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The Differences Between Condos and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)

Updated: Feb 7


In the realm of real estate, potential homebuyers are often faced with a bunch of choices, each presenting its unique set of advantages and considerations. Two popular options for smaller family sizes are condominiums (condos) and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). While both offer distinctive lifestyles, understanding the differences between these housing types is crucial for making an informed decision on buying the property. It's also important for realtor's who are starting out to learn the key differences as well, to be able to educate their homebuyer's. Whether you're in Orange County CA or any other county, we will explore the key differentiators between condos and PUDs, helping you navigate the housing market with confidence.


1. Ownership Structure:

One fundamental distinction between condos and PUDs lies in the ownership structure.

  • Condos: When you purchase a condominium, you own the interior space of your unit. The common areas, such as hallways, elevators, and amenities like swimming pools or fitness centers, are collectively owned by all unit owners through a homeowners association (HOA).

  • PUDs: In contrast, buying a property in a PUD grants you ownership not only of the dwelling but also the land it sits on. PUDs often resemble traditional single-family homes, and residents typically have more control over their individual properties.

2. Common Areas and Amenities:

Both condos and PUDs offer shared spaces and amenities, but the extent of ownership and control can vary.

  • Condos: Residents share ownership of common areas and amenities, and decisions regarding maintenance, upgrades, and usage are typically managed by the condo's HOA. This shared responsibility fosters a sense of community but may limit individual control.

  • PUDs: While PUDs may also have common areas and amenities, homeowners often have more autonomy in decision-making. The individual property owner has a direct say in the management and maintenance of these shared spaces.

3. Governance and Homeowners Associations:

The role and influence of homeowners associations differ between condos and PUDs.

  • Condos: Condominiums are governed by an HOA responsible for managing common areas, enforcing community rules, and overseeing financial matters. Membership is mandatory for all condo owners, and HOA fees cover shared expenses.

  • PUDs: PUDs also have HOAs, but their scope may be less extensive than those of condominiums. Homeowners in PUDs typically have more control over their properties and may have more flexibility in decision-making.

4. Exterior Maintenance:

The responsibility for exterior maintenance is a key factor distinguishing condos from PUDs.

  • Condos: Exterior maintenance, including roofing, siding, and landscaping for the entire complex, is generally managed and funded through HOA fees. This can be advantageous for those who prefer minimal exterior maintenance responsibilities.

  • PUDs: Homeowners in PUDs often have more control over the maintenance of their property's exterior. While some common areas may still be managed collectively, individuals typically handle maintenance within their property boundaries.

5. Affordability and Market Availability:

Affordability and market availability can also vary between condos and PUDs.

  • Condos: Condominiums are often more prevalent in urban areas, offering a more affordable entry point into homeownership. They are a popular choice for individuals seeking a lower-maintenance lifestyle in bustling city centers.

  • PUDs: Planned Unit Developments are frequently found in suburban and rural settings. They cater to those desiring a single-family home experience with a yard and more individual control over property decisions.

The Differences Between Condos and Planned Unit Developments - Bottom Line:

In the journey to homeownership, understanding the differences between condos and Planned Unit Developments is very important. Whether you prioritize shared amenities, individual control, or a specific lifestyle, these distinctions can guide your decision-making process. One other thing to consider is that the health of a condo HOA is very important to a new homebuyer, as sometimes mismanagement of the homeowner's association can prevent someone taking a mortgage from being able to buy within that specific complex. There could also be some tighter mortgage requirement for condo's in comparison to a PUD.


condo orange county

As you explore the real estate market, consider your preferences, lifestyle, and long-term goals to determine whether a condo or a PUD aligns with your vision of the perfect home. By making an informed choice, you can embark on your homeownership journey with confidence and clarity. If you want to ask further questions from a reputable mortgage professional who has 10+ years of industry experience, reach out to Ross Varahrami here.



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