If you’re shopping for a new place to live, you may not know the difference between a “condo” and an “apartment”. The difference can be much more important than you might think, especially if part of your motivation for moving is to reduce your role in home maintenance.
What is a Condo?
Condo is generally short for “condominium”, a private residential unit that may be owned or rented out to tenants by a landlord. The landlord owns the individual condo, which is usually located in a residential building or community. The landlord acts as a property manager, and some landlords may own more than one condo in the community, but the landlord of a condo may not actually reside in the community and can even live in another city or state altogether.
What is an Apartment?
Apartments are rental properties and are usually owned and managed by a property management company rather than an individual landlord. Apartments are located in residential buildings or communities in which all apartments are similar. A property manager and leasing agents usually work in the leasing office on the premises of the community to serve current and future residents.
What are the Key Differences?
On the surface, condo units may not look very different from apartments. The cost may be similar and the appearances may be very much alike, but the differences lie in 4 key areas: amenities, maintenance, ownership, and community regulations.
Some condos offer amenities similar to those you enjoy in an apartment, although in many cases condos offer more individuality between units. Condo units often require that you pay extra fees for amenities where an apartment community will not, and concierge services are rarely available in a condo. Amenities in a condominium community may also be managed by a homeowner’s association, giving individual tenants very little say in how amenities are managed and used, while tenant input in an apartment community may carry more weight.
When it comes to that leaking refrigerator or an infestation of ants, you will find that apartments and condos are extremely different. In a condo, you will have to call your landlord directly about maintenance issues, and they will then call someone else to deal with your issues. This can delay service, particularly if your landlord lives in a different city or state. An apartment community generally offers 24/7 emergency maintenance service and can handle problems quickly thanks to staff located on the premises.
Rules & Regulations
Most rules and regulations in a condo unit come from a community homeowners association or from the landlord directly. In your condominium, you will have to learn the rules of the HOA and any rules your landlord may have set. Apartment rules are stated clearly in your lease and are enforced by the apartment community’s property management team. Rules in an apartment community will be the same from apartment to apartment.
The biggest difference between a condo and an apartment can be seen in who owns and manages the property. A condo is managed and owned by a landlord, while an apartment is owned and managed by a property management company. This can affect how you communicate with your property manager and what you can expect in terms of maintenance. In a condo, your landlord may be more difficult to reach, and repairs and maintenance may be delayed in comparison to the response you receive from an on-site property management company.
If you are looking to downsize and reduce your overall home maintenance requirements, an apartment is the clear choice. An apartment provides peace of mind that rules will be enforced, emergency service will be available, and amenities will always be included and available, making an apartment an excellent choice for older tenants, students with packed schedules, and busy families. An apartment might be exactly what you’ve been looking for!