The debate over whether to buy a condo or a home is a perennial one. Both types of properties have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately comes down to personal preferences and circumstances.

One of the key questions that often comes up in this debate is whether condos are harder to sell than homes. Some people believe that condos are less desirable to buyers, while others argue that condos can actually be easier to sell than houses.

In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument and examine the various factors that can influence the resale value of condos and homes. By the end of this article, you will be better informed to make a decision that suits your individual needs and goals.

Understanding the Differences between Condos and Homes

To understand why condos might be harder to sell than homes, it’s important to first understand the differences between the two types of properties.

A house is a standalone dwelling that is typically situated on its own plot of land. The owner of a house is responsible for maintaining both the interior and exterior of the property, including the landscaping and any outbuildings such as sheds or garages. Houses offer greater privacy and more outdoor space, and may be more suitable for families or those who value independence and autonomy.

In contrast, a condo (short for condominium) is a type of housing where individual units are sold to owners, but the building and surrounding property are owned and maintained collectively by a homeowners’ association (HOA). Owners of a condo are responsible for maintaining the interior of their unit, but the HOA is responsible for maintaining the common areas such as hallways, elevators, and parking lots. Condos often offer amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and shared community spaces. They may be more suitable for those who value convenience, amenities, and a more communal living experience.

The differences between condos and homes can also extend to their locations. Condos are often found in urban areas where land is scarce and prices are high, while homes are more common in suburban or rural areas where land is more abundant. This can influence the types of buyers that are interested in each type of property, as well as the prices that sellers can command.

Understanding these differences is important when considering the potential resale value of condos and homes, as they can influence buyer preferences and demand. However, it’s important to note that these are generalizations and that each property and buyer is unique.

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Factors that Affect the Resale Value of Condos and Homes

There are a number of factors that can influence the resale value of both condos and homes. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Location: Location is one of the most important factors in determining the resale value of any property. Properties that are located in desirable areas, with good schools, access to amenities, and low crime rates, are likely to command a higher price than those in less desirable areas.
  2. Size and layout: The size and layout of a property can also influence its resale value. Homes or condos with more square footage and a more functional layout are likely to be more appealing to buyers than smaller or poorly designed properties.
  3. Age and condition: The age and condition of a property can also affect its resale value. Homes or condos that are newer or have been well-maintained are likely to be more attractive to buyers than older or poorly maintained properties.
  4. Upgrades and renovations: Properties that have been upgraded or renovated are likely to command a higher price than those that have not. Upgrades such as new appliances, flooring, or countertops can help to increase the value of a property.
  5. Amenities and features: The amenities and features that a property offers can also impact its resale value. Condos with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, or concierge services are likely to be more attractive to buyers than those without.
  6. Market conditions: The overall state of the housing market can also influence the resale value of properties. In a seller’s market, where demand is high and supply is low, properties are likely to command a higher price than in a buyer’s market, where supply is high and demand is low.
Factors that Affect the Resale Value of Condos and Homes

By taking these factors into account, both buyers and sellers can better understand the potential resale value of condos and homes, and make informed decisions about buying, selling, and investing in real estate.

Why Condos Can Be Harder to Sell than Homes

While condos can be a great investment for some buyers, they can also be harder to sell than homes for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that condos often have a homeowners’ association (HOA) fee, which can make them more expensive to own than a comparable home. This additional cost can be a deterrent for some buyers who may prefer to invest in a more traditional single-family home without the additional fees.

Another factor that can make condos harder to sell is the lack of privacy and space that they offer. With shared walls and common areas, condos can feel less private than a standalone home. Additionally, condos often have less outdoor space than homes, which can be a drawback for buyers who enjoy spending time outside.

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In some cases, the building or complex in which the condo is located can also impact its resale value. If the building is poorly maintained or has a reputation for being noisy or unsafe, this can make it more difficult to sell a condo in that complex.

Finally, condos may be subject to more stringent regulations and restrictions than homes. For example, some condo associations may restrict or prohibit certain types of renovations or modifications to individual units, which can limit a buyer’s ability to customize their living space. These regulations can make condos less appealing to some buyers, particularly those who are looking for a more flexible living situation.

Overall, while there are certainly many benefits to owning a condo, the additional fees, lack of privacy, and potential restrictions can make them harder to sell than a traditional home. It’s important for buyers to carefully consider their options and weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

Case Study: Examples of Condos that Have Struggled to Sell

Here are some examples of condos that have struggled to sell:

  1. Trump Tower in Chicago: Trump Tower is a luxury high-rise condo building in Chicago that has been facing challenges in recent years. In 2020, the building saw a 34% decline in sales compared to the previous year, and it has been struggling to attract buyers due to its association with former President Donald Trump.
  2. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco: The Millennium Tower is a luxury condo building in San Francisco that has been plagued by structural issues since it opened in 2008. The building has sunk 18 inches and tilted 14 inches, causing cracks in the walls and windows. As a result, the building has struggled to attract buyers, and some owners have filed lawsuits against the developers.
  3. The Aqua Tower in Chicago: The Aqua Tower is a mixed-use condo and hotel building in Chicago that has faced challenges in selling its residential units. The building was completed in 2009, just as the housing market was crashing, and it struggled to attract buyers. In 2013, the developer had to offer discounts of up to 35% on some units in order to sell them.
  4. The Metropolis Tower in Los Angeles: The Metropolis Tower is a luxury condo building in downtown Los Angeles that has struggled to sell its units due to oversupply in the market. The building was completed in 2018, just as several other high-rise condo buildings were also being completed in the area. As a result, the market became saturated, and the Metropolis Tower has had to offer incentives such as reduced down payments and free upgrades to attract buyers.
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These examples illustrate some of the challenges that can face condos in the real estate market, including oversupply, structural issues, and negative associations with developers or former owners. However, it’s worth noting that these challenges are not unique to condos and can also affect homes and other types of properties.

Strategies for Selling Your Condo

If you’re looking to sell your condo, here are some tips and best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Work with a real estate agent who specializes in condos: A knowledgeable agent can help you price your property correctly, market it effectively, and navigate the complexities of the condo market.
  2. Highlight your condo’s unique features and amenities: Whether it’s a great view, a high-end kitchen, or a luxurious pool, make sure to showcase what makes your condo special.
  3. Address any maintenance or repair issues: If there are any outstanding maintenance or repair issues with your condo, it’s important to address them before listing the property for sale. A potential buyer may be hesitant to purchase a property with unresolved issues.
  4. Consider staging your condo: Staging your condo can help potential buyers envision themselves living in the space. This may involve decluttering, rearranging furniture, and adding decorative touches.
  5. Be prepared to provide information on the condo association: Prospective buyers will likely want to know about the condo association’s rules and fees, so be prepared to provide this information.
  6. Price your condo competitively: In a competitive market, pricing your condo too high can deter potential buyers. Work with your agent to determine a realistic and competitive price for your property.
  7. Be flexible with showings: It’s important to be flexible with showings and allow potential buyers to see your condo at times that are convenient for them.
  8. Utilize online marketing: In today’s digital age, online marketing is crucial for selling a property. Make sure your listing is featured on major real estate websites and utilize social media to reach potential buyers.
Strategies for Selling Your Condo

By following these strategies, you can increase your chances of selling your condo quickly and at a fair price. Remember to work closely with your real estate agent and be patient during the selling process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while condos can offer many advantages over traditional homes, they can also be harder to sell due to factors such as higher costs, less privacy, and potential restrictions on modifications. On the other hand, homes may offer more space and flexibility, but they also come with higher maintenance costs and the responsibility of managing one’s own property.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to buy a condo or a home depends on an individual’s unique needs, preferences, and budget. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each option and considering the factors that affect resale value, homebuyers can make informed decisions and choose the property that best meets their current and future needs.

About the author 

Eric Lee

Eric, Co-Founder of REIInsiders, brings extensive real estate investing expertise and a finance background to drive growth and oversee marketing and business development efforts.

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