FEBRUARY 28, 2018 |

A common dilemma faced by buyers – should I buy a condo or house? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are many factors to consider based on your finances and lifestyle preferences. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

A condo might be a good option if you:

  • Want access to amenities
  • Prefer a move-in-ready space without the need for upgrades or the responsibility of maintenance and repairs

Condos offer a turn-key lifestyle. Suitable for those with busy lifestyles or those uncomfortable with doing any renovations or upgrades themselves. Condos also have amenities that can be a great perk. Common amenities may include a pool, party room, a gym, or shared patio/BBQ space. The amenities and ease of living are fantastic, but they come at a price. Monthly maintenance fees need to be taken into account when considering the purchase of a condominium.

A house might be a good option if you:

  • Are able and willing to do maintenance and repairs yourself, or have the money to hire someone to do so
  • Prefer independence and control; prefer avoiding the approval process of a condo board for every potential home improvement/upgrade
  • Prefer a more private living space some space separating you from your neighbours and a yard you can use freely

A house affords a lot of freedom and independence. You can choose what colour to paint your home and how to fashion the exterior landscape. House owners can exert almost complete control over their home’s appearance while condo owners are unable to make any exterior changes. With home ownership, you have a lot more freedom in choices, but this also means there is a lot more to be responsible for.

Consider the costs associated with houses versus condos:

Carrying Costs

Purchasing a home is not just a one-time investment – there are plenty of ongoing expenses you need to budget for. With a house, your budget for utilities (including heating, hydro, and water) can vary greatly on a monthly basis. In addition, you have to take into account any capital expenses such as a new roof, windows, or furnace. With a condo, budgeting can be easier – typically your bills will include the monthly maintenance fees, which are usually only adjusted once a year, and any utilities, such as hydro, that may not be included in the maintenance fees. When looking at condos, it is important to ask about each property’s condo fees, and what is included in the cost.

Insurance Coverage 

Home insurance is a must whether you own a house or condo. Your home is likely your most valuable asset and most lenders will not approve a mortgage until you have insurance coverage. These costs can differ depending on the type of property you purchase. Home insurance is typically higher for detached houses – houses face greater weather-related risks. Premiums for condo owners are less expensive as you will only need coverage for the contents of your home.

Will you be house poor?

The term “house poor” is used to describe a situation where all of your money is invested in your home. A home is an illiquid asset, so if you ever run into financial difficulty, you could be forced to sell. This being said, if a detached house would put a strain on your budget, a condo might be a better option to ensure you can live within your means.

Should I buy a condo or house to fit my lifestyle?

Costs are an important part of the decision-making process, but your choice should not just come down to dollars and cents. When asking yourself ‘should I buy a condo or house?’ it is important to consider how well your lifestyle is suited for each property type. This can include space for family members or pets, mobility issues and other factors. Take into account your current needs, and how they may change in the next five to ten years.

Speak with a trusted REALTOR® and get the information you need to ensure you make the decision that is right for you. To get an idea of what properties are available right now, give me a call at 416.921.1112 – I would be happy to help you find your dream home!