If you’re planning a move to Costa Rica, you’re probably looking into different living options (if you’re not—you should be!). While there are all kinds of living arrangements to be had in Costa Rica, the two most common living options are condos and traditional houses. You can buy or rent either of these housing options, and houses and condos are available in a wide range of prices, making either option doable for most people. Condo living and home living are not the same, however; each option has its pros and its cons, and it’s important to carefully consider them as you make a decision about where and how you wish to live.
Not Your Standard Condo
First of all, it’s important to understand that the condos in Costa Rica aren’t really the same as the condos in the United States. United States condos are often just glorified apartments, but in Costa Rica, most condos are housed in upscale gated communities. In fact, some Costa Rican condos would be better described, by American standards, as townhomes. There are also high-rise condos in certain parts of Costa Rica, and most condo communities are managed by homeowners’ associations. Understanding that the Costa Rican idea of a condo and the American idea are somewhat different will help you to know what to expect as you explore your options and will help keep you from making an uninformed (and disappointing) choice.
The Pros of Condo Living
If you do choose to buy or rent a condo in Costa Rica, you’ll quickly find that your choice comes with many advantages. To begin with, your condo will more than likely be nestled inside of a gated community, and most of these communities feature real or automated security that monitors who enters the community. These security features greatly increase your safety, your condo’s safety, and most important of all, your peace of mind. As an added bonus, most condo communities feature several amenities for all residents to enjoy, such as swimming pools, clubhouses, play areas for the kids, fitness centers, walking trails, and more. How much your condo will cost will depend on several different factors, such as size and location, but often, condo rentals or purchases are cheaper than home rentals or purchases.
The Cons of Condo Living
One downside to condo living is that you usually won’t be in complete control of your unit and what goes on there. Obviously, if you’re renting your condo, you’re going to be subject to the rules and regulations of the property owner. Even if you buy your condo, you will usually have to pay attention to the regulations put in place by the homeowner’s association that manages your condo. The rules put in place by leasing offices and homeowners’ associations are usually not very restrictive; they simply make life easier for everyone who lives in the complex, but some people do not like having any restrictions on how they live and what their homes look like. Some will not enjoy having neighbors so close by, and others will feel pressured, instead of pleased, by all the opportunities for socialization that condo living offers.
The Pros of Living in a House
When you choose to live in a house, you’ll have a lot more choices in terms of style and location than you would with condos. You can choose a home that’s right in the middle of a neighborhood, for example, or one that’s on the outskirts of town and away from others; the choice is yours! Homes are also much more spacious than condos, giving you a lot of room to move around and to store your belongings. Some people love living in houses and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
The Cons of Living in a House
When you choose to purchase or rent a home, you can usually expect to spend more money than you would if you rented or bought a condo. In addition to the high prices of actually renting or purchasing a house, you’ll have to spend more to furnish and decorate your home and on certain repairs as well, simply because a house is larger than a condo.
A Note About Renting Vs. Buying
It’s important to note that, when you rent a home or a condo, someone else will be responsible for the general maintenance, the upkeep, and for any necessary repairs. When you buy a condo or a home, however, you are responsible for upkeep and repairs. If you can’t handle the added expense or if you simply don’t want to be bothered with the work of maintaining your dwelling space, then condo living is probably for you. Really, though, there are both advantages and disadvantages to either option, and you simply have to choose the one that’s right for you.