A major milestone for most people living in Canada is buying their own homes. If you are thinking about buying a home in Canada, you need to consider certain factors as well as your preferred choice of property.
As part of getting a home in Canada, you are provided with diverse real estate options, part of which are condos and townhouses.
As a first time home buyer, part of your mortgage choice is a condominium or a townhouse. It has been observed that townhouses and high-rise condos are cheaper to purchase, than single-family homes like detached and semi-detached houses. Although, this is determined by some significant factors like the location and age of the property.
However, a lot of factors will go into consideration before deciding which of the two real estates is suitable for you. Condos and townhouses are two major and popular properties when choosing a home in Canada.
Condo vs Townhouse
If you are looking to buy a condo or a townhouse in Canada, here’s all you need to know to help you make informed decisions.
Condos in Canada
A condo or condominium is a residential unit in a building, which is owned by individuals, as part of a community. A condo is an apartment house or office building that is owned by individuals, with each owner receiving a recordable deed to the purchased unit.
Condos can be detached or semi-detached, and are private residences owned by an individual or family in a building or community with multiple units.
Pros of Buying a Condo
- Maintenance: The external maintenance of a condo is often handled by other people, especially with tasks like cutting the grass, fixing the roof, and other repairs. Residents will only have to look after their houses or units, instead of the open spaces. Therefore the maintenance fee for a condo is cheap, as the cost of maintenance is shared between the residents and the owner.
- Safety and Security: Condo units are close to one another, and often with locked entries and security personnel, which reduces the risk of burglary. Also, in case of emergency, condo owners have neighbours to turn to for help.
- Amenities: A lot of condo communities provide residents with amenities like pool, meeting rooms, fitness center, yoga rooms, and rooftop barbecue areas. These amenities that can aid socialization among neighbours.
- Cost and Price Affordability: Compared to other real estate properties, condos are cheaper and more affordable. This can also be a factor of the region or location of the property.
Cons of Buying a Condo
- Cost of Amenities: The amenities enjoyed by condo owners are not free. They actually cost money. Residents have to pay monthly fees called Home Owners Association fees, for amenities and upkeep of the property. The issue here, however, is that not all residents enjoy or make use of these amenities.
- Customization: Unlike other properties like a townhouse, a condo cannot be customized to your taste. You cannot add any additional room even if your family outgrows the available space.
- Privacy: Another issue with living in a condo is that you in some cases, cannot enjoy your quietness or privacy. The fact that you have neighbours on the other side of the wall, above or below your unit, may not make the condo the right choice if you need some quietness. Moreover, during the summer, there’s often a lot of ongoing construction around condos which does not make it an ideal choice for people who love silence. In addition, you have to live in conformity with the rules and regulations given by the HOA for condo owners. You need permission to do a lot of things that you would normally have done without anyone knowing, such as installations.
- Value Appreciation: Condos are not likely to rise in value compared to other properties.
A townhouse is a housing style with multiple independent and identical houses arranged in rows. Unlike condos, the owners of a townhouse own both the interior as well as the land on which the land is built.
A townhouse usually has a front and rear yard, with shared walls and outdoor boundaries. In a townhouse, residents own the lawns, walls, roof, interior, and exterior, as well as the insurance on the home and property.
Pros of Buying a TownHouse
- Space Availability: Unlike condos, townhouses are more spacious with bigger space for bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and sometimes basement.
- Maintenance: Homeowners in townhouse pay maintenance charges based on their requirements. Mostly, the Home Owners Association (HOA) handles external maintenance like parking lots and shared driveway, and also ensures a uniform appearance of all the townhouses in the community. The interior maintenance and repair is the responsibility of the homeowner.
- Security: Residents of townhouses live close to one another, get to know each other, and in most cases protect one another. With this, there is a sense of community responsibility and enhanced the security of residents.
- Customization and Autonomy: Owners of a townhouse can make desired changes to their property. They can decorate, personalize, or tweak their townhouse to their taste or likeness.
- Value: The townhouse has a higher demand, and consequently a higher resale value. People are willing to pay for the value of freedom and independence that comes with owning a townhouse.
- Amenities: Townhouse owners have amenities and community areas that are maintained with the Homeowners Association fees and dues. These include pools, libraries, playgrounds, gym, dog parks, tennis or basketball courts, and other recreational centers.
Cons of Buying a Townhouse
- Cost: Budget-conscious buyers can typically get a similar condo unit for a considerably lower price than a townhouse.
- Rental Cost: Townhouse owners can find it difficult to lease out their property as a result of the cost.
- Privacy: the shared nature of townhouses makes it less private. In addition, there are set rules made by the homeowners association, which might not be comfortable for some people.
- Fees and Dues: Townhouse communities come with luxurious amenities, which also comes with a significant cost for maintenance. This cost of maintenance can run into hundreds of Canadian dollars.
Comparison of Condos and Townhouses in Canada
Having considered the pros and cons of condos and townhouses in Canada, as well as the differences between the two major real estates, you only need to look into the tips and processes of getting your desired home.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has comprehensive information on prices and factors for buying a home, especially for a new home buyer in Canada.
Buying a condo can be a great investment for people with young families and busy professionals, to live in a low-maintenance home. However, if you are one of those that value privacy, independence, and want to live by your own rules, then a townhouse might just be the suitable choice of real estate for you.
Whichever choice of real estate you consider buying in Canada, always ensures that you and/or your real estate agent check all the necessary documents needed for a smooth purchase of your property. It is equally important to do a physical check or inspection of the property, like the electrical and plumbing system, the foundation, the roof, and other essential areas.
In addition to this, you should consider the fees and cost of maintenance before finalizing your purchase. Working with a real estate agent, known as a realtor is optional in buying a house – condos or townhouse – in Canada.
The major work of the realtor is to search for homes, negotiate a purchase price, complete some necessary documents, file required paperwork, and do any other important steps. When you buy a home through a realtor, it is the responsibility of the seller to pay the realtor’s fees.
Whatever the case, buying your dream home in Canada requires a thoughtful and calculative process.