Should I Buy A Luxury Home or Luxury Condo?
Buying real estate can be challenging enough, but when you’re a luxury real estate buyer, the choices can be daunting and overwhelming. The first places to start is often deciding whether to buy a luxury house or luxury condo. Both have advantages and disadvantages. In the world of luxury real estate, the sky is the limit… literally. High-rise luxury condominium complexes are available in most of the world’s major markets like Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans luxury developments, and many other major metropolitan cities.
What Defines Luxury Homes?
Luxury homes come in all shapes and sizes; they aren’t all just mansions. Some of them are even smaller than your average family home. The thing that separates luxury housing from a regular home may not be immediately obvious, although many times you’ll notice differences right away. Luxury can have many features. Luxury can be a priceless view. It can be a location that only the rich can afford. It can be having wealthy neighbors to rub shoulders with, or it can be privacy from all those other rich snobs that you hate to bother with. It can be lakefront estates, river front homes, or any other exclusive waterfront properties. It can be all those fancy things that people typically expect, like wrought-iron gates, high concrete fences, marble, granite, and those fancy gold fixtures that your maid has to polish every day to keep free of fingerprints. Luxury can even be a name like Toll Brothers, Fratantoni, or even Trump. Luxury can be many things, but just as the saying goes for beauty, luxury is in the eye of the beholder too.
Luxury Homes or Luxury Condos?
So once you’ve decided where you want your luxury accommodation to be located, we can next break it down to the choice between a luxury single family house, or a luxury condominium. On the surface, the differences may seem simple, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the differences may not be quite as apparent.
For the most part, the differences between a luxury condo and a luxury home boil down to two things: shared community property, and proximity to neighbors. Condos often come with a known set of amenities and features that single family homes don’t. Inversely, single family luxury homes are different from condos in many ways too. But the waters can get muddy. For example, usually, condos have rules and regulations that all owners must follow. Condos are almost always governed by a homeowner’s association (HOA) that sets rules for all residents to follow. In the world of luxury, HOA managers may choose to fancy up their name to balance out their high price tag by calling themselves a “Corporate Body”, “Commonhold”, “Strata Council”, or just simply a “Condominium Association”. Whatever they call themselves, they are basically an organization of (usually elected) owners who set up rules and regulations for all occupants to follow. At the end of the day, they’re all just Homeowner’s Associations and can be both beneficial and aggravating to individual owners. Now, as I mentioned before about muddy waters, luxury single family homes can also be located in tracts or subdivisions governed by a homeowner’s association. So you can’t say that either is immune to having someone else tell you what you can or can’t do with your luxury residence.
Condos are also known to have shared “common use areas”, which are places in the condo community that everyone has access to equally. Grounds, common hallways, staircases, clubhouses, gyms, pools, etc., are just a few examples of shared common areas. These areas are usually maintained by the HOA and are not the responsibility of the individual owner or occupant. If you live in a luxury condo, someone else usually maintains all the common areas, including landscaping, building exteriors, roofs, pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, waterfront docks, or whatever else it may be that the community offers as part of the big package.
Another major difference between a luxury condo and a luxury home is that, in a condo, you usually only own “air space” between your four walls, so to speak. Depending on the community rules and regulations, frequently referred to as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&R’s for short, you may own the airspace just to the surface of the paint on the walls. In other cases, you may own some or all of your interior drywall. But in nearly all cases, you don’t own much more than that. In contrast, when we’re talking about a home, you not only own the entire building itself, you also own the ground it’s built on. For the luxury condo owner, the downside to not owning the interior wall-space is that you may have shared plumbing or electrical works that connect your unit with your neighbor. But the upside to that is, if there’s a plumbing leak, it may be the HOA’s responsibility to pay for the repair… but it’s always your responsibility to fix any interior damage to the residence or personal belongings.
As a luxury home owner, as the saying goes, the buck stops with you. There aren’t any shared or common areas. There aren’t association employees who will fix the leak in the wall at no expense to you. As the luxury property owner, you own it all, and you pay for it all. If it breaks, you fix it. If something has to be done, you do it. But of course, let’s not disregard the fact that if you can afford luxury real estate, paying for work may not be your biggest problem. It might even be an advantage. There’s nothing worse than having something break in the middle of the night on a four-day holiday weekend only to find yourself unable to reach the on-call maintenance person. When you own it all, you call all the shots. If the plumber can’t make it, just call someone else. Or, if you’re really part of the top percent of people who can truly afford luxury real estate, cost is not a factor, and you may already have someone hired to maintain of the property for you. That means, if you really are a true luxury home owner, well… all you have to do is simply keep living your life in luxury.