Good Morning! I haven't read the other responses and at this point you may have already made a decision. It is extremely nerve racking to purchase a home - every time you will do it! The worst is not knowing if the team you've selected to work on your behalf is trustworthy.
I have many first time buyer clients who'd love to talk to you if you'd like and let you know what to expect. Without any obligation. Generate a team that does business the way you would do business.... Realtor, Lender, Title - make sure they have great references, experience, work full time in the profession and CALL YOU BACK or text you back or email you back...Keep you updated and posted.
As for maintenance fee in a condo vs single family home. Its all about your lifestyle and desire to live more maintenance free or manage the maintenance required in home ownership. If you don't want to be bothered with landscaping tasks, updating the exterior of your home now and again then definitely consider a condo. Keep in mind though that you still have to keep up the interior, most condo policies cover upkeep from the wall studs to the exterior everything else is home owner responsibility. Check the following before buying a condo: Is there a need for deductible insurance, pet restrictions, foundation coverage, condo insurance policy, any special assessments. Condos can be more restrictive but can be great places to live the low maintenance lifestyle.
I have an excel spreadsheet I give to clients considering both condos and single family property. It breaks down the potential costs of doing your own maintenance and having insurance vs the condos maintenance & insurance... It only takes an hour or so to put together. Assuming I have direct access to the condo fee and what it covers.
A lot of the Galleria Condos have VERY high condo fees - drives me crazy sometimes. They all have their reasons and those reason vary - size of community, unique needs - rec facilities, gates, common areas, garages vs carports, insurance policies, age of community, etc.
General rule of thumb...for every $10,000 financed your payment changes about $65-$75 per month. So, if you're looking at a $400 condo payment, thats about $40,000 more towards a house. Loan qualifications are the same - you will have to qualify for the condo maintenance fee just like the extra $40k in a house. If the condo is $170,000 plus $400 a month its like having to qualify for a $200,000 property.
Hope this helps. If I can be of any additional service just shoot me an email... C