What is a Condo? Is It Different From an Apartment?
Written by Hannah Hildebolt
So you’re looking for a rental. You’re starting to explore different types of residences. Maybe you’ve heard the word “condo” before, and you know that a condo is different from an apartment, but you’re not really sure how. We’re here to help clarify the differences between condos and apartments. That way, that you can make an educated decision about what type of residence is best for you. So what is a condo? What are the differences between condos and apartments?
What is a Condo?
A condominium, or a “condo,” is a privately owned unit which is rented out to a tenant. The owner of the condo is its landlord, so the owner decides who rents the condo. Most frequently, condos are grouped together in residential buildings (although detached condos do exist). These residential buildings include common areas which the tenants of condos share access to. Common areas can include yards, fitness centers, or garages. The condo community’s homeowners’ association (HOA) is responsible for caring for these communal areas. You may be wondering exactly what the differences between condos and apartments are. Let's dive into that.
The Differences Between Condos and Apartments
So you’re looking for a rental and you’re starting to explore different types of residences. You’ve heard the word “condo” before, and you know that a condo is different from an apartment, but you’re not really sure how. We’re here to help clarify the differences between condos and apartments so that you can make an educated decision about what type of residence is best for you. So what is a condo? What are the differences between condos and apartments?
One of the biggest differences between condos and apartments is who owns them. As we’ve mentioned, individual people own condos privately. This means that when you rent a condo, you’re dealing with one landlord. Most of the interactions you have concerning your condo will be with the one landlord who owns the unit. Each landlord sets their own rules for tenants of their condo. Usually, the landlord of a condo is not on site.
On the other hand, property management companies own apartment complexes. All of the tenants who live in units within that complex will pay rent to a property manager, who will be on site most of the time. Unlike a condo, all of the tenants in an apartment complex also follow the same rules.
In a condo, either you or the landlord could be responsible for maintenance, depending on your lease. If your landlord is responsible for maintenance, they probably have a maintenance provider who they will call in when you have issues. One thing to keep in mind is that since the landlord of a condo is not often on site, you may have to wait longer for maintenance.
In an apartment, however, maintenance is usually free. There is often a maintenance staff in the building all day. You have only to put in a request (typically done online), and someone will come and see to the problem. This is one key difference between condos and apartments.
Because individual people own condos, they will typically have a more personal feel than an apartment does. This also often means that it will be updated more regularly than an apartment unit is and a condo will probably be kept more nicely. After all, the person who owns it will likely want to keep it well. A condo’s appliances, flooring, color scheme, and other such qualities will likely be more modern than an apartment’s. Each condo in a residential building will vary considerably from one to the next.
In an apartment complex, the units will be identical. The quality of their appliances and upkeep will probably be roughly the same from unit to unit. It will all depend on the building as a whole and the skills of the property manager. The only difference between units could be that some units will be more updated than others.
Of course, amenities will depend on the area that you live in, the quality of the residential building you choose, and how much you are willing to pay. This is true for apartments and condos both. The difference between the two is how these amenities are maintained. In a condo, the HOA will maintain common areas such as gyms, pools, and parking garages. If you are a tenant, you will pay fees to the HOA for this purpose, alongside your rent and utilities.
In an apartment building, your rent will have basic amenities included. The property management company which owns the complex is careful to maintain these amenities. However, these probably won’t include the more luxurious amenities of many condos. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. As we’ve said, amenities depend more on the area you live in and what you’re willing to pay than the type of residence.
What About Rent?
You’re probably wondering if rent is one of the differences between condos and apartments. You might be curious about whether a condo costs more to rent, considering what you may have heard about their more luxurious amenities. Usually, the cost of renting is the same between an apartment and a condo. Like the amenities, the cost of renting will depend on the area you’re living in. It’s in the best interests of both property management companies and condo landlords to keep rent competitive.
We hope that this brief overview helped you understand what a condo is and what the differences are between condos and apartments. It can be confusing at first, but understanding these differences will help you to make an informed decision. So go out there and find the ideal rental for you.
Check out our great posts on Dwellsy's blog.
Looking for a new home? Start your rental search on Dwellsy.