December 31, 2020 | Buying

If you’re looking to purchase a relatively affordable living space in Toronto, you may want to think beyond detached homes. For many prospective buyers, it comes down to a condo or townhouse. Both property types have potential pros and cons—and understanding them is the key to making an informed purchase.

If you’re torn between buying a condo or townhouse, here’s what you should know…

Condo Basics

A condo is a private living space within a larger building or complex. Owners generally have access to shared onsite amenities (such as a pool or exercise room) along with common areas (like lobbies, elevators, and hallways).

Do you think this unique home type might be right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits and potential drawbacks of condo living.

Condo Living Pros

For many buyers, the biggest advantage of this property type is affordability. While their price tags vary, condos tend to be the least-costly options on the market. If you secure one, you can decorate it to your taste, begin building your equity, and (in general) enjoy the benefits of homeownership.

Another major pro of buying a condo is the low-maintenance lifestyle it provides. Living in a unit means not having to worry about landscaping, snow removal, or major building repairs and replacements. A portion of your monthly maintenance fees will go towards covering these costs.

Other upsides include access to convenient (and fun) amenities, building security features (such as double doors, intercoms, and concierges), and a sense of community.

Condo Living Cons

Of course, living in a condo can come with some downsides, too. First off, there are those pesky maintenance fees. This monthly sum varies from one building (and unit) to the next, but it’s bound to be at least a few hundred dollars. It goes towards maintaining common areas, covering utilities (though when units have separate HVACs, there’s an extra cost), and stocking the reserve fund (which is set aside for big-ticket building repairs).

Some buyers also opt not to buy a unit due to privacy concerns. Depending on a building’s soundproofing, its residents may hear one another now and then. Noise is another worry—restrictive sound regulations can be a turnoff for some, as can the possibility of having loud neighbours.

Townhouses: What to Know

A townhouse is an attached home that shares at least one wall with a neighbouring unit. These living spaces can be ideal for buyers seeking affordability—and a little more space than most condos can provide.

What many buyers don’t know is, there are two types of townhouses: freehold and condo. When it comes to the former, you’ll own your unit and the land it sits on. In contrast, if you buy a condo townhouse, you’ll only own your unit’s interior. You may also pay monthly fees to a homeowner’s association, which will take care of general building upkeep and repairs.

Thinking of buying a townhouse? Here are some of the pros and cons associated with this property type.

Townhouse Pros

Townhomes tend to be more affordable than detached homes. At the same time, they usually provide more square footage than condos. As a result, they can be the ideal compromise for budget-conscious buyers who want room to spread out.

When it comes to maintenance, townhouses also require less upkeep than detached. Put simply, they’re smaller—which means less space to care for. If you choose a condo townhouse, your homeowner’s association may perform exterior building maintenance tasks for you.

Whichever type of townhouse you choose, there’s a good chance you’ll have better direct access to outdoor space than you would with a condominium. Opting for this property type can mean enjoying a back or front yard—and if you go the freehold townhouse route, you could even own it.

Townhouse Cons

When it comes to money, townhouses tend to be more expensive than condos. Of course, there are other costs to factor in. If you go the freehold route, you’ll need to consider ongoing maintenance and utilities.

Opt for a condo townhouse, and your monthly fees will take a bite out of your paycheque. You’ll also have to follow the rules and regulations set out by your homeowner’s association. For many prospective buyers, that can feel restrictive.

Then there are the potential downsides associated with sharing a wall (or else a floor or ceiling, in the case of stacked townhouses). For this reason, some buyers have privacy and noise concerns, just as they would for a condo.

Condo vs. Townhouse: Making a Decision

Condos and townhouses both offer great value for money, though there are some differences between the two. That said, understanding ownership models (freehold vs. condo) is also key.

At the end of the day, the home type that’s right for you will depend on a few factors, including your budget, desired square footage, and preferred lifestyle. A skilled local agent can help you find the perfect place for your needs!

Looking for an agent with the right expertise in Etobicoke? Get in touch! We can discuss what you’re looking for—and how we can help you find it.