Now that you’ve decided to purchase your first home and have checked out your finances with a mortgage professional, it’s time to start looking. But at what? You really want to have a good idea of what type of home you are looking for before you start out. Otherwise, you can end up looking at so many homes, condos and apartments only to come out confused or overwhelmed. So how do you start to narrow down the search? You need to have an idea of what type of homes are available.
Single Family Homes
These provide the most privacy in terms of housing. This is a stand alone home on its own yard. You are responsible for all home and yard maintenance. A lot of people looking to purchase their first home automatically think that it should be a single family home. That might not always be the best option though. When starting out, remember that your finances might mean you are looking at a single family home that will need a lot of repairs or updating. Make sure you plan for the costs that may incur. It often ends up costing MUCH more than one expects when repairing and renovating, so make sure that you will have enough in your monthly budget.
Single Family Attached Homes
These homes have a shared wall between 2 or more homes. It is usually less expensive than the single detached home but still may maintain some of the benefits such as the yard and possibly a basement and garage. Usually you own both the home and some yard and as such, you are responsible for the maintenance of both. These can include duplex, triplex, fourplex, townhouses and rowhouses.
You purchase the individual unit you live in (wall board to wall board), which is part of a multi-unit property. You have shared ownership of the land and common areas such as hallways, parking facilities and heating system. The owners form a condo board which runs the building . Condos come in many forms, such as bungalows, townhouses, carriage homes, stacked townhouses and apartments. One of the great advantages in owning a condo is that you don’t need to worry about yard maintenance and exterior home repairs such as roofs. Some condo developments have restrictions in place such as minimum age of residents and whether pets are allowed or not. A monthly condo fee usually exists which may vary in amount and may cover things such as some or all utilities, recreation fees, landscaping, snow removal and property management.
Single family home built in a factory and moved to where it will be lived in. On the surface, it can look like an attractive and more affordable option. The land on which it is though, is not owned by the home owner and there is usually a HIGH monthly lot fee to pay. In addition, it can sometimes be harder to get financing especially on an older home. Resale can also be more difficult.
Your realtor will be able to help you filter through the options and figure out what type of home would best suit you to start out in. Remember, when you’re purchasing your first home, it won’t necessarily be your ultimate dream home, but rather a huge step towards that goal.
CMHC: Which Home Is Right For You?
RE/MAX Western Canada: Condo Buyers Guide
Step 4: What Do Your Want In Your Home?