Vancouver

What's Right For You: Townhouse or Condo?

For first-time buyers, a condo seems the only way to get on the property ladder – but would a townhouse be a better bet? Real estate agent Barry Magee offers advice

By
Sutton West Coast Realty
October 23, 2014






Condo or townhouse

There are so many things to factor into the equation when you are looking at buying a property. In Vancouver, the house market is out of the question for many first-time home buyers, but is a townhouse out of the realm of possibility?

The primary consideration you'll want to look at first is your personal requirements. Making an informed decision is always the path to making the correct one, so let's analyze these two property styles and see which will provide you the functional, stable home you are looking for.

Identify Your Needs

The first factor you'll need to analyze is how much effort you want to put into maintaining the property with your own know-how, which includes any outside space. If you like to garden, maybe looking at a townhouse is the right path for you – or perhaps we can find you a nice garden-level condo with lots of potential.

What about kids? Are you and your partner planning on having a family? If so, can you see the little munchkins being fully occupied within the walls of a condo or is an upgrade to the next level of property a better scenario to give them more space?

Remember that a condominium usually comes with plenty of amenities to make life a little more convenient, such as access to an exercise facility or a friendly gardener who comes by once a month to mow your lawn, making it very appealing to a lot of potential buyers.

Level of Control

One very real advantage to living in a townhouse is the possibility of having a certain level of control over alterations to the home, within the restrictions set out by the complex as well as the city. This will generally provide you with a higher level of flexibility that you would get within a condominium. It's not quite the level of flexibility you would get with outright house ownership, but depending on the townhouse complex you buy into there can be a lot of freedom available.

When you buy into a condo, you have to follow all the guidelines set out by the strata corporation. In addition to this, you have to pay a monthly fee which is generally much higher than you would pay in a townhouse or free standing single family home.

Planning is Key

Planning is an essential part of the real estate process – it's of critical importance to ensure you are making the correct decision for yourself and your future. Familiarizing yourself with the different options while taking a look at your personal financial capability is the key to choosing well.

Condo associations are full of rules that are decided by the community of owners within the building. So if you are OK with only having one voice among many in the decision making process, or even prefer it, this is a great option. If the thought of strict rules preventing you from making choices for your home gives you nightmares, but aren't able to afford a single family home, then exploring townhouse ownership could be a great middle ground. But if a maintenance-free lifestyle is just want the doctor ordered, then purchasing a great condo unit will ultimately provide the happiness and security you are looking for.

There are great options out there for first-time home buyers, even in a market like Vancouver.


Barry Magee is a Vancouver-based REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty at 4387 Main Street, Vancouver. He has an extensive background in marketing, and brings a consultative approach to the table for his real estate clients.
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