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Selecting a home type

Don't be pressured into buying a home that is not right for you. There are a lot of choices out there and a lot of pressure to buy. Here are the Pros and Cons of the various options, as well as a comparison of resale homes vs. new homes purchased directly from the builder.
  • Apartment
  • Condo/Freehold Townhouse
  • Semi-Detached
  • Detached
  • Re-Sale Home vs. New from Builder
  • New Home from Builder

Condo Apartment

Pros: 
Lowest purchase price, lowest taxes. 
Virtually maintenance free — no snow shoveling or lawn mowing. 
Convenient for singles, childless couples and empty nesters.

Cons: 
Lower resale value, hardest to re-sell and can be difficult to finance with low down payment. 
Can have large maintenance fees that can substantially increase carrying costs. 
No private yard so you can't enjoy backyard activities such as barbecuing, gardening, etc. Share common walls with neighbours — if they're noisy you're out of luck.

Condo/Freehold Townhouse

Pros: 
Lower purchase price and taxes than semi or detached and less maintenance. 
Better resale value than condo apartment. 
May have a backyard.

Cons:
Lower re-sale value than semi or detached and harder to re-sell 
Don't own the land — the most valuable asset (unless freehold Townhouse). 
Share common walls and close to neighbours.

Semi-Detached

Pros:
Most privacy at least cost — great for first-time buyer. 
You own the land — the appreciating asset — bricks and mortar depreciate. 
Good resale value and easy re-sell. 
Easy to finance at best rates. 
Usually has larger yard than townhouse, more backyard activities possible.

Cons:
Share a common wall with neighbours. 
Higher price per square foot of living space than a townhouse in a similar location.

Detached

Pros:
Best resale value and you own the land, the main appreciating asset. 
Most privacy, least noise from neighbors because there are no common walls. 
Most desirable type of home with greatest perceived value. 
Lower priced detached homes tend to sell quickly because of the combination of prestige and affordability.

Cons:
Highest purchase price and property taxes.

Re-Sale Home vs. New from Builder

As a first-time buyer, another major decision you may have to make is whether to purchase a re-sale home or a new home directly from a builder. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Here's how they compare.

Re-Sale Home

Pros:
Lower prices because of some wear and tear (which varies greatly — check closely!) 
You get the benefit of upgrades (finished basement, pool, etc.) at a depreciated price. 
Established neighborhood, current neighbors, etc., are known entities although they can change.

Cons:
Home has been used by others. 
No warranty for repairs required by law, although it can be made a condition of purchase. 
If existing décor is not to your liking, it can be expensive and time consuming to change.

New Home from Builder

Pros:
You are the first occupant and the house is yours to decorate as you wish. 
Purchase price includes colours, design features, etc. that you select, usually with negotiable upgrades. 
Protection from construction deficiencies is usually required by Provincial Law.

Cons:
There is often an extended period of time without lawns or paved driveways, and with dust from unsodded areas and construction traffic. 
There can be problems with permits or trade strikes that prevent timely completion and occupancy. 
Defects in construction may not be addressed promptly. 
Some closing costs apply to new homes that do not exist with resales.
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