Even though they have a lot of things in common and are considered similar, condos and apartments are not the same. There are several differences between the two, one of the most important being related to their ownership.
The key difference between a condo and an apartment is that the former is owned and managed by a landlord, while the latter is owned and managed by a corporation.
But the distinction doesn’t stop there. Let’s take a look at the differences between condos and apartments.
What is a condo?
A condominium, or condo for short, is a property that’s typically located in a residential building or community. Condos are privately owned by landlords, and their appearance can vary wildly even if they’re located in the same building.
The condo’s owner rents out the property to whomever they please, making the process slightly more personal than apartment rental.
What is an apartment?
An apartment represents a property in a residential building, community, complex, etc, that’s owned and managed by a property management company. All the apartments in a residential building share the same owner and look similar.
Tenants lease their apartments from property managers who usually have a leasing office within the same complex or building.
Main differences between a condo and an apartment
Condos can look very different, even in the same building. As a result, they also come at different purchase and rental costs. Within a condo building, each unit can have a separate owner, so you’re more likely to encounter a mix of owners and renters.
Condo buildings organize themselves as Homeowner Associations (HOA). Every HOA can implement certain rules regarding noise hours, management costs, and so on. This usually means that you’ll have to respect a few extra rules to avoid stepping on any toes.
Apartments offer a different lifestyle experience because one entity owns the entire building. Most apartments look similar and come at similar prices and rental costs. Since all the apartments in a building are usually rented out for profit, your neighbors are renters, just like you.
Apartment buildings are managed by a property manager who takes care of all the day-to-day problems and responsibilities that may arise. The rules for living in an apartment are usually specified in your lease.
Condos offer different amenities based on how nice the building is. The community amenities can include anything from indoor gyms to pools and game rooms.
Every condo owner can customize their unit to increase its value. This means that the amenities can be different from one condo to another.
Some condos offer things like hardwood floors, granite countertops, and state-of-the-art appliances, while others may lack any kind of customization and may offer only standard features.
Apartments typically lack the personal touch a condo offers. They usually offer standard features across the community. Some property managers upgrade the units to increase their value, but that’s not always the case.
Apartment amenities vary from one community to another, but they may include free parking, on-site gym, on-site laundry, playground, pool, and more.
Cost of renting a condo
Overall cost represents one of the most significant differences between renting a condo and renting an apartment.
When you rent a condo, you may pay a flat rate for rent and included utilities, but you may also be required to pay the utilities separately.
You’ll most likely be included in the Homeowner Association. This means that, even as a tenant, you will pay monthly HOA fees for the building’s maintenance, along with community amenity fees, such as concierge or security services.
If you’re paying rent to a landlord, you may not be able to pay online, so make sure to check their preferred method of payment before signing your lease.
The average cost of renting a condo in January 2021 was $1,988 or $2.73 per square foot.
Costs of renting an apartment
When you rent an apartment, it most likely includes the cost of community amenity fees and some of your utilities. You may be required to pay for some utilities separately, depending on your contract.
Since you’re renting the property from a corporation, you should be able to pay your rent online, directly on the corporation’s portal.
The average cost of renting an apartment in January 2021 was $1,604 or $2.19 per square foot.
When you rent a condo, you, the landlord, or both of you support the costs of its maintenance, depending on your contract. This can translate to higher expenses on your part.
Even though you pay a monthly maintenance fee to the HOA, that fee doesn’t cover simple things like a leaking toilet, a broken faucet, and so on, so you’ll either have to pay someone to fix them, fix them yourself, or contact your landlord and have them fix the problem.
When you rent an apartment, you’re most likely not responsible for the unit’s maintenance and repairs. Chances are that you’ll get free, around-the-clock maintenance. Most building managers have an emergency line you can call to request a service.
Rules and regulations for condos
The Homeowner Association sets the guidelines for the community, and that usually means that you’ll have to behave in a certain way in the common areas outside your unit. Some HOAs can have unique regulations, so make sure you check them out before signing a lease.
However, the rules and guidelines set by the HOA may not affect the tenant. They may impact the owner directly. Some owners might try to impose those rules upon the renters, but most likely won’t.
Rules and regulations for apartments
Most apartment buildings follow a set of rules that are specified in the lease. And most of the rules refer to basic responsibilities, such as disposing of garbage and waste responsibly, keeping the common areas clean, not causing disturbances, and so on.
Each apartment building may enforce its own rules, so make sure to read your lease before signing it.
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