1) Cost of the physical property
2) Yearly cost of insurance
3) Cost to mow, maintain, etc. the SFR...put a value on what you are worth an hour plus the cost of chemicals, fuel, mowing machines, etc, etc. and come up with a yearly cost
4) Now total up all the costs of living in this home and divide by 12 to come up with a true comparison of what the single family home hidden cost of "ownership"/ home monthly rate is and compare this with the condo fee.
5) Depending on where the condo is, it could be an end unit, or similar..this way you don't always have to feel you are in an apartment with no privacy.
The most important thing to consider has nothing to so with the physical interpretation of what you want...it is understanding yourself as a person...what is your lifestyle? what do you do for a living? do you spend time in a gym each day, at friends? Do you travel alot? Consider these factors above all others, and then apply the numbers as shown above...this will really help clear your mind on making the right decision for you.
Time is an issue. How long do you plan to be there? Definitely a SFR over the long run will be more comfortable. Just look in my garage!
On the other hand, a condo can be more fun - providing more ammenities - pool, club house, spa, many new friends.
But a better and very realistic alternative might be buying a duplex or fourplex. This will give you many benefits. Your price per unit will be less than a condo. You will get appreciation leverage from rents and from the higher purchase price. This will also afford you the very real possibility of refinancing in a few years to buy you the next property - perhaps then the SFR of your dreams. This is possible because lenders will lend on the income generated from the rental units in addition to your purchasing power. Other people's money...
We are currently building maintenance free condos (homes). The homes are under the condo by laws. The condos are actually free standing homes with large landscaped lots. Our homes offer the advantage of condo living and yet you have a single family home and the privacy you indicated you were looking for.
In many cases, depending on the particular supply in your market place, you may be able to negotiate a very nice price on a newer condo w/ relatively low condo fees, than a single fam. home. Remember, location, location, location. Have your agent do a comparative market analysis on both your local condo market and sfh market so that you can make the most informed decision & invest wisely.
Right now I probably would suggest buying SFR if you could afford a good location or neighborhood. We have an oversupply of condos, but a shortage of land in central location. In this area the land can be as much as 70% of the value of the property. The improvements (building) depreciate with time as the building ages, but land goes up in value if it is in high demand. The fact that we have limited amount of land means that land in good central locations will go up again soon.
Also if you decide to buy a condo, it may be better to buy a newer building. In our area, condos went up in value faster than SFR, therefore they were a bit overpriced. Since maintenance costs in older buildings tend to be higher than newer buildings, they will likely depreciate faster during this cycle and most likely will not return to their previous value levels.
If you are looking for increased value over the next five years, I would put my money into SFR. If you are looking for a certain quality of life that is better served by a condo, then you already have your answer. If you are going to buy a condo, focus on newer buildings with lower maintenance costs. Good luck.
We are currently building freedom homes, free standing, maitenance free homes, built exactly like a traditional home but maintained like a villa.
visit our web page: http://www.JohnsonFineHomes.com
We are currently building single family maintenance free homes located in a small resort 60 miles south of St. Louis, MO. The homes come with two car garages, lg. landscaped yards. The homes provide people with privacy and yet they are not condos, town homes are apartments. The maintenance free provides more time for a person to enjoy their family and friends. We currently have people living in our maintenance free homes from 32 to 70 years old.
Look at your lifestyle..if you travel alot, or are hardly home, the condo may be the way to go. With this current market however...depending on your locality, you may get a really good deal on a home.
You never know who is going to be next door and hope to god is not a teen, that likes to party.