Condo Apartment or Freehold Home?

With Interest rates at an all time low, it is a great time to buy real estate in Toronto. Home owners are upgrading and first time home buyers are taking the plunge. As a Realtor, a common question asked by many of my buyer clients is what route to should take; purchase a condo apartment or a freehold home. My answer…well it depends.

Condo ownership offers buyers a few advantages over a owning a free hold property with affordability being a key factor. First time buyers especially usually cannot afford to purchase a freehold home, so a condo is a great and affordable stepping stone for those looking to enter the real estate market. Condos also offer a low maintenance lifestyle as there is no cutting of the lawn or emptying of the gutters. A monthly maintenance fee is paid to the condo corporation to cover building costs such as these.

One of the downsides about condo living is the lack of privacy. With walls being the only separation between you and your neighbour, ultimate privacy is extremely difficult to come by in a condo. You park in an underground parking lot with the rest of the residents, you ride the same elevator as your neighbours and unless you have a completely unobstructed view, more often than not there is another condo building in sight. Condos, generally speaking also tend to lack space, unless of course you are splurging for a large luxury unit. The living room is also the dining room which blends in with the kitchen and the laundry is in the front hall closet. Get the idea?

For those where money is less of an issue or are looking to upgrade, freehold living may be the best way to go. Detached homes especially, offer the most privacy as owners have their own land, own backyard and a private driveway. There is no sharing of common elements which also means no common maintenance fees to pay. With that being said, the owner is physically and financially responsible for maintaining their property. If the roof needs replacing, guess who’s pocket that’s coming out of.

Owning a home can be an exciting yet stressful process. Evaluate your financial position and your needs and wants before diving into a purchase. Owning a freehold home is great for privacy but condo living is a maintenance free way to live.

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