Should You Buy a House or a
by: John Carle & Sharon Gregresh
A big debate these days is whether or not to buy
a house, or buy a condo. Most of this debate comes
from a lack of understanding about condos, and what
they are. Hopefully, the following information will
prove to be helpful.
When Buying a condo, are you a tenant?
No. That simply isn't true. When you buy a condo,
you are buying a part of the corporation, and are
thus an equal owner. It is true that you can be
forced to move, if you are really disturbing the
other owners, or causing problems. But this is true
of residential homes as well. If your neighbors
complain repeatedly about smell, health concerns,
or criminal behavior, then you may be forced to
move. The same holds true in condos and houses alike.
The board can force you to pay thousands of dollars
arbitrarily, and without notice.
At first glance, this may appear to be true. But
keep in mind that the condo association is made
up of owners who have the same goal as you
Having a comfortable place to live that is building
equity. The members of the condo association do
not make any money from their positions. They are
owners like yourself, who are volunteering their
time. There can, however, be "special levy's"
brought about by unexpected maintenance in the building.
The same holds true of a house as well; the expenses
just come from a different place. Ask anyone who
owns a house how much it cost them for their last
furnace. Or how much they spent repairing the water
leak, and replacing the shingles. The advantage
in a condo association is that you share these costs
with the other owners, and are forced to save money
in advance for these repairs, through the reserve
fees cost too much each month!
Again, not necessarily true. If you were to add
up the amount of money that a family spends over
5 years on the maintenance of their house, you'll
usually notice that it equals more than 5 years
worth of condo fees. Also, many condo associations
pay for their monthly expenses as a group. Heat,
water, insurance, and maintenance are examples of
such expenses. By purchasing as a group, they can
often get these services at a lower rate than a
single home owner can.
I could never live in such close quarters
That's probably true. Condos aren't for everyone.
Every person has to make their own decision, based
upon their own lifestyle; now and in the future.
If you have 3 large dogs, 3.5 children, and 4 cars
a condo probably isn't for you. But, if you're a
single young executive who works 80 hours a week,
or you're retired and travel most of the year, then
perhaps a condo is the right choice for you. Only
you can make that decision, as it is a lifestyle
choice. Here are some factors to consider in your
1. How much time do you spend at home?
2. Do you want to shovel walks and mow lawns?
3. Are you used to having your neighbours far away
4. Is the condo association that you're considering
favorable to your children's lifestyle?
5. Do you want a low maintenance home, or do you
like tinkering in the yard and garage?
6. Who's going to be living there? What are the
In fact, these are issues to consider on any home,
not just a condominium. It's just as easy to get
"bad" neighbors when you buy a house as
it is when you buy a condo. The best advice that
can be given is to research your choices, and be
objective when choosing a home. My favorite example
of this is as follows:
"A friend of mine asked me to help him find
a home. He's a single young man who travels 75%
of the time for his job and is rarely at home. When
he is home, all he wants to do is sleep and watch
TV. He wanted to buy an acreage so that he could
have privacy. After looking at the amount of continuous
maintenance required for an acreage, he realized
that acreage living wasn't for him. He's very happy
in his apartment style condo."
Make your own decisions, based upon what's best
for you. If a condo is where you'll be happiest,
then buy a condo. If a house is what's right for
you, buy a house.
About The Author
John Carle & Sharon Gregresh are Realtors with
Royal LePage - ArTeam in St. Albert, AB. They pride
themselves on providing more than just real estate
sales and listings. Their clients benefit from a
much larger spectrum or real estate services. Contact
them any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
or through their website at www.workingtogether.ca.
They can be reached by phone at (780) 458-5595