Condo vs. Home Purchases

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When you are ready to buy a home, you’ll generally be faced with a choice between two types of homes: a house or a condo. There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of homes – it just depends on what type of lifestyle you are looking for.

House

With a house, you have the freedom to customize the exterior of your home and choose what to do with the space in your front yard and backyard.

Owning a house, however, traditionally requires more maintenance on the part of the homeowner, from small repairs and regular maintenance to large, sometimes unexpected costs such as replacing a furnace or air conditioner. As well, homeowners are required by their municipality to maintain their property, which means regular lawn mowing in the summer, shoveling in the winter and maintaining exterior amenities such as your deck, plants, and garden.

Condo

Condos are generally smaller than houses and depending on the building, you will usually have neighbors in close proximity. When looking at a condo, it is important to listen carefully to see if you can hear your neighbors and find out what building materials were used during construction to help determine how soundproof your condo will be.

While condo owners are not responsible for maintenance of the condo building, the majority are owned by condo corporations who charge monthly fees for regular expenses such as small maintenance & repairs and outdoor maintenance such as shoveling and landscaping. Some condo buildings include amenities such as a gym or pool that are covered by the condo fees, which can save you money on a fitness membership.

Condo corporations maintain a reserve fund, which is used to cover large repairs such as a roof replacement or other major renovations. It is important to know the amount that the corporation has in the reserve fund as large expenses in excess of what is funded by the reserve fund will be levied to tenants as a special assessment fee that generally costs thousands of dollars per owner.

So which one is right for you? House or condo? It depends on your lifestyle.