Whether you’re considering your first home purchase or a move from your current home, there are several options available. Choosing a single family house, a multifamily property, or a condominium all have pros and cons. As you begin hunting for the perfect dwelling, be open to the possibilities.
For many couples, a condo is a great “starter home” choice. If you don’t need a lot of square footage, and if you’re tired of apartment rental living, a condo provides the financial benefits of home ownership. Plus, you can paint and decorate inside just the way you want!
Condos can be one unit of a building or multifamily property and typically include amenities such as landscaping, snow removal, and exterior maintenance. Some condo communities even offer fitness, recreation, entertainment, and/or business facilities.
The same reasons that make condos a good fit for young, first-time homeowners also attract empty-nesters and anyone looking to downsize. If they don’t need the space for a growing family, and property maintenance like yard work and snow blowing have become too physically demanding, moving to a condo might be the right solution. An older couple can remain independent while they enjoy a certain level of being “taken care of.”
Still, there are drawbacks. Condos are run by condo associations, which make the decisions for the whole community about common areas, maintenance, and regulations related to living there. You may not always agree with those decisions, but you will be responsible for paying any fees associated with those choices. Also, be aware that condo fees may increase in the future.
Multifamily living is another option that many first-time homebuyers don’t consider. With a two- or three-family home, you could live in one unit and rent out the other one or two units. Think duplex, not apartment building. Depending on market conditions of rentals in the area and the overall cost of the home, investing in a rental property could potentially pay for your mortgage and eventually generate income for you.
The downsides are that you’d be sacrificing a bit of privacy living in such proximity to your neighbors, and you’ll have the added responsibilities of being a landlord. Having tenants means that you’ll be collecting rent, handling maintenance issues, and managing any violations of lease terms. You’ll also be responsible for covering the full mortgage and taxes of the entire property, even if you have a vacant unit or a tenant who isn’t paying his or her rent on time.
Single Family Situations
Many first-time house hunters imagine buying a traditional single family home, especially if they currently live in an apartment. Single family homes offer more privacy and space, often including a garage, as well as front and back yards. Depending on the housing market, a single-family house could have a more reliable resale value than condos and multifamily homes.
The disadvantage is that single family homeowners must shoulder the maintenance and financial responsibility of the house themselves. There is no renter to help pay the mortgage and taxes, and no condo association to cover the costs of maintenance or major repairs.
We’re Here to Help
No matter what type of home you’re looking for, Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Bridgewater Credit Union, a division of Merrimack Valley Credit Union, can get you started with affordable mortgage options. Let us help you find one that best fits your needs and budget: