Dave Ramsey Says These Are the Pros and Cons of Condo Ownership. Is He Right?

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Before buying a condo, you may want to check out this advice.

Key points

  • Condo ownership means purchasing a unit in a shared building.
  • You own your own condo unit, but the ownership of the rest of the building and grounds is shared.
  • Condos usually cost less than houses, but they also come with a lack of privacy.

If you are thinking about buying a property, you have a few options. Many people opt for single-family homes, which means they own the building they live in and the land around it. But others may choose condos instead.

Condos or condominiums allow you to own a unit within a shared building. You own the unit you live in, but ownership of the building it is in, the grounds, and the common areas are all shared. Typically, you pay dues for the maintenance and upkeep of the shared building while you get a mortgage to buy the unit that you call your own.

Owning a condo can be different from owning a single-family home, and there are some advantages and disadvantages to this type of property. Finance expert Dave Ramsey explained these pros and cons for those deciding whether a condo is right for them or not. Here’s what Ramsey had to say, along with some advice on whether you should listen to the guru’s opinion.

Ramsey says these are the biggest benefits of owning a condo

According to Ramsey, the biggest benefits of buying a condo include:

  • The opportunity to own your unit outright and rent it out if you’d like to
  • The lower costs of purchasing a condo compared to a single family home
  • The reduced maintenance
  • The fact that condos are often located in urban locations where you have close proximity to amenities

“You can actually pay off your condo and own it outright. That means no more monthly mortgage payments,” Ramsey explained.

While these can be advantages, there are some caveats. First, while you can pay off the unit and own it, you’re only going to own your own unit. There are always going to be ongoing costs associated with the shared space that you have to keep paying to the condo board or condo managers. In some cases, these costs can be much higher than the ongoing maintenance expenses you’d have if you just owned your own house — especially if your condo offers lots of amenities.

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Condos also are not always cheaper because, as Ramsey said, they tend to be in urban areas where the cost of living is higher. You may be able to get a single-family home for less than a condo if condos are only available in urban centers near where you live while single-family homes can be found on the outskirts where property in general is more affordable.

Ramsey says these are the biggest cons of condo ownership

As for the downsides of owning a condo, Ramsey cites:

  • The lack of privacy due to shared common areas
  • Ongoing maintenance fees
  • Limited location options
  • The fact that condos cost more than apartments

“An HOA means more money out of your pocket and more people in your business. You’ll always have those fees and rules hanging over your head — even after you pay off your condo.”

These are definitely accurate cons, especially Ramsey’s concerns about ongoing HOA fees. But while a condo is more expensive than an apartment, this isn’t necessarily a big con since your money is going to acquiring home equity as well as providing a place to live. Rent for an apartment, meanwhile, just goes to covering housing costs without you ever owning an asset.

Still, Ramsey is mostly right about the pros and cons of condo ownership. It’s worth listening to his advice when trying to decide if a condo is the right housing situation for you.

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