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Condos vs. Town Homes vs. Single Homes (Choosing Your Dwelling Type)

Updated Friday, November 7, 2014  ::  Views (5180)

There are many things to consider when purchasing a property, including the mortgage, your budget, and its location.  

Another very important consideration is property type.  Although there are many categories of properties; the three main types include condominiums (condos), town homes (or semi-detached), and single homes.

Choosing what's right for you will depend on your lifestyle and the amount of responsibility you want to take on.  It’s important to consider the benefits and challenges of each type so you know what you are buying in to. Here’s a primer to get you started:

Condos or Condominiums are great for first time home buyers who want a worry free property. When you purchase a condo, your personal ownership is typically limited to the interior of your unit, while the exterior is considered as common condo property.

A huge benefit of living in a condo is that you will not have to worry about the general up-keep of the major exterior and common components.  You also won’t have to worry about lawn and garden maintenance.  

Additional benefits are that condos are generally less expensive than town homes and singles, and many have security features, such as cameras, and in some cases - even security guards. If you are safety conscious, this type of dwelling can provide a great sense of security. 

However, when considering a condo, it’s important to keep in mind that they always come with rules, usually brought forward by the condo board or association.  You may or may not agree with all the rules but you can’t escape them - they apply to everyone living in the building.

Other challenges of condo living include the potential additional monthly fees that are levied to maintain the exterior and common property, reduced privacy, and overall less space when comparing square footage to a town house or single home. 

Despite some of these challenges, condos are ideal for people who want to live in a smaller property, put in minimal effort on property maintenance, and don’t mind following the rules.

Town Homes are a great affordable option for first time home buyers who want a bit of land to toil over.   Generally, town homes are more affordable than single homes, and you alone are responsible for the maintenance of your property.  

Unlike a condo, you do have a bit more space - but you are attached to at least one (if you are end unit) or even two neighbours.   The lot size of a town house is limited by the width of your house and will often require you to allow “easement” between you and your neighbour’s yard, limiting some of your privacy.

Generally, town houses are a great option for people who want an affordable property that’s not overwhelming to maintain. It also provides for a community feel that you may not get in a condo.

Single Homes, generally speaking, are the more expensive of the dwelling options. They also provide the most privacy.   Purchasing a single home will give you freedom that you won’t get with a condo or a town house.  

This dwelling type often has more square footage, which is great – but it will also require more money to maintain.   It’s also important to keep in mind that single homes will also cost more money to furnish and decorate than a condo or a town home, so if you have your heart set on a single home - be prepared for these additional costs.  

Single homes are a fantastic option if you are looking at the long term and plan on living in the same house for many years. If this sounds like you, then a single home may be the best option for you.

So there you have it – an overview of some different dwelling options that you should consider if you are planning on purchasing a property in Ottawa. If you want more information about buying a property, I’m here to help

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