What You Should Know about Moving into a Condo

So you’re in the market to buy a new home and want to be in the heart of the action or right on the beach. You begin to search online for a house, starting with a price range and the floorplan–the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, along with the necessary square footage.

During your search, you find several single family homes, but they aren’t really in the location you want to be in and don’t have all the things you want. It’s then you see a condo for sale in your search and it piques your interest–you’d not thought about getting into a condo community.

That begs the question of what it means to own a condo unit and how it differs from a single family home or even a townhome. Of course, you know that they are different in the layout, but there are many other differences between a condo and a single family property.


Let’s start with the ownership aspect of a condo compared to a single family. The word “condo” is obviously a contraction of the term “condominium”, which is actually a legal term for a type of ownership. When you purchase a single family or even a townhome, you are given fee simple rights, meaning you own the property inside and out.

“First and foremost, you must decide where you want to live. From there, find out about the condo and single-family house options in the area. If you want to be in the heart of the city [or by the beach], condos will be more prevalent. However, for the same price, you could potentially find a single-family home just a short commute away.” —Realtor.com

However, a condo owner is given condominium rights, meaning he or she owns from the interior walls in, and not the exterior–the exterior, as well as common areas, are jointly owned with the other unit owners.

Another difference between single family properties and condos is maintenance. Condo communities typically have an association to which the various owners belong. For many people this means having to pay a mortgage and an HOA fee. This raises an objection because of the supposed added cost, however, there’s no escaping this cost, even if you own a single family property that’s not part of an HOA because you’ll have to pay for fixes when they come up.

In other words, an HOA fee is a dedicated savings plan, allowing money to be put away for the inevitable. After all, it’s not if the roof begins to leak, it’s when the roof begins to leak. Sure, you won’t be able to change the color of the exterior, but you won’t have to do the paving when the parking lot is up for a refresh.


If you’re still in on purchasing a condo, then here are some tips for finding the right community and right unit to fit your lifestyle:

  • Get busy getting declustered. No matter the type of property you currently live in, it’s more than likely you’ve got a lot of stuff. Hold a garage sale and donate stuff to charity to lighten the load when you move.
  • Think about going up in size. If you are currently in a two bedroom, two bathroom home, consider purchasing a condo unit with at least one more bedroom or a den or office. You won’t have the garage to pile stuff into and you won’t have an attic in most cases. Even if you just bring the bare essentials, you will eventually accumulate more belongings. In addition, go up a little in square footage to give you ample room.
  • Consider the condo’s layout. You’ll want to avoid a couple of things in units entirely. A long hallway is nearly assuredly a space waster and probably an awkward dividing wall. Also, avoid angled walls in the bedrooms especially because they can present a real challenge for furniture placement.
  • Think about parking. Single family homes have a dedicated driveway and/or garage, while condo communities might have dedicated covered parking. The number of spaces will depend on the building.
  • Don’t ignore the future. Think about selling down the road, and what will be the most attractive features to potential buyers. The more resident amenities and the better the building is maintained, the more things you have as selling points.

When you’re ready to buy a condo here in Sarasota, it’s best to have an experienced professional that knows the area and communities well. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll help you find the right condo unit with all your must-haves and is within your budget. We can also assist you in selling your current home.