Posted by : Kyisha Long 29.4.14

When it comes to finding a new place to live, its all too easy to get confused and sidetracked by all of the terminology youll be hearing. Many people who are looking to find a rental property, for example, may have a general misunderstanding of what, precisely, the difference is between a condominium (condo) and an apartment. Well help you get to the bottom of this question, and provide some guidance about which type of property might be right for you.

Whats a Condominium?

It turns out that the major difference between these two types of properties is mostly legal in nature. The word condominium refers to a shared property in which each individual unit is owned independently and privately. Of course, this can mean that theres some overlap between the two: if you buy an apartment in a shared building, rather than renting it, you could consider yourself a condo owner.

That said, condominiums are more closely associated with a certain type of lifestyle. What this means is that condo complexes typically offer maintenance and groundskeeping services, as well as facilities for residents, which can include gyms and pools. Generally speaking, condo owners also have to abide by a certain set rules and regulations including, but not limited to, pet restrictions and maintaining the appearance of the property.

Whats an Apartment?

Apartments, like condos, are typically located in a shared building, but the difference is that an apartment is rented by the tenant, rather than purchased outright. Whereas condo owners are part of a community, with shared responsibilities, regulations, and even membership in an owners association, apartments dont tend to have any of that. Apartment tenants have to sign a lease, the terms of which can govern everything from water usage to property maintenance, but there are no additional fees for community membership.

As such, the main difference between apartments and condos comes down to a question of ownership. If you write a check for rent every month, youre living in an apartment. If you purchased your property, and its located in a community, then you own a condo.

Which Should You Choose?

Before you spend too much time digging into the listings for apartments and condos for sale in your area, youll want to make sure you know which is the best choice for you and your family.

For some, the question will come down to whether you want to take part in community living. For some, the condo lifestyle could be quite appealing, with easy access to shared community facilities. For others, the regulations and owners association fees might be a turn-off.

That said, condominiums can be a great choice for first-time homeowners who want to get a taste for long-term ownership. Its the better fit for individuals and couples who are relatively certain of their job security and who perhaps want to settle down for a while to raise a family. Renting an apartment, on the other hand, is typically a six-month or one-year commitment; its perfect if your employment situation isnt exactly set in stone.

When youre making your choice, youll want to weigh each factor carefully before reaching a decision. Do you want to rent an apartment in the heart of a city? Would you rather buy a condo on the outskirts and enjoy a relatively quieter lifestyle? There are a lot of factors to consider after you see what your area has to offer.

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