide to move into a condo, there are two things I will look into at depth.      

  • The By-Laws. I will read these and  ask questions, such as:
    • Can I rent the unit?
    • Can the condo association put a lien on my property if I can’t pay the dues?
    • What are the rules governing noise, pets, etc.?
  • The Association Management. I want to know if it is run well and will ask questions, such as:
    • How much of the monthly dues are set aside for reserves?
    • How strong is the reserve account?
    • Are all of the other condo owners current on their dues?

If mowing the lawn and shoveling snow are the only reasons I want to move into a condo, it’s probably not right for me. If, on the other hand, I want the freedom to walk out the door and travel without worry, it might be right for me. I’ve got some more thinking to do.

As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But at least with a condo, you don’t have to mow it! Good luck in your search.

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Bill_BurpeauBill Burpeau is the Multimedia Manager for Hanscom FCU.  He is an author and teaches personal financial management to high school students. His favorite quote is from John Maxwell – “If you don’t tell your money what to do, you’ll wind up wondering where it all went.”
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