With an endless supply of different types of homes available for purchase—from condos to townhouses to fully-detached homes—deciding on what type of home to purchase can be confusing. The type of home you buy will depend on your lifestyle and budget. You will also need to think about your current and future needs before you start searching for a home.
Is the house the right size for your needs and does it have the right combination of bedrooms, bathrooms and other living areas?
Do you plan to have children? Do you have teenagers who will be moving away soon? Are you close to retirement? Will you need a home that can accommodate different stages of life? Can the home grow with you over the next 5 to 10 years? Find a home that can grow and change with your needs. If you don't plan to be in the home for a long period of time, then certain aspects of the home may not concern you, such as extended stairs or location from other amenities.
Budgeting is also an important part of preparing yourself for the purchase of a home. Once you have the money available to make your home purchase a reality, you should weigh the following options to help decide what type of home is right for you.
A condo makes a great first home because it typically costs less than a townhouse or a detached home, which translates into a smaller down payment. But there are, however, monthly maintenance fees you must take into consideration when budgeting for a condo. Condos are also ideal for those who do not want to maintain a lawn or worry about clearing snow away from walkways and driveways.
Townhouses are typically vertical in design and some even come with attached garages. They blend the privacy of a single-family home with the benefits of the exterior condo maintenance, which is usually done by the homeowners’ association. Many townhouses are built in what is called planned unit developments (PUD), clustered communities that have areas for residential and commercial use, and public areas such as schools, parks and the like.
If condo life is not your style and you’re not looking for a big yard to maintain, a townhouse may be your best home purchase option. A townhouse costs less than a fully-detached home and results in cheaper property taxes as well.
Many townhouses also come with monthly maintenance fees unless they are freehold townhouses. In situations where you pay a monthly fee, however, you won’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance or snow removal.
If it’s privacy you’re seeking as well as a larger yard, a detached home is your ideal choice. Still, prices can vary drastically based on such variables as to whether you’re seeking a spot in the city, a place in the suburbs, or a more rural location.
The size of the property is an important thing to consider before you head out shopping. While everyone has their dream home in mind, this is not always a practical purchase choice, especially if this is your first home purchase.
When it comes to location, think about which area or neighbourhood you’d like to make your purchase, and which home features are absolutely essential, including what you can live without and what aspects are entirely out of the question.
Take a look at real estate ads for the area(s) you’re interested in to see what’s on the market and the price ranges. Also, drive around a few neighbourhoods and see what’s for sale or visit Open Houses. This can help crystallize what you want or don’t want in a home.
By making your first purchase modest and affordable, you will be putting money towards a mortgage that will build equity in that home. And once you’ve paid down a significant portion of that first home’s mortgage, you will then have more money to put towards an upgrade into your dream home.