I love home ownership. I own a townhouse in San Dimas, Ca. and one in Huntington Beach, Ca. A townhouse is sooo great. They do have associations, but, those associations do so much to keep these neighborhoods beautiful. My father wants to sell his house and by a condo because it is such an easy and carefree way of life. All you have to do is come and go. They do the painting. They do the gardening. They do the repairs on the driveways and sidewalks and pools. They do the watering. They do the pesticide spraying. They do the cleaning of the pipe lines. They even go around door to door and varnish the doors. They replace the lightposts and the porch lights when needed. They repair the roofs when needed. I have a home warranty that covers everything that can go wrong inside the house such as plumbing, electrical, appliances, and a/c and heater. I pay $22 a month for that coverage and I pay a $50 fee for any house call. If they can't fix it, they replace it at their expense. Seriously, I never have to do anything. The most difficult part of my homeownership right now is that I have to replace a screen on my dining room window. The association can be strict but they keep the place beautiful. The one at the beach has a lot of lawsuits because there are a lot of renters. That can cause problems. My animals all live in the San Dimas house and there's a one pet per household rule in the CC&R's, but seriously, NO one follows that rule. I keep my animals out of everybody's way and nobody puts up a fuss. The monthly dues are way less than what it would cost to maintain a single family home. A townhouse is a great first home. Then move up to a single family home if you think you're ready to take on all the responsibility. Single family homes are wonderful too, they're just more work. If you decide to look into buying and you happen to look at condos, the first question you ask is "does this association have now, or has it previously had any lawsuits". If there's legal action going on, PASS.
i would prefer to own. we recently just moved, and we had a very hard time finding a place that would allow us to bring our family of 10 animals with us. most places didn't have a problem with 8 of the 10, but as soon as we told them we had a rottweiler and a pit bull, they turned us down! so i would definetly say i would rather own, then no one can tell me what i can and can't have!