The main difference between buying a condominium and a single-family home is with a condo you get the right to the interior space; however, the land, walls, grounds, are owned with the other owners in the complex. With a single-family home you are the only owner of the building and land it sits on.
Condominiums are governed by CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions). CC&Rs are in place to preserve and enhance the value. These may restrict you from doing certain things. For example, the CC&Rs may prohibit you from changing the exterior color of your condo. Whereas a single family home you can change the exterior color of your home to any color you would like.
All Condominium restrictions and rules are normally all explained on condo documents. Condo docs are long and complex, buyers often complain that they don't understand them. If you can't make sense of the documents, contact a real estate attorney who is knowledgeable in condominiums to review and give you an outline of the important points.
When you buy a condominium, you become a member of the homeowners' association. You pay a monthly fee, which covers management of the association, hazard insurance and routine maintenance. A portion of your fee goes into a reserve account for future maintenance and improvements. Sometimes utilities, such as water, garbage and sewer are included in the monthly fee.
Pros of a condo:
-You may feel more secure because there are other neighbors close by. Also, some condos are gated complexes, it's difficult for those who don't belong there to come and go.
-Less maintenance and upkeep. Most of the time there are: No mowing lawns, No shoveling snow!! No raking leaves, No replacing broken windows. You are responsible generally for just the interior.
Cons of a condo:
-You are often close to your neighbors. One common wall separating you from your neighbor; therefore, sound can travel through that one common wall in-between.
-The condo complex has to qualify for the type of loan you are obtaining. For example, the condo you like might not qualify for the FHA loan you were hoping to obtain. Which means you would need to pay cash or obtain a conventional loan to buy..
-You have to pay homeowners association fees. That maintenance crew cost's money. You pay a monthly fee called "condo fees'' each month that goes towards the maintenance of the property, as well as future investments (a playground addition or fitness center) or repairs (a new roof).