Condo, Apartment, Single-Family Home: Which Should You Rent?

About to start the search for the new home of your dreams? Or maybe you’ve already been looking through search results with a fine-tooth comb for a while. Either way, you’re probably overwhelmed by the number of listings available — as well as the price for some of them! To help narrow your search, it’s a good idea to know what type of rental property is best for you. Here, we’ll explain the differences between condos, apartments, and single-family homes, as well as some of the pros and cons of each.

Renting a Condo

Those considering renting a condo versus an apartment might scratch their heads a bit and wonder—what is the difference between a condo and an apartment? Well, it comes down to ownership. Condos are units in a larger community, they share walls with their neighbors, and enjoy the amenities offered by the building. The main difference between an apartment is that the condo is owned by an individual. Your unit may be owned by John, while your neighbor’s unit is owned by Sally.


  • You can form a more personal relationship with your private landlord.
  • Condo communities tend to have more perks and amenities than regular apartment buildings or single-family homes.
  • Your condo is more likely to have a unique design than a standard apartment, as owners tend to make improvements to their units to keep property values as high as possible.
  • Condos feature higher security than most apartment complexes and single-family homes, often featuring security guards, limited building access, and security cameras.


  • Because your landlord is an individual, you may not have the access to a 24/7 maintenance staff or an online rent payment portal.
  • With more perks and amenities, you will usually have to pay higher rent and a monthly HOA.
  • Condos tend to be more expensive than apartments and many single-family homes.
  • There is limited inventory and availability in many markets.
  • As condos are in more crowded buildings, there is less privacy and outdoor space than in a single-family home.

Who should rent a condo?

Condos tend to be located in urban locations, and are usually more expensive than apartments. As such, this type of rental property is great for young professionals and families who value living nearer city centers and place higher importance on security, amenities and uniquely designed spaces.


Similar to condos, apartments are residential units located in a community building. However, unlike condos, your unit and all the others in the community are owned by a single company. As with condos, there are many benefits of apartment living, but there are a few cons to consider, too.


  • You’ll likely have access to 24/7 maintenance and a convenient online payment portal.
  • Some apartments come either partially or fully furnished.
  • Apartments usually offer community amenities, such as fitness centers, pools, and dog parks.
  • Many apartment complexes have some security measures in places, such as gates, security cameras, and lighting.
  • Because the units in the community are owned by one company, apartments are usually less expensive than condos and don’t have the added expense of an HOA.
  • There is more availability and inventory to choose from in most markets.


  • While apartments provide many amenities, they may not be as luxurious as those found in condo communities.
  • Apartments are not known for being particularly unique, and your apartment’s design and floor plan will likely be very similar to that of your neighbors’.
  • Apartments have less security than is usually found in condo buildings.
  • There is less privacy and outdoor space than in a single-family home.

Who should rent an apartment?

Much like condos, apartments tend to be located in more urban locations. However, because apartments are more common, you’re more likely to find an apartment that fits your needs in both urban and suburban locations.

And as apartments are usually the least expensive rental option available, this type of rental property is great for a wide variety of individuals and families—from those who are budget conscious, to families who prefer to live in more residential areas with a moderate level of security.

Single-Family Home

If condos and apartments don’t sound like what you’re looking for, you might be wondering, “Should I rent a house?” If you do choose to rent a single-family home, there are a few key things to consider. As with a condo, single-family homes are usually owned by private landlords. However, in contrast to condos and apartments, which are usually more commonly found in urban and commercial areas, single-family homes are primarily in residential zip codes. With a house, you’re more likely to get a neighborhood feel, and you’ll definitely get more privacy and outdoor space than with a condo or apartment.


  • Because you don’t share walls or a ceiling with your neighbor, single-family homes tend to be less noisy and enjoy greater privacy.
  • Often located in residential areas with their own backyards, single-family homes offer more space to enjoy the great outdoors while staying on the property.
  • The rent is often lower than in condos or urban apartments, as most single-family homes are not inexpensive city centers.
  • Houses offer a wide variety of floor plans and often have more square footage than condos or apartments.


  • As with a condo, because your landlord is an individual, you may not have the access to a 24/7 maintenance staff or an online rent payment portal.
  • Most houses don’t offer community amenities, such as pools and fitness centers (although some communities do offer these!).
  • There tends to be less security in place than in condos and apartment buildings.
  • Some single-family homes might require you to pay an HOA.

Who should rent a single-family home?

Single-family homes are usually best for families who place a premium on a neighborhood feel, or individuals who prefer the peace and quiet of a more residential setting. The price range of single-family homes can vary greatly depending on where you’re looking, but many may boast a lower sticker price than condos and apartments in the heart of a city.

Ready to find a new place to live? Narrow down your options with ApartmentSearch‘s advanced search filters. We make it easy to find the amenities you’re looking for — like an in-unit washer and dryer — so you don’t have to waste time endlessly browsing listings.