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Should you get an ‘apartment’ or ‘condo’ both in a building …what was the difference?

When you are looking for housing near UT, sometimes you will see signs or ads listing ‘Apartments’ for lease and other times you see ‘Condos’ for rent. Are the terms interchangeable?  Does it matter if it’s called a condo or apartment? If there is a difference which one is right for me?

From the outside apartments and condos may look very similar.  Just a big building with a lot of windows… Although the differences between the two may seem subtle, they do exist.  

Apartments

apartment,pic

  Apartments are buildings with 5 or more units that have one single owner and manager.  In many cases the apartment complex will have an on site office for the apartment manager.

You may see a bunch of new recently constructed buildings and many buildings still under construction scattered throughout West Campus.  For the most part these are ‘Apartments’ and not ‘Condos’.  Many of the Apartments near UT are new construction (Built after 2000).

The apartment units within a building are pretty consistent in style and quality from unit to unit.  Because of this, these apartment managers may choose to show you a model apartment or a 3D rendering of a unit to help you make your decision.  In most cases you will not see your actual unit before you move in.  West Campus apartments stay full all year around, so you will rarely have a chance to see a vacant unit unless it is designated as a model.

These newer apartments have some other unique features:

  • Free internet

  • Free cable

  • Individual Leases

 Parking is usually tight in these buildings.  They generally charge an additional fee for each parking space – from $50 to $125 per month.

 

Condos

condo,pic

Condos are individually owned units.  For example a complex may have 30 units, but each of the 30 units has a different owner.  Since there are different owners for each, the various units may also be managed by different property management companies.  Because of the multiple owners, there is not as much consistency from one unit to the next like you would see in an apartment complex.

West campus condominiums also stay full year around, but since they are individually owned there is no model that will give an accurate enough presentation of what an individual condo unit will look like, so you will have to see the actual unit that you are leasing whether or not it is occupied at the time.

In most cases you will see an occupied unit that is available for pre lease.  The bad part about this is that the current tenants will have all of their own stuff throughout the unit and it may be hard to envision your own furniture and belongings in the space once you move in.

The good part is that you will see your actual unit.  You will see exactly how it is laid out.  You will see how much sunlight it gets.  You will be able to hear if it is well insulated from outdoor noise.

Most of the west campus condominiums are older (built in the mid 1980s).  Many people like the more vintage look as compared to the sterile looking concrete buildings that typify a recently constructed apartment.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the older construction condo is the price.  The older condos average about $200 less in rent per person each month than the newly constructed apartments!

Another pricing plus is that the parking is included for free with the west campus condominiums.  This can save you about $100 per month if you have a car with you.

These condos usually do not provide the free internet.  However, the lower rent is generally more than enough to cover the cost of internet and cable while still saving you a ton of money each semester!

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