Condo or single-family home: Which is best for you?

Congratulations, you’re ready to start thinking about your first home purchase! Depending on your budget, your lifestyle, and the responsibilities you’re prepared to take on, you could find yourself debating a single-family home or a condo.

If you’re just starting to dive into the type of home options available to you, here are some considerations when weighing the purchase of a single-family home versus a condo:



How much space do you need now and do you anticipate needing over the next few years? While a two-bedroom condo could be great today, if you foresee growing your family, needing to work from home, or having frequent guests, it could get pretty tight, pretty quickly.

Consider what the next 3 to 5 years will look like for you, your family, and your career when determining the amount of square footage you need.


Condo Fees

Depending on the area you purchase in and the year of the build, your single-family home may come with HOA dues, just like the condo you’re considering. Look into what the dues cover, how often they’re adjusted and by what percentage, and be sure you’re OK with having a lack of control over any annual increases.



Many cities have strict restrictions and permits required for pets. And even if you own your condo, you still may be at the mercy of strict HOA rules around pets. Do your research ahead of time, determine if pets are limited or restricted in any way, and decide on how important they are as a part of the home purchase equation.



If you’re looking at a single-family home, consider who will take care of the yard, pool, roof and more. How much home maintenance do you want to be responsible for managing yourself or for hiring out to someone else? If you’re looking for minimal maintenance and time commitment, a condo or townhome may be a better option.



If city living is more your style and you want to be within walking distance to a plethora of dining options and activities, a condo is likely your best option. Ensure you’re willing to sacrifice in the square footage in order to have a more preferential location.



If you’re looking for a private garage to house your vehicles and aren’t a fan of underground structures or parking on the street or in the open, a single-family home will better suit your needs.



Are you a private person who likes peace and quiet? Are you OK if you hear a neighbour through the walls or if someone possibly overhears you and your spouse in an argument? Depending on the amount of privacy you’re looking for, having a shared fence around a backyard instead of sharing a dining room wall may be best for you.



If you choose to live in a condo, it will probably come with many types of amenities such as a gym, a theatre room, an indoor or outdoor pool, a rooftop patio with a view, indoor parking and car washes. It might even have a 24-hour concierge service. These amenities come already in place and your condo fees cover those types of costs. If you choose to buy a single-family home, those amenities may not be in place and will cost you extra to have them installed.


Future rental plans for your home

If this is a home that you anticipate eventually turning into a rental property, determine what type of rent you could obtain for it at current rates and calculate whether it’ll cover added-in costs like condo feess, insurance, and maintenance.


Whether you opt for a single-family home or a condo, make sure you do your research and pick the style of home that’s most conducive to your budget and your lifestyle. The numbers matter when it comes to a purchase this big, but so does your comfort, so don’t settle for something that you won’t find yourself enjoying. An experienced REALTOR® can help you determine what type of home is right for you.