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Telluride Condos vs. Apartments: Discovering the Best Choice for You

Road Rent or Own

Do you love that feeling of being on a vacation home in the mountains? Sitting on your balcony, sipping a hot beverage, and enjoying an enchanting view of snow-capped mountains in a gorgeous ski resort town? It’s an image that vacation dreams are made of.

Now imagine being able to enjoy that feeling every day. Or whenever you feel like taking a break from urban life. Without the hassle of checking for room availability and booking well in advance? Make your dream a reality. Enjoy the luxury of owning a vacation home nestled in a picturesque mountain town that glistens with snow in the winter and blooms with wildflowers in the summer.

In picturesque Telluride, one of Colorado’s most beautiful places to live, homes for sale come in an assortment of property types and styles. As such, many are encouraged to purchase properties in Telluride to enjoy relaxing in nature on a permanent basis or to have ready access to your perfect holiday destination anytime you want.

But what kind of homes can you find in Telluride? The town has a wide variety of properties available for every type of interested homeowner. While a variety of houses are available, if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge and buy a house, you can also choose from many condos and apartments.

Can’t choose between Telluride condos or apartments? Let’s take a closer look at both and help you decide which is the best investment for you.


Telluride Gondola

Before diving deep into the differences between apartments and condos, let’s first look at why this mountain haven is a beautiful place to live.

Telluride’s pristine snow-capped mountains, panoramic landscapes, and luxury hotels are already an instant draw, but there are plenty more reasons why you would want to live in this stunning ski town.


  • Telluride was a summer camping ground for indigenous people before it became a gold rush destination in 1870.
  • It became a mining camp soon after, with railroads making it easier to get to Telluride in the 1890s.
  • Thanks to its prominent mountains and ample yearly snowfall, Telluride eventually became known as a fantastic place to ski. In 1972, it officially rebranded into a skiing destination with the opening of the Telluride Ski Resort.


  • Telluride is located in a box canyon in southwest Colorado, surrounded by the beautiful San Juan Mountains.
  • The town is nestled within the photogenic backdrop of 14,000-foot mountain peaks, making it one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in the Colorado Rockies.
  • Mountain Village, the more modern area in town, is located right above the historic district and sits 9,300 feet above sea level, one of the highest elevation locations in the United States.
  • Telluride has hotels, resorts, houses, condos, and apartments throughout.
  • Old Western heritage homes characterize downtown Telluride while the more modern Mountain Village is known for luxury resorts, modern homes, and upscale condo and apartment complexes.


  • Although Telluride is recognized as one of the best ski resorts in the country, there are a whole lot of things to do beyond the slopes.
  • Alongside skiing, Telluride also has several hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, playgrounds, hot springs, and more that everyone can enjoy both winter and summer.
  • The town also regularly hosts music and movie festivals and has regular live shows.
  • As for skiing, locals and tourists enjoy cross-country skiing and sledding. The balanced terrain makes the town’s wide-open slopes ideal for everyone from beginners to experienced ski enthusiasts.

Getting around

  • Telluride is connected to Mountain Village by a gondola that offers riders a 360-degree view of the surrounding San Juan Mountains.
  • It’s the only public transportation gondola in the US and also serves as a popular tourist attraction.
  • Locals and tourists can also use the free public bus, the Galloping Goose Transit system, that circles all the public landmarks every 15 to 20 minutes.


  • If you plan to move to Telluride with your family, there are highly rated public and private school options from elementary through high school.


Telluride Small Town

Because it’s a favorite vacation destination, Telluride has a wide range of homes available to own and rent, with condos and apartments being popular choices for both locals and tourists.

If you’re in the market for a permanent or vacation home in the area, you might be wondering about the main differences between both options. And which one is better?


The primary difference between Telluride condos and apartments is ownership.

By definition, an apartment is a residence that is rented. It is often part of a larger residential building or cluster of buildings. A condo is very similar to an apartment in structure as a unit within a residential building.

The difference is that condos are owned and not rented. Because they belong to the owner instead of the landlord, owners are in charge of property taxes and can earn equity.

If you are in the market for a condo or apartment in Telluride, here are some of the main factors you should consider when selecting your perfect mountainside home.


As mentioned, the primary difference between condos and apartments is ownership. If you aren’t quite ready to commit, renting an apartment might be better for you, as this gives you a little more flexibility.

However, a condo might be your best bet if you prefer building equity while enjoying the tax benefits of owning property. A condo is also a good option if you are interested in investing in an additional source of income by way of rentals.



Costs for an apartment are relatively straightforward. You will initially pay a deposit and down payment to begin your lease, followed by regular monthly rent payments as per your agreement. On average, the median rental rate for Telluride apartments is roughly $1,890, although this will fluctuate depending on the size and location of the apartment.


For condos, costs are more complex and similar to buying a home. You will typically make a down payment and foot the closing costs, which is roughly 3% to 5% of your loan amount. Telluride condos can range anywhere from $800,000 up to $1.9 million depending on size, location, and amenities. Additionally, condos will come with regular Homeowners Association (HOA) dues which vary per property.



Location is always one of the driving factors when it comes to determining the price of a property. Because of the similarities between the structural footprints of an apartment and a condo, you will likely find both options in similar locations throughout Telluride for both upscale luxury properties and more modest units. Many condo and apartment buildings are conveniently located near businesses, restaurants, parks, and schools. You may find more condo options near popular tourist destinations, but these are often condotels or timeshares.



On average, condos and apartments have similar amenities because they are structurally similar.

Telluride has more low-rise, sprawling residential buildings than towering high-rise buildings. These smaller, lodge-type complexes are well-suited to the look and feel of the community. Whether you choose a tall residential building or one with just a few floors, the amenities you can enjoy often include the following:

  • Pool
  • Gym
  • Free parking
  • On-site laundry
  • Doorman
  • Security
  • Shared community spaces

Look for these amenities when buying a condo or apartment. It’s best to list your preferred amenities in order of importance, so you know what to prioritize. It’s also important to note that most standard amenities are free. Depending on the building, though, some may incur extra costs. Unique amenities offered by high-end luxury condominiums include parks or playgrounds within the compound, pet services, or car washes.

Upkeep and maintenance


When you rent an apartment and you’re faced with dead light bulbs or a leaking faucet, you can call your landlord or property management company to have it fixed, and they are often quick to respond. Many apartments also have a dedicated maintenance team, a big perk for apartment renters. However, the one drawback here is that because you don’t own the property, there are limits to what you can DIY or fix yourself. The owners will probably have rules about changing faucets or other fixtures in the unit to maintain aesthetic standards.


You have the freedom to change things to suit your personal style and taste. However, as the owner, you are also responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep, which means either fixing things yourself or footing the bill for repairs. In common areas of a condo building, the homeowner’s association is usually in charge of maintenance, which is paid for by HOA fees.

HOA rules/Rental agreements

Rules are another essential factor when choosing between apartments and condos. Since they are both multi-home communities, each will have rules about behavior in common areas, along with pet guidelines, exterior decorating, and more.


Rules are usually standard. The property manager will enforce rental regulations and will also handle potential complaints. On average, rules include pet guidelines, guest policies, insurance requirements, and the like. There may also be restrictions on the changes you can make within the apartment, such as repainting the walls or hammering holes into the walls for paintings and pictures.


In general, the HOA dictates the rules, which usually cover common areas and exteriors. You can typically find the specifics in the condo association covenants, conditions, and restrictions. As for the condo itself, owners can generally decorate the inside however they want. If you are doing major renovations, you will likely have to get permits from the HOA, especially if renovations mean noise and potential disruptions.



Another thing to consider are your future plans. If you are still deciding about the next several years, an apartment might be better for you.


However, if you feel sure about owning property in this stunning mountain escape or turning your condo into an additional source of income by renting it out to tourists, then buying a condo is the right choice.


Young Woman Relaxes

Apartments are the best bet if you aren’t quite ready for the responsibilities and expenses of owning a home.

Here are some of the important pros and cons of apartment living:

Pros of apartments

  • Flexibility. One of the biggest pros of living in an apartment is the flexibility to move any time you feel like it. If you are unsure how long you will live in Telluride, renting is probably the best option.
  • Easier maintenance.The upkeep and maintenance of your apartment are handled by your landlord while you are renting, which is less of a hassle for you.
  • Lower costs. On average, the initial costs of an apartment are lower than a condo. You will likely have to put out less initially, depending on your down payments and initial rent payments.

Cons of apartments

  • No equity. Even if you don’t shell out too much money at the outset, you will still be paying monthly without building equity, unlike if you owned a condo unit. As a renter, you will be contributing to your landlord’s equity.
  • Standard perks. While you can enjoy usual perks like a pool or recreation area, generally speaking, the amenities of apartments are less extravagant compared to condos.
  • Decorating restrictions. Since you don’t own the unit, you may have more restrictions when decorating your space. This includes not painting the walls, changing fixtures, or hanging permanent posters or photos.


Man drinking coffee

Buying a condo is a great way to enter homeownership. It’s also usually more affordable than buying a house. Plus, you’ll still be building equity through the years with a condo.

Here are some of the important pros and cons of condo living:

Pros of condos

  • Affordable homeownership. For first-time homeowners or those that may want to downsize, a condo is an excellent option that’s usually affordable. In Telluride, the median sales price for condos are more manageable than that for houses. Condos could be a good starter home.
  • Building equity.Because you own the condo, you are building equity over time, which helps increase the amount of money in your condo that you may use later. You can borrow from this equity as a loan or invest it for long-term earnings and wealth.
  • Additional income. Aside from owning your condo, you may also want to use it as an additional source of income and rent it out to tourists during peak season.
  • More perks. The perks that come with condominiums are often more extensive than apartments. These sometimes include services like pet care and car washes alongside the standard amenities.

Cons of condos

  • HOA dues. Even though you own the condo, you still have to pay your HOA dues regularly. These dues may increase over time based on the economy and if the condo building expands or property values fluctuate. The amount of the fees generally covers the cost of maintaining the amenities the condo provides.
  • Additional fees. Outside of HOA dues, you also pay other fees associated with condo ownership. These include mortgage and property taxes.
  • While condos tend to be more affordable than houses, they are also usually more compact, though some luxury condos can rival the square footage of single-family homes. Additionally, you will likely have less privacy as condos are in shared residential buildings which means you share walls with your neighbors.

Both apartments and condos have their list of pros and cons. Knowing both will help you determine which best suits you and your needs.


Knowing the differences, benefits, and downsides of both apartments and condos helps equip you with everything you need to know to decide which type of home is best for you.

Once you have decided if you prefer a condo or an apartment, the next step is finding your dream property. This is where a reliable Telluride Realtor can help.

A trusted real estate professional can help you find property that ticks all your boxes. And it’s especially important to find a team that possesses an intrinsic knowledge of this idyllic mountain town.

TD Smith is a Telluride Realtor with literal mountains of experience. He began his career in Telluride real estate in 1971 and has actively participated in developing the town and its properties throughout the years.

His excellent reputation and consistent success in local real estate garnered him the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Telluride Association of Realtors, where he also served as the first elected president.

TD and his team have been a driving and pioneering force behind Telluride real estate for over 50 years. They have helped many clients sell their properties, understand the nuances of the town and community, and find their perfect home.

If you want to find your ideal condo or apartment property in beautiful Telluride, TD Smith is the best team to help you.

Begin your journey into mountain living by accessing TD Smith and team’s expert insights into Telluride real estate. Call or text 970.729.1577 or contact TD Smith and his team here.

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