Look at HOA fees, and what those fees pay for. I don’t take the realtor’s word for what HOA fees cover, and access to amenities. (When the house next door was for sale, the realtor was telling all kinds of lies about what was included in the minimal HOA fees, and it was all a bunch of garbage.) If the complex is gated, see how many gate clickers you can have, or if you have to purchase extras. Find out if you can rent rooms, and if there is enough parking, or limitations on the type of vehicles you can park there. Make sure a renter can use the amenities at the complex.
You might do better with a single family home, or a duplex. However, some places have stand alone villas, still covered by the HOA. My street is made up of single family homes, a few duplexes, and a few of the oldest are actually connected townhouses. The townhouses only have backyard access through the house, unless they’re an end unit. Lawn mowing isn’t included, so whoever lives in the townhouses, has to do their own backyard, by going through the back door.
If you look at complexes with HOAs, look online for HOA newsletters. If they’re available, you can see what issues come up over and over. Also, find out if there are limits to the number of units that can be sold to investors, as opposed to owner/residents. I always think about resale, even if I intend to stay in a house forever.
A friend bought a condo near where her daughter went to college. After the daughter graduated and move away, they found out that many of the units in the big complex were rentals, and so the remaining units could only be sold to owner/residents, severely limiting their buying pool. Look at how much the condo fee has gone up over the last few years. See if parking is assigned, and how many spaces. Look at the reserve fund for the condo complex too.