How buying a condo may carry the same mortgage payment as a single family home

If you’re debating between purchasing a condominium unit versus a single-family home, there are several factors to consider. You’ll want to evaluate the monthly mortgage payment, market conditions, and whether you can handle the mortgage payment affordably.

Typically, condominium units are less expensive than single-family homes, sometimes by as much as $100,000 or more. However, this can vary depending on the market. For example, let’s say you’re interested in a condo in Sonoma County, California, with a purchase price of $450,000 and a homeowner’s association payment of $400 per month. The total monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, any applicable PMI, and the homeowner’s association payment, could be around $3,500 per month.

In comparison, let’s say the average priced home in the same market is $575,000. Surprisingly, the mortgage payment for the house might be the same as it would be for the condominium unit due to the homeowner’s association payment. The $400 per month in the homeowner’s association payment translates to about $100,000 of purchasing power, which can make the payments for both the condo and single-family homes similar. However, this relationship may not hold in other markets.

One benefit of purchasing a single-family home is that you don’t have a homeowner’s association payment, but the purchase price of the property will be higher. Additionally, single-family homes require upkeep, such as roof repairs and landscaping, whereas condominiums typically have little to no maintenance, which is all covered in the homeowner’s association fee that every owner pays for the benefit of the entire project.

It’s generally easier to qualify for a single-family home, especially if your credit score needs work. Condos often prefer higher credit scores, and they also have more risk to a bank due to the legal entity of the homeowner’s association. On the other hand, single-family homes allow you to make changes or upgrades without having to deal with any extra rules, and you can customize the property as you wish.

Overall, both single-family homes and condominiums can be good choices for home ownership. It’s essential to evaluate your payment and affordability options, as well as your income and overall financial situation, to determine the best choice for you.

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