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Condo Vs House: Making the Right Choice for Your Dream Home

Are you in the market for a new home? As you embark on this exciting journey, choosing condo vs house is one of the most significant decisions you’ll face. It’s a classic debate that has puzzled homebuyers for years. But first, you have to know what you want as a homebuyer! We’re here to guide you through the pros and cons of each option, helping you make an informed choice that suits your lifestyle and budget.

So let’s dive right in!

Did you know?
A condo is generally the lowest rung of the property ladder. It is the most affordable option for first-time buyers looking for a place to live in Toronto or Vancouver while building equity. Over one-third (37.8%) of first-time home buyers in British Columbia and just under one in six in Ontario (16.5%) bought a condominium in 2019.
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Purchase Price: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Wallet

When it comes to purchase price, condos usually take the lead. They tend to be more affordable compared to single-family houses. The price difference can be attributed to a couple of factors. First, unlike homes with structure and land, condos typically don’t include the land they’re built on. Second, condos often offer less square footage of living space than houses. So if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, condos have the upper hand.

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Maintenance Costs: Predictability vs. Autonomy

Maintenance costs are inevitable in homeownership, whether you choose a condo or a house. For condo owners, these costs are covered by monthly maintenance fees, also known as association or strata fees. The amount you pay is determined by factors such as the location, age of the building, shared amenities, and the size of your condo unit. While this may seem like an additional expense, it offers some advantages. With predictable and stable maintenance costs, budgeting becomes more accessible. 

Plus, by pooling resources, condo boards can negotiate better deals for maintenance and repair services on behalf of the community.

On the other hand, house owners have more control over their maintenance budget. They can decide how much to spend, when to finish, and where to allocate the funds. However, this freedom comes with a trade-off—uncertainty. It can be challenging to anticipate ongoing maintenance and repair costs for a house. So if you prefer more predictability and a hassle-free approach to maintenance, condos are the way to go. But a home might be a better fit if you value autonomy and the ability to decide about your property.

Did you know?
In Vancouver, more than 30 percent of the population lives in condos, the highest percentage in Canada. Condos are home to 21.8 percent of Calgarians, followed by Abbotsford-Mission, Kelowna, and Toronto, all of which have more than one out of every five households living in a condominium.

Privacy or Community: Finding Your Place in the Neighborhood

Buying a house or a condo, a home, isn’t just about the property itself; it’s also about the neighbourhood and the sense of community you’ll be part of. Some homebuyers crave the opportunity to set roots, make friends with neighbours, and become an integral part of the community.

If you’re looking for that, a house might be your ideal choice. Homes often provide more privacy, and there are no strict condo rules to follow when decorating, modifying, or updating your living space.

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However, condos can offer a unique sense of community. At the same time, not all condo owners are social butterflies, many buildings and complexes foster opportunities for residents to interact and get to know one another. From organized social nights to monthly events, these activities aim to create a strong community within the building.

Living near your neighbours can be beneficial too. You can rely on them to keep an eye on your place when you’re away, providing peace of mind. Remember, though, that condo living often comes with certain restrictions. You may have limitations on painting your unit, renovating, or storing items on balconies or patios.

So if you’re seeking more autonomy and freedom to personalize your space, a house might be a better fit. But if community and social connections are a priority, condos offer significant opportunities to build those relationships.

Commute and Amenities: Location, Location, Location!

Location plays a crucial role in the condo vs. house debate. Being smaller and more space-efficient, condos are often found in prime places like downtown areas or neighbourhoods with abundant amenities. This makes them attractive for those who want easy access to public transit, cultural activities, shopping centers, entertainment venues, and job opportunities. Living in a condo often means shorter commutes to work and school than living in houses, typically located in suburban areas further from city centers.

Condos also come with built-in amenities that can be costly to have in a house. Indoor pools, gyms, game rooms, and even theatre rooms are standard features in many condo buildings. Some luxury condos offer additional perks like tennis courts, private rooftop terraces, and golf courses. Replicating these amenities in a house would require high upfront costs and higher annual maintenance and utility bills.

So if having these lifestyle amenities at your fingertips is a priority, condos have the upper hand. But a house might be the better choice if you’re willing to commute to public facilities and prefer a more spacious property.

house vs condo

Why Are Condos Better Than Houses?

Condos have become famous for many homebuyers, particularly in urban areas. Their affordability, desirable locations, and resort-like amenities make them an attractive option.

If you’re looking for convenient property ownership, a low-maintenance lifestyle, and a transparent calculation of monthly costs, condos are a perfect fit. They offer an opportunity to embrace the vibrant downtown living experience, even in bustling cities like Hamilton, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Did you know?
In the Toronto metropolitan area, almost one-quarter (24.1%) of condominium apartments built in 2000 or earlier were used as investment properties in 2020. This rate rises to 40.1% for condos constructed from 2001 to 2015 and over half (55.2%) for those built from 2016 to 2020.

Why Are Houses Better Than Condos?

Houses typically provide more living space, both indoors and outdoors, making them adaptable to changing family dynamics and providing an increased sense of privacy.

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What is the difference between a condo and a house? 

The main difference between a condo and a house is that with a house, you own the structure and the land it sits on, while with a condo, you own just the unit you live in and not the larger building or the land on which it’s built.

What are the advantages of buying a condo over a house? 

Condos are typically less expensive than houses and often come with amenities like a pool or tennis court. They also require less maintenance as the condo association typically handles exterior repairs.

What are the disadvantages of buying a condo? 

Some potential disadvantages of buying a condo include less privacy, potential for higher monthly fees, and less control over the property as the condo association makes decisions about the exterior and common areas.

Is a condo more like a house or an apartment? 

A condo is more like an apartment in terms of its structure and layout, as it’s a unit within a larger building. However, unlike an apartment, you own a condo rather than rent it.

What are the financial considerations when deciding between a condo and a house? 

Condos are usually less expensive upfront than houses, but they can come with considerable monthly fees. Houses are typically more expensive upfront, but you have more control over ongoing costs.

Which is better for a second home, a condo or a house? 

A condo might be a better choice for a second home as it requires less maintenance, which can be beneficial if you’re not there all the time. However, this depends on individual preferences and circumstances. On the other hand, houses offer a level of control and privacy that can appeal to many homebuyers. Owning a home means you can remodel, redecorate, and renovate without seeking permission from boards or neighbours (as long as you comply with zoning and bylaws).

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Condo vs House – Final Words

In the condo vs. house debate, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Condos offer affordability, convenience, and a built-in community, while houses provide autonomy, privacy, and more space to customize.

You can use us, the Kim and Howard Team, to help you find your dream home in the Toronto GTA area!

Consider your priorities, weigh the pros and cons, and make a choice that aligns with your vision of the perfect home. Look at market trends before making your final decision. After all, it’s not just a house or a condo—it’s where you’ll create lasting memories and turn your dreams into reality.

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