Underrated in America: Condos
Homeownership is the American Dream, but in a lot of people's minds, owning a condo doesn't quite count. It's the somewhat less attractive step-sister. There are some good reasons to avoid condos: if you're obsessed with the idea of having a white picket fence, a big private yard, and a detached home, then a condo won't offer you any of those things. But here are some of the great things about condos:
- One major complaint about condos is the homeowner's association (HOA) dues. But guess what? Those are used to cover expenses that you would have anyway. For instance, the $150.49 per month that I pay for dues at the condo I own covers "Refuse Removal, Water, Sewer, Master Insurance, Swimming Pool, Exterior Maintenance, Road Maintenance, Landscaping, Snow Removal, Playground, and Walking/Jogging Trails." Most of those are things you'd have to shell out for with a single-family home and, with a well-run HOA, you'll actually save money because of the economies of scale: landscaping for 20 units together is cheaper than the same service for 20 individual homes. Best of all, you won't have to worry about coordinating maintenance for anything other than what's between your walls.
- Condos are often less expensive than owning a single-family home. Here's an idea: instead of buying one $200,000 home, buy two $100,000 condos and use one as an investment property to generate cash flow and long-term appreciation for your retirement!