At the end of last year, I purchased my first home, a condo attached to other townhomes.
I have spent the majority of my life either renting a room in university out of a house, or in my childhood home, and as a result I have gained insight to my recent exposure to living in a condo vs. living in a house.
So if some of you are wondering which way to go, I am posting the pros and cons of these options.
Pros of a Condo and Cons of a House:
- You don’t have to take care of the outdoors in your home. You don’t need to worry about cutting the lawn, or cleaning out your gutters or buying a new roof. You pay a monthly condo fee that takes care of those things FOR you. The only outdoor work you may have to do is if you have your own private backspace. I personally am fortunate enough to have a fenced in area just for my unit with a garden and a deck, but no grass.
- You’re neighbours will hear/see more easily if something is wrong. This means that if someone is trying to break into your home, or the smoke alarm is going off, the odds are higher that help will be called because there are more people directly beside you.
- You’re heat bills will be less. You are sandwiched between two other houses that are heating their own unit, and their home is also adding extra insulation. I have found that a lot of people are surprised at my heating bill because of this simple occurrence. I understand that sometimes the units are so masterfully separated that this isn’t always the case, but I am just writing about my experience.
- Similar to a house, you don’t have to battle an elevator or multiple doors to bring in groceries. My front door has a glass first door, and then my steel second door that is the most effective should I need to slam it in someone’s face. The first door has on occasion slammed on my ankle, and forced me to trip over the threshold. However, in an apartment, I had to battle two sets of glass doors in the lobby, the elevator, then my front door, after I managed to make it up to the 7th floor. This newer set-up is preferable in my opinion.
- You’re home insurance costs less because the exterior is typically insured by the condo board. You are responsible for the interior insurance, but should a tree fall through your roof, that is their jurisdiction.
Cons of a Condo and Pros of a house:
- Privacy isn’t always the greatest in a condo. Your backspace often allows other owners or renters to easily snoop, and or just casually view your property or interior to your home. My own home isn’t that far from the sidewalk, and I have had the awkward moment of making eye contact with someone just walking down the sidewalk far too often.
- Space isn’t a thing. Sure you might purchase a roomy condo, but forget about having a sizeable backyard. I understand that there are houses without much backyards to speak of, and some high-end condos sometimes offer a bit more back space. However, as someone who grew up in the country, I prefer a private, mature treed, half acre lot at the very least.
- You can’t always do what you want to do on the property. Other than your city’s bylaws, when you own a lone standing house, if you want to park a trailer on your front lawn, you can. If you want to pick a solar panelled roof tile to cut energy costs and help the environment, that is your prerogative. In a condo, I reserve the right to change flooring, paint colour, change doors, etc. However, if I want to build a slightly higher fence to stop nosy neighbours taking a peek at my garden, I have to ask for permission. If I want to plant a blue spruce on my lawn between the sidewalk and my kitchen window, I am not allowed. If I want to fix the cracked front step leading to my front door, I can’t because that is not my jurisdiction. When they change the style of the front door, I have no say in what the style is.
- Lighting options aren’t in abundance. I can only have windows facing 2 directions because there are units on either side of me, and as someone who has lots of plants indoors and outdoors, this is disappointing.
- Depending on the construction of your condo, you might hear your neighbours a lot more than you’d like. I live beside two lovely units- one with an elderly woman, and another with a family with two small children. You can guess who makes the most noise. This doesn’t bother me all that much, on occasion during dinner, I sometimes will hear the shrill cry of a child. As someone who works a lot with children though, this doesn’t phase me that much, and the kids seem to calm down relatively quickly. It goes the other way as well however, if I am up late listening to TV or music, I have to keep the noise down because I don’t want to disturb sleeping kids on a school night. I know some houses are grouped very close together so they face this conundrum at times as well, however it is slightly less likely with an additional gap between your homes, as opposed to sharing a wall.
So there you have it, Pro’s and Con’s to Condos and Houses. In reality, I will more than likely want to move to a house over the next few years because I greatly miss wide open space and privacy, but for where I am at with my life currently, where I have no time to take care of a big backyard, or worry about a large roofing bill, this is an ideal setup that allows me to build equity.
Remember, a lot of these are just my own PERSONAL experiences, I am not saying these are everyone’s experiences. I am just saying these are what seem to be the case in this circumstance.
I apologize for the massive gap in my postings, times have somehow only managed to get even crazier, but regardless, thanks if you are taking the time to read through this.