Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo, a Homeowners' Association, and a Single-Family Home

In the market for a new residence in Collier or Lee County? One of the first questions you’ll need to answer is, “Should I buy a condo, a homeowners’ association (HOA) residence, or a single-family home?” Making this decision can help you narrow down your options and find the ideal home for you and your family. Each choice will have pros and cons depending on your unique needs and real estate wish list. Our Naples real estate attorneys can help you figure out which is best, so you can close on your perfect home.

Condominium vs. House

First, decide between a condominium and a house. A condo exists in a shared building with other condos and tenants, in which you share common areas such as lobbies, mail rooms, gardens, and parking lots. Purchasing a condo generally costs less than a single-family home in a similar location. You also won't have to worry about home maintenance or upkeep, since condos come with professionals who handle these matters. However, a condo is often smaller than a home, and the owner won't have as much control over the building or land.

A single-family home, on the other hand, boasts as much space as you want. A home might be a more appropriate option if you have or plan on having a big family. A single-family home can also give you more privacy than a condo, without wall-to-wall neighbors or shared common areas. Yet, you might not have the amenities you can get with a condo, such as a gym, swimming pool, or sauna. You may also be in charge of maintenance and upkeep, unless you opt for an HOA home.

Should You Buy an HOA Property?

Depending on the choice you make between a condo and a single-family home, your decision-making can end here. If you believe a condominium is the perfect option for you, you will need to join an HOA. Membership into the homeowners’ association – along with monthly fees – is part of investing in a condo, townhouse, or other planned development property. You most likely will not have a choice to join the HOA if you know you want a condo.

You may be able to avoid an HOA, however, if you go with a single-family home. Find out through your realtor if the properties you’re looking at fall under the jurisdiction of an HOA. HOAs can be an advantage in terms of maintenance and upkeep, since you won’t have to pay for either. Yet it can limit the amount of control you have over your landscape and home design. You will also have to pay monthly fees toward the HOA, an amount that varies depending on the amenities you receive.

It should be noted, as well, that an HOA’s discretion on rules for the community and its limitations and guidelines can be broad reaching. Many HOAs will impose assessments and other inspections, such as requiring that a lawn’s grass be maintained at a certain height, that can incur fees or other consequences if not followed. While this can help maintain property values across the community, it drastically relinquishes owners’ sovereignty over their property, and can cause headaches.

An HOA property might be right for you if you don’t want to deal with home maintenance and don’t mind someone else making some property decisions for you. Otherwise, go with a non-HOA single-family home.

Whenever you have decided which type of home is best suitable for you, our real estate attorneys are here to assist you with preparing for closing and completing your purchase.