Condos vs. Houses: Which Is Right for You?
If you’re in the market for a residential purchase, you may be struggling with a big decision: condo or house? For many potential homeowners, this is an easy choice. Some may not be able to afford a single-family home, which is typically more expensive than a condo. Others may be looking to downsize, so a condo is the smarter choice.
The lifestyles that come with both are quite different, so it’s best not to rush into a purchase without weighing all of your options first. If the decision isn’t such a simple one, we can help. Here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself before deciding whether a house or condo is right for you.
#1: Am I comfortable taking on the maintenance of a house?
Ask anyone who’s ever owned a single-family home, and they’ll likely tell you it’s a lot of work. From mowing the lawn to shovelling the driveway, each season comes with its own unique set of challenges. If you’re handy with your tools and don’t mind some outdoor activity, then maintaining a house may not seem like such a chore. But if you’d rather have someone else take care of the dirty work so you can relax and enjoy your residence—a condo is better suited to that lifestyle.
Apart from maintaining the grounds of your house, don’t forget the interior will need repairs from time to time. A leaky roof, faulty faucet or problems with the heating system are the responsibility of the owner. Condo dwellers, on the other hand, don’t need to worry about these matters. The monthly maintenance fee will go towards most emergency repairs. It will be the responsibility of your property management company to source contractors and various tradespeople to get the issues fixed.
#2: Am I okay being in close proximity to my neighbours?
If you enjoy your space and privacy, condo living may not be for you. Condominiums are often brimming with residents, all living in close proximity to one another. You’ll be running into other people constantly—in the hallways, elevators, lobby and parking garage. The nice thing about this, however, is the sense of community that condo dwellers often feel. Many buildings have a social committee that organizes potlucks, bingo night and holiday parties to help foster closeness among residents.
Living in a detached home means you’ll see your neighbours, but not as frequently. You may feel disconnected from the larger community, but residents actually enjoy this aspect of homeownership. In large urban centres like Toronto, many people enjoy returning to their quiet oasis away from the noise and traffic of the city.
#3: How important are amenities to me?
When living in a condo, your monthly maintenance fees will go towards the maintenance of the common amenities. If a swimming pool, 24 hour concierge, sauna or games room is highly valuable to you, your monthly condo fees may seem well worth it. But for those who don’t particularly care for these features, a house may be a better investment. Condo maintenance fees are a budget-breaker for many families, especially after factoring in the mortgage and property taxes.
Ask yourself how often you’d take advantage of a condominium’s amenities. If you prefer your gym membership and have no interest in hosting gatherings in the party room, perhaps condo living is not for you.
#4: How much can I realistically spend on a home purchase?
As mentioned earlier, condos are typically cheaper than single-family residences. Be realistic about how much you’re able to spend on a home. If you’re unsure, work with a trusted REALTOR® who can help you determine your purchasing power. A reputable agent can familiarize you with housing prices in various parts of the city, and guide you to homes that are within your price range.
If you’re looking to live in a high-demand area, there’s a chance you may have to settle for a condo depending on your budget. Single-family dwellings are often pricier in Toronto—with the average cost of a detached home coming in at about $1.15 million. A condo will allow you to live in a desirable neighbourhood with all the amenities-- without breaking the bank.
Living in a condo versus a house entails two very different lifestyles. And the one you ultimately choose will pretty much come down to personal preference. Regardless of your decision, homeownership is a rewarding journey. It is also one of the best financial investments you will ever make for yourself and your family. After all, buying a home is one of life’s biggest purchases. That’s why a REALTOR® with extensive experience in the Toronto housing market can help you make the right choice.
For more information on buying a house or condo, call Spectrum Realty at 416-736-6500 or contact us here.