Are condos easier to manage and less time consuming as an investment property?

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Question:

I'm looking to buy an investment property that won’t require much of my time. I've heard that condos require less time to manage than single-family homes. Is that really true?

Answer:

If you are considering buying a condo with access to a property management company that handles leasing and maintenance issues, then yes, your condo should be easier to manage than a single-family home where you have no one to help manage it but yourself. If your condo unit is “attached,” meaning it’s part of a larger building where several condos are managed, it is more likely there is a property manager who will handle many of the repair and maintenance issues encountered in home ownership – heating/air conditioning failures, roof looks, and exterior painting, to name a few.

Whether your condo is “attached” or “detached,” there are a few things you should reasonably expect to worry less about than when managing a single-family home:

  • Landscaping and lawn care. Generally speaking, a condo association managing the landscaping assures that the appearance of your street will remain attractive, and that it will be easier to retain, if not increase, the value of your property over time.
  • Snow removal. When a condo association hires a snow removal company, it is typically a reputable one that will remove snow at the condo properties early and often. Good snow removal companies want the high volume business a condo opportunity offers and they will not want to risk losing it by being late to jobs.
  • Trash removal and cleanliness. You should also be able to expect consistent trash removal services and a clean neighborhood or building, without having to worry about calling someone; however, this is always the quickest condo association duty to go downhill and may require occasional calls from condo owners to improve performance.

Keep in mind that a condo association that uses a property management company will also likely charge higher condo fees, which may not be worth it if you want a low-maintenance investment. It may also not be a wise financial investment for you either, but that’s another issue. See the article Is That Residential Real Estate Investment Property Worth It? for more on the topic.

Also, there’s more to managing a condo than maintenance and repairs. See the related Q&A on Condo Maintenance for more information.

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