Wednesday, 24 September 2014

House vs Condo: Where Should You Be?

So, you’ve decided to make a move. Maybe it’s your first time, maybe you’re just
ready for a change. There are so many questions to go through. Needs vs. Wants lists
to make. Where do I want to live? What do I want to be close to? Who do I
want to be close to? Should I hire a professional? (Yes, you should!)
Today I want to address a question some people may not even think about right away:
Should I buy a House or a Condo?
We’ve all seen the huge increase in condo construction in our fine city, they are
popping up everywhere. Why? Because there is a real market for them! Everything from
small, one bed room “studio” style, to massive, luxury penthouse suites. So, could a
condo be right for you? Let’s find out.
I’ll admit, when I first started home shopping, and before I got into the business of Real
Estate, the idea of a condo never really appealed to me. It just seemed like I’d be living
in a glorified apartment, and paying, in some cases as much as I would for a home. My
thinking was, if I’m going to pay that much, why wouldn’t I want to get a yard and a
basement in the package?
But, after having seen so many, and really learning what they are all about, and what
goes into owning one, I can really see the appeal in them, for a few market
demographics. They certainly aren’t for everyone. If you have a family, or are planning
to soon, condo living likely isn’t right for you. The same goes for someone who loves 
having a yard and/or garden to play with. If you love growing things, you may not enjoy a condo.
However, maybe you’re a young, single, working professional, with long hours and
crazy schedules, (or even a young “power couple”!), or perhaps you’re an “empty
nester” looking to enjoy your retirement years travelling. These are just a few of 
the people that can really benefit from the condo lifestyle. 
There are several advantages - Security: Just lock your door and disappear! No one
will notice your long term absence, and, if it’s properly managed, someone is keeping
an eye on the building. No maintenance: You’ve got no yard to mow, and, in the winter,
no snow to shovel. If you have to be gone long term, or if you keep odd hours, you don’t
need to ask others to cover it, and your property won’t “get away” from you. Insurance:
Your insurance costs will be much lower, as the rules are different for condos.
Utility costs: You’re heating only the space you’re using, and it will
generally only have one or two exterior walls.
Having said all this, you still need to be careful. There are numbers and “features” to
consider: Should I go apartment or townhome style? What’s the difference? Do I get covered/heated parking, or will I be parking outdoors all winter? Is there a storage unit?
What are the monthly condo fees, and what do they cover for that money? Do they
include utilities? Is there a rec area, like a gym, or a common room, or even a pool? And if there is, am I actually likely to make use of those spaces? Does it have in-suite
laundry? If not, are they “coin-operated” machines?
I’d also like to go back to my point about getting more for your money in a home. Lets
do a quick comparison, using rough numbers. (These numbers are by no means
indicative of current market trends, in homes or condos!) Lets say you are paying $200k
for a 900sf house, with full basement and a single garage, vs paying the same $200k for
a 900sf apartment style condo. At first glance, you are getting more “space” for your
money in the home. But think about this: are you likely going to use that (possibly
unfinished) basement? Because if you aren’t, aren’t you really just paying for dead
space? Not to mention the ongoing costs of maintaining and heating/cooling all that
space? And the ongoing maintenance of the yard/property. That can really start to add
up over time. Yes, in a condo you may be paying monthly fees for this. But in many
cases they will be lower in the long run. And yes, some of your fees are going to be
paying someone else, but at the end of the day, it can be a small thing for the
convenience you get. What about equity? Isn’t there more to be gained in home
ownership? Sort of. A home is more likely to appreciate a little faster, and likely sell
faster as well. But condos do give you equity! They are not “throwing money away”.
Again, it will come down to how the numbers play out, and exactly what you want in
your life. Yes, there is a lot to consider, but, with expert help and guidance, the decision
doesn’t have to be scary. 
This post is by no means comprehensive or exact, but if you have any questions or
comments, or if you, or someone you know, is thinking about a move but doesn’t know
where to start, please, get in touch with me, lets look at your options, and talk about
what you’re after. Your home is a huge part of your lifestyle, and it’s worth the
discussion. I’m always happy to sit down and go through any questions or concerns!
(204) 990-3467,

No comments:

Post a Comment