Apartments vs. Condos
Although “apartment” and “condo” are sometimes used interchangeably, there’s actually several important distinctions between the two. It’s helpful to know the difference when you’re searching for a place to live, so you can make a more informed decision!
What exactly is a condo?
For some, the term “condo” (short for “condominium”, in case you didn’t know!) just sounds like an apartment except somehow fancier. In some ways, this is true– but they’re more similar to apartments than you might think. They’re both housing that’s located in a building with lots of other units, not free-standing structures.
Often, a condominium is owned rather than rented, while the opposite is true for apartments. While you might rent a condo, it’s likely that you’re renting from the condo owner rather than a landlord or property management company who owns the whole building and all of the units within it.
Condos are also often part of a homeowner’s association or HOA, in which owners pay a yearly fee for the upkeep of the building and other shared amenities. That means that residents are responsible for keeping the premises looking nice– and since they don’t have to rely on a landlord, they’re often better-maintained than the average apartment building.
Condo complexes might also offer more amenities than apartment buildings do– like a shared pool or gym area. These areas are also maintained by the HOA.
What’s it like to rent a condo?
There can be a lot of similarities between renting a condo and an apartment. If you’re renting a condo, its owner will most likely require you to pay the monthly HOA fees. Depending on the amenities offered by the complex, these fees can get pretty pricey. They can cover upkeep of the building and amenities, but also services like utilities and trash pickup. This cost might be higher than the cost you’d be required to pay while renting an apartment and paying utility costs directly to the companies each month.
The cost of renting a condo is potentially higher, but it also means that you’re renting from an individual who is more motivated to keep things running properly and looking great. Property managers for apartments unfortunately often skimp on maintenance and repairs, even if it’s at the detriment of residents. A condo, particularly one where you’re paying an HOA, might be more likely to receive necessary repairs and maintenance within a reasonable timeframe.
Of course, hands-off condo owners exist, too– just like any rental process, you’ll have to feel it out and take a look around the building to get an idea of maintenance and upkeep.
What’s it like to rent an apartment?
Because apartment buildings are typically owned by a property management company or landlord, conditions might be a little different. Since the landlord owns multiple units, you’ll probably have a less-personal relationship with your landlord– you’re one of many tenants they have to interact with on a regular basis.
Apartments, particularly those owned by property management companies, often have a maintenance system set up. You’ll most likely be able to put in a maintenance ticket on the management company’s website, scheduling a time for someone to come out and address the issue you’re having. This greatly depends on the quality of the company you’re dealing with, though– some landlords simply don’t care about maintenance. It helps to read reviews of the building you’re looking at prior to signing anything.
Ultimately, the most important distinction between renting a condo versus an apartment comes down to the landlord or property management company. It helps to find someone who has good reviews and seems to be a hands-on and attentive person to rent from. Condos typically are more expensive and better-maintained, while apartments are cheaper but more plentiful.
Whether you decide you’d like to rent an apartment or condo, furnished or unfurnished, and located anywhere in the Little Rock area, Apartment Hunters is here to put you in touch with the perfect rental for your needs. Just give us a call at 501-219-2787 or send us a message, and we’ll start hunting right away!