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Apartment vs. Condo: What’s the Difference?

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The difference between a condo and an apartment is mainly a legal distinction, but in many communities apartment vs. condo living is quite different. To find out how an apartment differs from a condo and which home is right for you, check out the helpful info below.

Defining the Condo

A condo is a type of shared property which contains individually owned units. So from a legal standpoint, if you buy an apartment you could call yourself a condo owner. Ownership is the key difference between apartment vs. condo distinctions – but a condo label is usually only applied to communities which support a condo lifestyle.

Condominiums offer services and facilities to condo owners such as maintenance repairs, lawn care, pools, gyms and club houses. Condo owners have to abide by the regulations and policies of the condominium's homeowners association which often include: annual condo membership fees, maintaining a specific type of appearance outside of the condo and pet restrictions.

Defining the Apartment

Apartment is a term that is usually applied to a unit in a building that is rented. While a purchased apartment can legally be called a condo many apartments for sale do not fit the traditional idea of condo ownership.

Instead, condos usually refer to units that are within a shared community – while apartment owners reside in a building that also has apartments for rent or which does not have any type of owner's association or extra services provided to tenants or owners.

Which is Right for You?

So which is right for you - an apartment or a condo? That depends on whether or not you are interested in home ownership and community living. For the most part, people who are planning on renting – and not interested in buying – should stick with apartment rentals instead of condos, but for people who are looking for long term home ownership a condo could provide the answer to a comfortable lifestyle in the city.

Apartment vs. condo living is also quite different. Some people may find condo association regulations and policies restrictive while others may find comfort in an orderly living environment. Condos are also definitely for people who are looking for a specific type of community – like retiree communities or communities made up of professionals that work in, for example the business district, specific areas of the city. If you are still unsure of whether you would prefer apartment or condo living, take the time to check out rentals in your area (some condo owners rent their units) and sign on with short term leases if you need extra time to make up your mind.

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