What type of housing property is right for me? Whether you are single, married, have children or not, it can be challenging to know where you and your family will be most comfortable – and what will be the best decision for you financially.  Homes come in all shapes and sizes, and of course all price ranges too. There are so many things to consider; neighbourhoods, schools, proximity to hospitals and grocery stores, and wherever you are working as well. Do you rely on public transport or taxi cabs for a lot of your commuting? Understanding how functionally those types of services operate in your desired area are important to know ahead of time also. And while having a roof over your head to call your own might be the end game goal, being aware of all of the different options available to you is important – before you sign on the dotted line! Strata versus condominium board, elevators instead of back yard maintenance  – check out our list below to see all of the pros and cons that each different type of dwelling offers.


Apartments and Condominiums

If inner city living is where it is at for you and yours, an apartment or condominium may be just the right fit. Forget suburban connectors and calculating your morning commute; the bustling city can be right at your doorstep. Gardening and outdoor maintenance not your thing? Well then, this could be a dream come true! You will also never have to worry about replacing a roof, outdoor painting, snow removal or remembering to book an annual vent cleaning. However, the elephant in the room (or lack thereof due to limited square footage), is the potential issue of too little living space. If you know for a fact you will be growing your family, a one bedroom apartment may not be the best investment. Additionally, while the initial cost might be considerably more affordable than a larger home; do remember to factor in the monthly/annual cost of Strata or Building Management Fees on top of your regular property tax. Also, although it can be less stressful to not take on the onus of maintaining the upkeep of the actual structure you are living in; there can be frustrations in the limitations you will face when wanting to do renovations and/or any aesthetic changes to your space.


Do We Want A Duplex?

A duplex could possibly be the happy medium you have been searching for. This particular property is perfect if you are not quite financially ready for a stand alone house, or uninterested in looking after that much space, but definitely do not want to be stacked in with too many people and needing an elevator every time you leave your home. If you do have the monetary means to purchase both sides of a duplex; you have immediately gained not only a new place to live, but a potential investment property as well. While still being fairly affordable, this type of housing unit will generally provide you with outdoor/backyard space, with more privacy than an apartment or condominium development. However, you will still have an extremely close neighbour! If you are just taking over the one unit, you of course will not have a say in who is living immediately opposite you. If you are purchasing both sides, the responsibility of selecting a reliable and mature tenant is a big one! Nonetheless, a duplex can be a great bridge between apartment living and a full on stand alone home. You can ease into the added duties of yard work and snow removal, have more living space, and a parking spot – all positive benefits.


The Stand Alone House

Yes, stand alone properties do come in all kinds of sizes (see tiny house trend/phenomenon here), but in general, one of the immediate pluses to this category of home is having more living space. Yet, with great privilege comes great responsibility! In this variety of home, the buck starts and stops with you regarding any and all maintenance and upkeep. That means roof, plumbing, vents, lawn, appliances, you name it – it is yours to look after. With proper budgeting, planning and organization, anyone can take on this challenge. But while it is wonderful to have more room to play with; that all comes with a heftier property tax price tag as well. Also factor in that a larger home comes with larger heating, water, and electricity bills. Is there a basement unit you can use to rent out and offset mortgage costs? Will you truly utilize the increase in living capacity or just fill it with storage? Your own home is a huge step, and an exciting one too! A thorough understanding of all you will be taking on can help determine whether a stand alone house is the best choice for you.


Blank Slate Property To Build On

Perhaps you have searched far and wide for your ideal dwelling and just cannot seem to find it. And when something is within the right price range, with the correct amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, you hate the aesthetic. It can be daunting to feel like you might have to spend almost just as much money on renovations as you did on the house in the first place, to get it where it is livable and/or where you want it to be. Enter in; building something brand new from the literal ground up! Now, keep in mind that going this route will most likely give you more options (aka choices) than ever. So, if you are indecisive or panicky about being your own project manager of sorts, seriously think this idea through. A great option is to research up and coming developments, as home builders will usually have empty property spots pre-purchased, and all you will need to do is pick the home design package you like best. Or, you can really take it all on and buy a bare plot of land to call your own. Here, you can still hire a project manager, but will want to oversee the obtaining of necessary permits, proper time of year to break soil/pour foundation, keep a pulse on time/work efficiency, etc. There is a great amount of freedom and autonomy down this path, but costs can add up quickly too – especially if you are paying for two properties before being able to actually live in the new one. If you have the means, the patience, and the energy to see the project through, building your own home from scratch can be an amazing journey.


No matter the size of your investment, the housing market can feel intimidating to jump into. What was at one time, arguably the biggest box to check off on the path to blissful domestication, has certainly become increasingly volatile and polarizing in recent years. Are you risking your family’s livelihood, or setting yourself up for longtime security? The best way to know is to exploit all information resources available to you, and try your very best to not rush into anything. Ask questions, meet with real estate agents, and gain a comprehensive understanding of what you can truly afford – long before you are ready to put an offer in on something. Never skimp on having a professional home inspection before you take over official legal ownership, and do not ignore the cliche, but unwavering, gut instinct. Happy house hunting! And call us when you are all set, to have the experts move you in.


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