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Pros & Cons of Condo Living in Greater Boston

Couple on Computer Deciding on Home or Condo

As the inventory shortage continues to impact the housing market in Greater Boston, home buyers are having to broaden their search criteria to find the right place. For some people that means looking farther afield than originally hoped, but some other canny buyers are considering condo living instead of the traditional single-family home. This can work for many types of buyers – typically we think of first-time buyers or downsizers for the condo market, but there are many new condo developments aimed at growing families, with all the benefits of a condo but the “feel” of a single-family home. We take a look at some of the pros and cons of condo living, and why you should not automatically discount condos from your home search.

Pros

Low Maintenance. One of the biggest advantages of buying a condo is that they usually require less maintenance than a single-family home. Condo owners typically pay monthly fees that cover the cost of exterior maintenance, landscaping, and other common expenses. This means that the condo association takes care of things like snow removal, lawn care, and building repairs. As a condo owner, you won’t have to worry about things like painting the exterior of your home or fixing the roof. This can be particularly appealing to downsizers, who have had enough of shoveling snow or mowing lawns and want a home that requires minimal upkeep. But this can also be a bonus to families with young children who don’t have the bandwidth for that either.

Amenities. Many condo complexes in the Boston suburbs offer amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools, and concierge services. This can be a major selling point for people who want to have easy access to amenities, without the upkeep that comes with them (do you really want to maintain your own pool?)

Affordability. Condos are often more affordable than single family homes in Greater Boston. This is particularly true in areas where real estate prices are high, such as in-demand towns like Concord, Lexington or Winchester. Condos are a good option for people who want to live in desirable neighborhoods (think good schools, great commuter links) but can’t afford a single-family home in that area. Be aware though – some of the luxury condos developments may be more expensive than houses in some areas. 

Cons

Lack of Privacy. One of the biggest disadvantages of buying a condo is comparative lack of privacy. Although some developments may offer a private driveway or some private outdoor space, you will still be sharing at least one wall with a neighbor or two. Most condos are also smaller than single family homes, with a lack of storage being a common issue (typically no basement, attic or garage to store bigger items). There’s also less outdoor space for kids or pets to play, although some condo buildings have communal outdoor spaces.

Monthly Fees. While monthly condo fees can be a pro in terms of low maintenance, they can also be a con. The fees cover the cost of maintenance and amenities, but they can be expensive. Homeowners also have to pay property taxes on top of those fees, which can add up quickly.

Strong Rules & Regulations. As a condo owner, you are subject to rules and regulations set by the condo association. These rules can dictate things like outdoor decorations, noise level, and whether or not you can have pets. It’s important to read through these rules before buying a condo to make sure they fit with your lifestyle.

Browse Condos For Sale in Greater Boston

A condo could be a good fit for you, so don’t rule them out of your home search without looking at some options. Your realtor will know about the condo developments and complexes in your area and will be able to advise if they are a good fit for your lifestyle and budget. Reach out to Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty if you have any questions.

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