The Great Debate: Condo or Brownstone


We know one thing for sure...Hoboken is where we want to be!

But figuring out what kind of home is best can be a difficult decision. One local realtor breaks it down.

So what will it be?

Condo or Brownstone?

In recent years, Hoboken's residential market has become an eclectic mix of pristine brownstones boasting old-world charm and luxury new-construction high-rises offering a full suite of amenities and modern conveniences. Those embarking on the house-hunting journey are often faced with the difficult challenge of deciding which type of home will be the best fit for them, their family and their lifestyle. Before making that big decision, here are some things to consider.

Brownstone Pros

Hoboken's brownstones are often found on quiet, exquisitely maintained, tree-lined streets. Many of these homes still exhibit their original finishes, including elaborate fireplaces, crown molding, herringbone hardwood floors and over-sized windows allowing tons of natural light to flood in. Brownstones also often have terraces or coveted “garden” apartments, which usually have exclusive access to a backyard. While these garden level units may not be quite as spacious or sun-filled, the outdoor space is often a welcome escape for many from city life, and the additional square footage provides a bit more living space for kids and pets to enjoy. Additionally, brownstone living often offers a sense of community, as neighbors usually make an effort to get to know one another, oftentimes hosting holiday gatherings in their homes or coordinating seasonal block parties.

Brownstone Cons

Along with all of that old-world charm, however, can come some features that don't work so well for “city living.” Front entrances to may have a steep set of stairs making some everyday tasks like groceries and strollers difficult. Brownstones rarely include options for parking, so homeowners often have to deal with street parking or choose to pay for a monthly parking spot. Some brownstones may also lack updated appliances, such as dishwashers or laundry facilities. Also, the row-home design means that the middle homes on a block may only have windows in the front and back of the building, which can limit sunlight for certain homes.

High-Rise Pros

Modern new construction apartment buildings, often include every type of appliance and upgrade available. High-end dishwashers and in-unit laundry facilities come standard. Luxurious kitchens and bathrooms with top of the line fixtures, as well as plenty of closet space are also usually included in these types of buildings. Laundry lists of amenities such as gyms, pools, roof decks and sometimes, movie theaters or playrooms for kids, are also a huge draw for many families to these types of building complexes. Most luxury high-rise buildings also offer concierge services and full-time doormen which can provide convenience as well as an added sense of security.

High-Rise Cons

There are some potential drawbacks to new-construction high-rise buildings though. Sometimes these buildings are considered "cookie-cutter" because there is a limited number of floor plans, and a bit boring because the units sometimes feel "boxey." Living in these buildings can also be a bit lonely. Between the buildings being very large with a lot of floors, and residents often have very busy schedules, residents may not make as much of an effort to get to know each other. Additionally, heat and hot water many times are not included in new construction, creating an additional monthly cost to budget for.

House-hunters having to decide between brownstone or high-rise living have a difficult decision ahead of them and should give both options thought and consideration. One thing is certain though – no matter which building style they choose, Hoboken is where they want to be.

Marissa Martini-Cyprys is a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams City Life Realty. As a resident of Hoboken, she has extensive knowledge of the local residential real estate market. When she is not busy helping her clients, she enjoys spending time with her husband Jon and little boy Jacob and taking advantage of all of the wonderful community resources, activities and events Hoboken offers young families.

For help with all of your real estate needs, contact Marissa directly:

Email: marissa.martini@kw.com Mobile: (973) 723-2333


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HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Danielle Guenther Photography

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