Buying A Condo vs Buying A House
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on Mar 8, 2010
The real estate market of other countries may be doing poorly right now, but Canada’s real estate market is still in tremendous shape. In fact, it is not only stable, but it is currently growing. This indicates a healthy time to take the step and purchase real state in Canada. If you’re ready and willing to take the leap into purchasing real estate and having a new place to call your own, the first thing that you’ll need to do in Canada or anywhere else is determine what type of real estate is right for you.
The two most commonly preferred pieces of real estate purchased for personal residence in Canada are condominiums and houses. A condominium, or “condo” for short, is a building or complex in which apartments are owned individually while the common parts of property such as the grounds, recreational areas and even the building structure itself are owned jointly by the residence. A house on the other hand is perhaps best understood with a simple definition: a structure serving as a permanent dwelling for one or more people, particularly for a family unit. How does one decide whether to purchase a condo or a house? The best way to decide is to consider the pros and cons of both.
First, let’s examine the pros and cons of purchasing a condo. There are three commonly stated pros with regard to owning a condo. The first is easy upkeep. If you have a busy lifestyle, or simply have no interest in yard-work or significant home maintenance responsibilities, a condo offers itself as a great choice. The second is location. Typically, the joint ownership and structural arrangement of condominium complexes allow for living in or near the center of action, perhaps in the heart of your city. The third and final most commonly stated pro related to owning a condo is less obvious. Basically, contrary to a common misconception, condos have been increasing in value at a rate greater than single family homes. This means that they’ve been outperforming single family homes as a financial investment!
However, there are also some commonly stated cons for those purchasing a condo. First, there are fees associated with living in a condo. These fees typically take the form of maintenance, yard-management and trash cleanup fees, and they can sometimes be both confusing and expensive. The next commonly stated con in purchasing a condo is the lack of sole responsibility in decision making. Since your apartment is a part of a building in which others also have a claim, major decisions related to your apartment and the building itself are not universally up to you. The final, perhaps most frustrating con associated with condos is how the condo’s value may rise or fall sharply depending on factors beyond your control, such as how well the building is maintained by the collective inhabitants or on how well or poorly the surrounding neighbourhood develops.
There are also several pros and cons related to purchasing a home instead of a condo. The first commonly held pro related to owning a home is their family friendly nature. From the typically greater indoor space to outdoor space, including a yard, houses tend to be favourable for family units greater than just one or two people. The second commonly held pro is related to the first: pets and personal outdoor equipment are allowed on your own property; they may not be allowed in your condo.
On the other hand, there are two major cons associated with purchasing a house. The first is the greater responsibility over your house and its value. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the yard, for either completing repairs yourself or hiring others to make repairs to your house with your own funds. Despite the fact that taking these measures can improve the value of your house over the long-term, many people find having so many responsibilities frustrating or at least unnecessary and undesirable. The second downside commonly reported with regard to house ownership is the decisions and costs associated with taking advantage of all of the extra indoor and outdoor space. Additional furniture, garden items, swimming pools and all sorts of other possibilities can make outfitting your house much more expensive than simply furnishing your condo.
Of course, with all of that in mind, which one is better necessarily comes down to your own personal preference. If you want to have fewer responsibilities where you reside and like having the location offered by a condo at the expense of additional funds, for example, choosing to purchase a condo unit is probably best for you. However, if you want to have your own house in which you have all of the decision making power and can enjoy deciding what to do with both your indoor and outdoor spaces, even at the expense of being solely responsible for all maintenance and costs of living, then purchasing a house is probably best for you.
Regardless, there are great places to purchase either a condo unit or a house in Canada, ranging from the heart of the major Canadian cities all the way to the more rural, rustic towns throughout the country. What you prefer is up to you, but it would serve you best to explore both options in the part of Canada in which you want to settle down. That way, you end up with what you really want in the long-term, too.