Chicago Condo vs. Single Family Home: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to finding and investing in a Chicago condo or single-family home, there are several options available to home buyers, as it’s not a one-size-fits-all process – nor should it be.  Depending on your individual wants, needs, and lifestyle, each of your housing options comes with many pros and cons (according to the eyes of the buyer, of course).  So, let’s take a closer look at each investment to help you better determine which may be the best fit for you.


  • Less Expensive – Generally, it costs less to buy a condo vs. a detached home.  This is appealing to many buyers simply because a lower price means a lower down payment and monthly payment.  Of course, depending on the market you’re buying in, the location (city vs. suburbs), and the economic climate, purchase prices can and will vary.  
  • Amenities – Another element home buyers are drawn to in condo living is that many can be found with wonderful shared amenities.  From pools to on-site gyms, to parks, tennis courts, golf courses, walking trails and more, residents have constant access to amenities that are maintained by the community, and they don’t even have to leave the property to enjoy them.  
  • Lower Maintenance – One of the main reasons some buyers prefer the idea of condo living over a single-family home is that repairs and maintenance (at least on the exterior) are left up to the HOA and not the occupant.  This means no time spent on exhausting yard and grounds work, painting, cleaning gutters, shoveling snow, etc. While owners are responsible for the interior, everything from the front door on out is left to the HOA crew, which means that you have more free time and money to enjoy other activities.
  • Location – Condos are usually smaller in size compared to your average single-family home, and they’re also more densely packed together.  This means that they’re often built closer to desired activities, amenities, and even job opportunities, especially the closer you get to downtown.  Condo living is often suited for those looking for all of the excitement that comes with city living and means that you don’t have to commute far to enjoy all that the area has to offer.  
  • Community Connection – You often find that residents in traditional neighborhoods stay rather distant from one another and don’t know their neighbors.  But, those living in condominiums tend to form more social connections. After all, you’re sharing the grounds and often a wall or two with your neighbors.  This makes for more opportunity to form community bonds than what you might get in larger subdivisions. Plus, condos tend to attract people of similar lifestyle interests and backgrounds, making social networking more likely.

Single Family Homes

  • Land – When you own real estate, you own land.  This is something you can’t get with a condo.  But, with a detached home you own the property that the dwelling sits on.  While you are responsible for all maintenance of the property, this means that you can technically do whatever you want on your land.  For instance, you can fence in your property and build a pool in the backyard, start a large garden, install a fire pit to host parties around, etc.  Plus, having outdoor space is great for families with kids.
  • Room – Because you own the land your house sits on, this also means that you have room to grow.  As your family expands, perhaps your home needs to as well. And, as the owner, you can build add-ons and make structural changes as needed (according to local laws and regulations, of course).  Whether you want to knock down an interior wall to open up the space, add a sunroom, or just want to build a deck in the backyard, you have the freedom to do so.
  • Personalized Expression – For those who aren’t held to strict HOA rules, owning a single-family home means that you can ultimately make the home what you want.  Condos, on the other hand, enforce strict uniformity. With a house, you can paint it any color you like, lay intricate flowerbeds, install bird baths, design a funky mailbox, etc.  
  • Easier Resale – Single family homes are much easier to sell than condos.  This is because condos are often seen as “substitute” houses.  But, detached homes and their respective lots tend to be more liquid no matter the market you’re facing.  

There are many benefits to owning both condos and single-family homes.  Deciding which property is right for you really comes down to the lifestyle you live and the level of responsibility you want to take on.  Each is personalized in their own way, and only you will be able to say which best suits your current and future needs.


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