Whether you are looking to buy or rent, it’s important to know the difference between a condo and an apartment. Many use the terms interchangeably, but our experts are here to prevent you from settling in the wrong type of residence and missing out on amenities and having to adhere to rules that may not be necessary in this condos vs apartment guide.
Condo vs Apartment
What is a Condo?
A condo, short for a condominium, is a privately-owned residence. The individual who owns it may live in it or rent it out to a potential renter. A condo is typically a unit within a community or individual building.
The key to understanding the main difference between the two is who owns it. A condo is privately owned and for those renting, the process is more personal and typically consists of 1-on-1 dealings between the renter and the owner.
That being said, the next question is what are the advantages and drawbacks when you rent a condo.
A condo project in Toronto typically comes with amenities and common areas in the building all residences can use. There are also less responsibilities associated with maintenance and repair, and that’s because there are maintenance fees included with the monthly rent (if you are renting) that covers these costs.
A condo owner may experience better security features that come with the building such as security cameras and a concierge service if included. Also, condo owners who get along well with their neighbors can have peace of mind that their homes are safe when they are away.
For condo owners, you don’t have to answer to anyone and can voice your concerns with the homeowners association (HOA).
With luxurious condo amenities comes more payments such as HOA fees and utilities. This can be a significant drawback to the cost of renting or owning if you don’t take advantage of the facilities.
Because you don’t have repair and maintenance issues, you don’t get to decide what’s done in the condo buildings and when. This could cause inconveniences to your daily life that you may not have to deal with otherwise.
It can be wonderful to live in close proximity to your neighbors on the property, but it can also result in less privacy and more everyday noise. When buying or renting a condo you can choose which condo property you move into, but you cannot decide who moves into the surrounding units. Since you don’t get a say in unit ownership around you, you never know who you will have to deal with in your day-to-day living.
You get a say in what goes on in the community as a condo owner, but if you are outvoted, then restrictions on the allowance of pets, interior decorations, when facilities are available and more could be implemented against your will.
What is an Apartment?
An apartment unit can look very similar to a condo on the surface, but the real difference is in the written text. What we mean by this is the owner of an apartment is usually a property management company. You may have gotten a say in how your apartment looks and the furnishings, but apartment buildings don’t give you that freedom.
All the units in the building are uniform and there is one single owner. All the residents follow the same rules and everything is streamlined. If you have any qualms about the way things are owned and managed, you will have to deal with the landlord, which in this case is the property manager or leasing agents employed by the company.
Now onto the pros and cons of living in an apartment. First, you will be happy to know that you will be dealing with professionals, people who have extensive experience in property management and renting since it is owned and managed by a company.
If something is damaged or broken in your individual units, you won’t need to bear the costs on your own. All it takes is one phone call and you can expect the landlord to fix it right away.
Making payments for units in an apartment is also significantly easier as the real estate managers typically have an easy system set up. Lastly, the apartment facilities such as laundry rooms and large outdoor pools can be used by anyone. Some high end apartments can also include a doorman or concierge.
It all sounds great, but what are the downsides to renting apartments? Since it’s owned by one property management company, they make sure all the units are the same. This means you will have no say in the individual appliances and the blueprint. This also ties into the renovation and refurbishing of your unit.
There is no strata or HOA where you can vote on what’s allowed and what isn’t. Whatever the landlord says goes, which in this case is the property management company. What you like or dislike will not matter and you might have to make compromises when you don’t want to.
Differences Between a Condo and Apartment
Other than the primary difference of ownership between condos and apartments, there are also other disparities which include HOA fees and of course, the floor plans. Since there isn’t a homeowners association tied with renting apartments, you won’t have to pay HOA fees on this front. But of course, when you rent an apartment you will still be required to pay utilities.
If you are renting a condo or own one, then the HOA fees are your responsibility. You can pass them off to your renter and include them in their monthly cost of renting. Another primary difference between a condo and an apartment is customization. Every unit in an apartment building will look the same but you can have the freedom to personalize your condo.
Factors to Consider
Now our team will outline and compare different features in a condo vs apartment.
An apartment complex, no matter how big or small, is owned and managed by a property management company. A condo is a unit owned by an individual owner that is separate from all the other units. You can choose to rent or buy a condo, and when you rent a condo, you are renting directly from the landlord. If financing would be an issue, seeking the help of a good mortgage company in Toronto, like Spear Mortgage, would definitely help you out in getting your apartment or condo—whichever you pick.
2. Cost of Rent and Additional Fees
A big part of the consideration between renting an apartment vs a condo is the cost. What’s included in your rent when you rent real estate from both types of properties and what isn’t?
In general, renting an apartment will often cost you less than an apartment. The differences aren’t staggering, but in some cities, it’s enough to make you think twice about a condo.
A condo community will often come with many better facilities in comparison to apartments. Apartment amenities are often very standard like a parking space, and maybe a swimming pool or a gym. With a condominium rental even in Toronto, you will see many more options like a movie theater, bowling alley, or an outdoor entertainment space for parties.
The lease agreement for condos will usually outline a higher price due to HOA fees and added fees pertaining to concierge services and maybe amenities. The best thing about living and renting an apartment is all the fees necessary are usually included in the monthly rent.
When buying or renting property, the location matters. The geographical spot alone can drive up the prices significantly. This is another reason why condos are more expensive. They can usually find them in the heart of downtown or near a bustling hub. Apartments are different and are located further out.
As mentioned, a discrepancy between a condo and an apartment is the amenities. Condos will most likely feature more high-end and luxurious ones and apartments include standard facilities.
Condos and apartments also have different rules when it comes to maintenance. In a condo, the landlord or renter is responsible for the maintenance of their own units. In an apartment, the property manager will take care of your issues with a single call. Sometimes this type of maintenance comes at no cost to you.
However, in both apartments and condos, you might find more maintenance fees for amenities and public areas.
The HOA has all the control in condos, but the landlord and owners can usually contribute their opinions to influence the final ruling. In an apartment, you might find more lenient guidelines, it all just depends on who owns the building. The downside is you won’t get a say in the rules and won’t be allowed to alter the appearance of your apartment.
Which Is Better?
When it comes down to the comparison between the two, there really isn’t a definite answer for what’s better. In our expert opinion, if you want a say in how things are done, want the freedom to rent out your unit if you’re an owner, and desire customization, then a condo is best for you.
A condo is also more centrally located and the buildings and communities are often newer and more modern. However, all these perks come with higher fees, which is to be expected. For a long term investment, condos are also the way to go for potential owners.
If you aren’t picky about the location and overall look of the structure, and you crave ease and convenience, then an apartment is the better choice. Not to mention, apartments often feature lower prices.
(For related topic, we also have condo vs house comparison here)
Is a condo better than an apartment?
No, a condo is not better than an apartment. What’s better is dependent on your needs. A condo is often pricier to rent than an apartment, but you have more freedom and usually better amenities. However, an apartment comes with a lower cost and fewer responsibilities.
What is the difference between an apartment and a condo?
The difference between an apartment and a condo is the ownership. There are other differences but the primary one is who owns and manages the property. A condo is privately owned and an apartment is owned by a management company.
There are quite a lot of differences between a condo vs apartment, with the main one being the ownership rights. After our expert’s detailed guide, you should now have a clearer idea of which is right for you. For lower costs and less hassle, apartments have proved to be more worry-free while condos provide you with more freedom to decorate your unit and enjoy more state-of-the-art amenities.