Real Estate

Condo vs Townhouse: Where do you really want to live in Kitsilano?

By Anne Abraham

Everyone at some point dreams of owning their own castle. More accurately, they dream of owning their own home. But really, who doesn’t see their home as a castle? But going through the process of finding the right home is the hard part. The question we get a lot from people looking to buy a home is “so, is a townhouse or condo better?” Honestly, the answer to that is actually dependent on the individual. Let’s first try to understand the difference between the two.

A condo (or condominium) is a unit within a larger building or property. On the other hand, a townhouse is usually an individual house that is placed side-by-side other similar homes and often share walls with the adjacent homes.

Now that we know the difference, let’s take a look at what we’ve come up with to help you imagine the kind of home you’d like to live in.

Analyse who you are

Everyone knows that how you define yourself is really important. At first, you might not think there’s any difference between being the owner of a townhouse or condo. But, let us tell you that there really is a difference. The type of home you buy says a lot about you. Home owners hold a distinct aura about them that is easily overlooked. If you pay attention, you might notice that a townhouse owner may have an “Time to start a family” air around them, or a young condo owner might have that look that says, “No going home now, mom. I’m completely independent.”

Let’s answer some questions about ourselves first:

  • Do you want a yard?
  • Do you want kids?
  • How much space do you want versus how much space do you need?
  • Do you care about location?
  • Do you want the bachelor pad feel?
  • Do you want to be the single lady striking out on her own?
  • Do you want a space for your family?

Knowing your own self can make choosing between a condo and townhouse so much easier. Only you know what your true wants and needs are. While we are happy to help you figure out your home desires, the decision is ultimately in your hands.

Lifestyle convenience

You might be able to get deeper into the action of Kitsilano by renting in a condo, but it might take you farther from the school you want to send your children. Location makes a world of difference to your way of life. Let’s be real, a young single professional would probably prefer the convenience of a city where the lifestyle is busy and everything is a short walk away. Whereas a newlywed couple would likely choose a location a little farther out where they can grow their family and have a yard for their children. Luckily for you, Kitsilano has many options for both types of homes within walking distance to the main shopping areas on West 4th, West Broadway, and Arbutus.

Aside from a convenient location, the convenience of maintaining the property should also be considered. Taking care of a garden is a lot of work. If it’s something that you love doing, maybe consider the townhouse option. In most Strata buildings the garden areas within your townhouse strata lot would be taken care of by the gardening company hired by the building, but sometimes you are allowed to care and plant different kinds of vegetation. But if you can never find time to care for the plants, it’s better do without. With condos you still have the luxury of not having to worry about maintenance of the outside of your home because the strata will cover that.

A common comparison between the two are stairs. Young families have the capability to traverse up and down the stairs daily. Having your home split over multiple levels offers the type of privacy duplexes or houses have, at a substantially lower cost. When these families get bigger or when the kids move out, it is also common to see the owners opt for a bigger home or downsize into a smaller home. Living in a townhouse also avoids the issues of dealing with noise. No noisy neighbours above you won’t cause noise to neighbours below you. Because of these reasons townhouses are popular choices for young families to allow their kids to run around freely without fear of disturbance!

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What can you realistically afford

Sometimes what you want isn’t actually within the realm of affordability.  Can you afford HOA (Home Owner’s Association) or the strata maintenance fees? Both of these options have them. The fees cover unit exterior maintenance and insurance to cover pricey items such as elevators, parking structures, roofs, and trash removal, however depending on the size of the development and amenities included in the development, the fees can vary. For example, within the same development, a 1300 sqft three bedroom townhouse is likely to have higher fees than a 1100 sqft three bedroom condo.

We know that what you want to hear is that condos, in the long run, are more affordable than townhouses, but if you can afford a townhouse, it is well worth the investment. There is less supply of it than condos and they are generally larger, effectively increasing the price of the home. Duplexes and single detaches homes in Kitsilano can easily go above $2,000,000; the good in-between home would be townhouses. They offer the privacy, lifestyle, and benefits of duplexes and detaches houses without the additional maintenance responsibilities.

No matter on the stage you are in your life, it is always a good idea to talk with a real estate professional to go over your goals in the short and long term, to help determine which type of home is right for you. Although condos and townhouses may seem similar with only a couple of minor differences, in reality, they require careful consideration including the aforementioned lifestyle and cost differences.

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