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Written by: Rita Magallona

Ever wondered how an apartment differs from a condo? Both are popular in the city, especially among renters. Condos and apartments often have similar layouts and sizes. But which one should you choose? To help you decide, let’s look at the factors that set them apart from each other as well as the pros and cons of each housing option.

What is the difference between an apartment and a condo?

Basically, condos are owned, while apartments are rented.
To elaborate, condo units in a residential building are bought and owned by individual owners. These owners also collectively own the common areas in the building complex. Building management is the responsibility of the homeowners’ association while the maintenance of each unit interior is paid for by that unit’s owner.

On the other hand, all apartment units in a residential building are owned by a single owner, the landlord. In fact, the building itself is owned by the apartment owner. Each apartment unit is rented out to tenants, who all pay rent to the landlord who manages the maintenance of the building and, to the degree stated in the lease agreement, each apartment unit.

Here are other ways that they differ:

  • Apartment buildings usually do not offer facilities like a swimming pool, gym, or parking space, all of which are expected in new condominium developments.
  • Condo buildings can range from mid-rise to high-rise developments with elevators, while apartments tend to be low-rise structures and walk-ups.

Is it better to get a condo or an apartment?

Choosing between a condo and an apartment is a matter of choosing between owning or renting a residential unit. Here are other factors that may influence your decision:

1. Location

Condos are often built near business and commercial districts, making them ideal residences if you work in these districts. However, because of this proximity, their value would be considerably higher than if the condo building was located in the suburbs.

On the other hand, apartment buildings are harder to find in or near business and commercial districts. They are often located in more suburban residential areas. If you decide to rent an apartment while working in the commercial and business areas, you’ll have to factor in your commute to and from those areas.

2. Space and layout

In the 1980s and 1990s, condominium units were spacious residences, practically houses in buildings. Nowadays, condo spaces have shrunk considerably, fitting a 1-bedroom or even a 2-bedroom layout into what used to be considered studio-sized units.

On the other hand, apartment buildings, especially the older ones, have more space in each unit. These may be better options for you if the amount of living space is a major factor in your choice. However, new apartment buildings are taking their cue from recent condo launches and have also begun to offer smaller sizes.

3. Maintenance and improvements

Condo owners can do almost anything they want with their unit, within the bounds of the association rules. In the same vein, they are also responsible for any repairs that need to be done in their unit.

Apartment tenants have little say in what they can and cannot do with the unit simply because they don’t own it. But the good thing about this is any repairs caused by normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the landlord.

4. Security

Most, if not all condominium buildings have security guards posted at the front desk and key areas of the building complex. They also have CCTV systems, intercom setups, and other security measures to ensure the safety of the residents.

Apartment buildings have widely varying security systems in place. Some have a single guard at the front door, some have CCTVs, while others don’t have any of these measures. Some landlords would just give you a key to the main gate in addition to the ones to your apartment unit. If security is a factor for you, best to check with the landlord what security precautions he or she has in place.

5. Costs

Buying a condo is like buying any residential property where you have to pay for not only the purchase price but also the other fees involved in buying property. On top of that, you’ll have to pay the monthly association dues that pay for the maintenance and management of the common areas and the building as a whole. Of course, you’ll have to shoulder the maintenance costs of your condo unit.

Renting an apartment is more budget-friendly. You may have to pay for advance rent and a security deposit initially; but after that, it’s just the rent and the utilities. However, some landlords charge “miscellaneous fees” if they have janitorial and security staff.


What are the benefits of renting a condo?

Renting a condo unit from the owner is like having the best of both these residential options. As a tenant, you could enjoy the full benefits of a condo owner in terms of using the facilities and having security measures where you live. On top of that, maintenance is the responsibility of the unit owner.

However, there are drawbacks. Usually, when you rent a condo, not only will you need to pay the rent, but you will also have to pay for the association dues. And, like renting an apartment, you have no power to make improvements or renovations in the unit.

Choosing between a condo and an apartment depends on what you’re looking for in a home. Determine first what you need and then go with the option that fits your budget and matches your desired lifestyle.

Ohmyhome was launched in the Philippines in September 2020, following the company’s establishment of a tech team in the country in 2017. Ohmyhome was originally founded in 2016, and subsequently rose in Singapore as a leading PropTech solution and licensed real estate agency.

Ohmyhome expanded into the Philippines so that Filipino home seekers can have a real estate partner that they can trust to have their best interests at heart and can be relied upon to provide exceptional services throughout the entire property journey.

Featuring thousands of properties across many of the Philippines’ major real estate brands, Ohmyhome differs from other local platforms by going the extra mile and extensively helping buyers narrow down the choices and find the property that best suits their budgets, home needs, and lifestyle preferences.

The company’s Real Estate Agents not only help in the shortlisting of options, but also provide professional services through the entire purchasing process. These include assistance in property inspections, negotiations, the finalization of the Conditions of Sale, deposit collection, the submission of property documents, as well as providing buyers regular updates.

Ohmyhome helps Filipinos find their dream homes, all while making sure each real estate transaction is complete and is an efficient and enjoyable experience.

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