Looking for the next place to hang your hat, but don’t know the difference between a condo and an apartment?

The main difference between a condo and an apartment is ownership. Condos are usually managed by a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), but each individual unit has a separate owner. You have the option to purchase a condo, as you would a house. If you choose to rent a condo, your landlord would be the owner of the unit.

On the other hand, individual apartment units cannot be purchased. Instead, apartments typically have one owner, most likely a corporation, and are leased to individual tenants. So your landlord would be a management company.

Rent for an apartment is a fixed amount for the extent of the lease and can increase when it’s time for you to renew. Some apartments offer month-to-month or short-term leases, but the contracts are usually for a year. Payments for an apartment depend on the market rate and unit availability. Also, some apartments will require you to have renter’s insurance. Utilities are often not included in your rent, so that would be an additional cost.

If you are renting a condo, your payments will also be a fixed amount for the rental period unless your agreement states otherwise. Rental payments for a condo are decided by the landlord. Some owners include HOA fees and utilities as part of the rent for a flat fee rather than based on usage, which is found with most apartments.

Units in apartment complexes have pretty standard features that are the same across the community. Sometimes there are different floor plans available and options for standard or upgraded appliances if the landlord is investing in the property.

Amenities can include free parking, an on-site laundry facility, pool, gym, community room available to rent for events, a business office, a park, playground, car wash and other conveniences that make a property appealing. The more luxury the apartment, the wider the range of available niceties.

Condo community amenities are pretty much the same found in an apartment complex. Inside the units, the features are sometimes more unique and upscale (granite countertops, hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings) than apartments because quality amenities can create higher property value for the owners.

One key difference is that you are not allowed to renovate an apartment and usually cannot make renovations to a rental condo unless the owner gives you permission.