Renting an apartment vs renting a condo or townhome

Asked by liz, Marietta, GA Wed Feb 20, 2013

Later this year, I am planning to move out of my current apartment. I have been doing some research trying to find nice places within my price range. I've seen some really great condos and townhomes for rent that are the same price monthly (and some are even a bit cheaper) than a 1B/1Bath apartment in a complex. My question is, what's the catch here? What is the difference between renting a condo or townhome vs renting an apartment? What problems could I potentially encounter, what should I be cautious about, and which do you think is the better/safer option for me?

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Jason Pless, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Mon May 6, 2013
The potential downfall of renting privately is that you are at the mercy of your landlord to fix things in need of repair. If your A/C goes out in middle of Summer and your landlord is out of town- ouch! With limited private inventory out there available, I have found in recent months that you get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck if you lease an apartment than renting a condo. The difference is who you write the check to at the first of the month. Other than that, apartments normally offer better locations and better amenities at the same price, along with onsite maintenance to help with any day-to-day issues that may arise.

Most apartments built after 2005 were built condo-grade and design, meaning they potentially will do a full-on condo conversion once the market fully stabilizes. Right now you have the opportunity lease brand new apartments/condos and walk away from them when your lease is up. No HOA fees to use the amenities is an upside too. But the greatest advantage of all is the reputation of a management company and the services it provides to its residents. If the icemaker isn't working when you leave for a jog, it is when you get home. If the controlled access security gate to the property breaks, a management company is much better prepared to react and have it fixed than scrambling to find the HOA President to see if he can get ANYTHING done without a vote from the homeowners in the building.
1 vote
No mention is made of the lease. If the condo owner decides to sell after your lease is up, you may find yourself looking for another apartment. Many condo owners only rent because the market is not conducive to selling. That could change. A rental remains a rental with constant lease renewals. Also, does the owner of a condo clean and paint prior to moving in or is the apartment rented in an "as is" condition ? In NYC painting a 2 BR, 2 BA Apartment with cathedral ceilings can involve serious money
Flag Wed Nov 11, 2015
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