You've hired an experienced Springfield VA Realtor® to work with you on your home search. You've meet with a lender and understand the financial obligations associated with buying a Springfield home. Now you need to understand your options on the type of home you can buy.
In Springfield VA you will find "condominiums" and "fee simple" homes for sale. Both of these terms refer to the type of ownership and not the style of the home. It can be confusing but in easy terms a condominium you own what's inside the four walls and you also have a fractional ownership of common areas. For example you are responsible for any repairs that happen inside your home but the association is responsible for outside those walls include the common areas. You will pay a monthly condominium fee which will cover the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas and any other shared resources.
"Fee Simple" ownership is by definition "Absolute ownership unencumbered by any other interest or estate, subject only to the limitations imposed by the governmental powers of taxation, eminent domain, police power, and escheat." In simple terms it means you own your home and the land around your home. You are commonly responsible for both the inside and outside of your home. If there is a community pool you may have a membership to the pool but you have no ownership interest in the pool.
To be honest it can be confusing but this is one reason why you have an experienced agent at your side. Most people instantly think a condominium means a one floor apartment style building. But that's not the true. For example in Springfield one of the biggest condominium neighborhoods is Cardinal Forest and in the neighborhood you will find everything from one level apartment style properties to three level townhouse style homes.
One of the reasons to understand the difference in the ownership types is there can be costs associated with condominium ownership which may impact your housing budget. Condominiums often have fees that add a few hundred dollars a month to your bottom line. Those fees need to be factored in to your monthly costs and can lower the amount of mortgage you can qualify for. This may not be a bad thing if a condominium makes the most sense for you but it's just one more item to consider.
Next up. What style of Springfield home are you most interested in?