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What is better to buy in the USA? Difference between house and apartment

How many people — so many kinds of real estate! Are you looking for a home and unsure whether to buy a house or an apartment? And what is the difference between house and apartment? Let’s figure it out!

Two main factors in choosing real estate are personal preferences and financial situation. Someone prefers an apartment in a condominium, while someone needs a spacious private house.

When buying a property, consider the following factors:

  • lending terms
  • mortgage payments
  • the age of the property
  • climate
  • location

Difference between house and apartment

A house is a separate building, not connected to other structures. An apartment is a separate unit within a residential complex. 

As Bankrate explains, ownership is the most significant difference between a condo and an apartment. An apartment refers to rented housing, usually in a large residential building. A condo apartment is similar in structure to an apartment — a unit within a larger flat building — but the apartment is owned, not rented out. The owner pays property tax for condos; Landlords, not tenants, pay property tax on apartments.

The condo owner creates equity, pays the homeowners association (HOA) monthly dues, and is responsible for all internal maintenance. The apartment tenant pays rent monthly, completes no equity, and relies on the landlord for maintenance.

Differences in types of housing

As a potential homeowner, it’s also essential to consider the property type before you start your search. What should you be looking for, a house or an apartment? If you buy a house, you are also purchasing the land that the house sits on. If you buy a flat, you only own the living space inside the apartment and some of the common parts of the building.

To compare two types of real estate, you need to analyze them according to several factors:


Mortgage payments for a house are usually higher than for a condo. In addition, maintenance of a private house and utility bills are also more expensive. The annual upkeep of a single-family home is typically around 1% of the home’s value or purchase price.

If you’re on a budget and are leaning towards buying a house, find out the actual cost of upkeep. The annual upkeep of a single-family home is typically around 1% of the home’s value or purchase price. For example, for a $400,000 home, you should pay about $4,000, or roughly $333 monthly, for maintenance.

Lenders usually allow borrowers to borrow larger amounts on houses than on flats. This is true because sometimes lenders include HOA condominium premiums when calculating your monthly mortgage payment. In other cases, creditors demand a larger down payment for an apartment in a high-rise building.

Be sure to check with your lender about your purchasing power for each scenario and type of purchase.


People allowed to work remotely have increasingly begun to leave megacities for suburbs and provinces. Demand for private homes has increased markedly since most apartments are located in cities, in high-rise condominiums.

Condos are most often within walking distance of downtown, offering residents easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, and bars.

You are much more likely to find a single-family home located on your own piece of land in the suburbs.


Young people who lead an active lifestyle used to choose big cities with their wide range of entertainment options. But the pandemic has changed a lot. The only entertainment available during the lockdown was picnics and walks in nature. When moving, it is important to focus on your lifestyle: a noisy city or a calm and secluded one.

Buyers who previously would have preferred to buy an apartment in the city for a short trip to work may now prefer a house in the suburbs since they no longer need to be near the centers of the business industry. What is more important to you – the convenience of city life or the spaciousness of a sparsely populated area?

Service charge and amenities

When buying a home, owners do not need to ask permission from the housing association to make household repairs. In the condo, this permission is required. Unless the homeowners association makes rules and regulations in your area, buying a home means you can do whatever you want with the whole property.

But the residents of the house need to monitor the local area since, as a rule, the appearance of a suburban street should be of a single standard.

Many condominiums provide residents with amenities such as a fitness center, swimming pool, lounge area, tennis courts, landscaping services, and more.

Family size

It is more convenient for a large family to stay in a house than an apartment, and a spacious yard will be an excellent playground for children’s games.


According to the US Census Bureau, condo prices in urban markets have risen by 15% over the past time. Single-family homes are now selling in the US, with a 23% increase over the last year.

Buying a house will be a more profitable investment because, after the improvement and modernization of the property, it will be possible to earn more than was previously financed. Flats are harder to sell.

Single-family homeowners can also expect to pay HOA fees for similar amenities, especially if they buy from a new development. 

Whether you’re buying a house or an apartment, keep these HOA-related considerations in mind:

  • HOA fees are paid in addition to the monthly mortgage payment, either annually, quarterly, or monthly
  • HOA fees can be expensive and can increase along with higher operating costs

Community decisions are made by the HOA board, representing homeowners’ interests. You may agree or disagree with some, all, or any of these decisions. In addition to HOA fees, there may be related rules and regulations regarding ownership.

Long term goals

If you want to increase the fair value of your home in the long run, then buying a home may be your best bet. Home upgrades and improvements can make a big difference to the selling price of a home.

What happens when you are ready to move and want to sell your house or condo? Condos are often harder to sell. First-time homebuyers, investors, and seniors are more interested in buying houses. It may be easier to sell a mansion due to the broader demographics of potential buyers.

Quick Comparison

Features of buying a house:

Here is a comparison summarizing the typical advantages and disadvantages of buying a home versus a US condo apartment. 

  • rapid growth in resale value
  • better investment growth
  • more freedom in repair and construction issues
  • more privacy and independence from neighbors
  • more space

Features of purchasing a condo apartment:

  • slow growth in resale value
  • higher fees for the homeowners association
  • higher profit in the rental market


As you can see, there is no universal solution here. It all depends on what you want from your future property. Live in a bustling city, build a career, and rarely go home — then a condo is more suitable for you. Planning a family, feeling free and responsible for making decisions – you better become a homeowner. To give you more time to focus on choosing your dream property, we recommend contacting a mortgage broker. While the specialist will deal with documents and mortgage processing, you will be able to understand what you want from your future home.

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