Buying your first home is an exciting step in your life–a step that signifies you are financially stable, have a solid income and are ready to take on permanent housing. Whether you’re moving from your parent’s home or an apartment, buying your first home may be a taste of freedom and responsibility that you’ve been craving. One thing is for sure: you will receive plenty of advice from family members, friends, co-workers and probably even your realtor but it’s important to keep your particular circumstances in mind and weigh all the factors before you make this important decision.
The main variables to consider when you’re buying your first home include your lifestyle and location, privacy, the rules of ownership you will have to abide by, maintenance costs and the financial impact of your decision. Adding up pros and cons in writing can be a great way to review and make a balanced decision–and it might even provide you with some strong talking points that you can share with well-meaning parents!
Lifestyle and Location
Younger singles, couples and families are often at the height of their career, making it important to be close to work, schools and activities. You’ll often find better schools and a more exciting array of options closer to major cities–which is where you are more likely to find a condo or townhome. If you won’t be spending a great deal of time at your house, it may not be important to have a large yard which puts several points in favor of condos and townhomes as well. It’s important to keep in mind how long you plan to live in the home as well. If you only plan to be there a few years before moving to a home with more land or in a different location, buying a less-expensive townhome that could be quickly sold would be critical.
Privacy is a tricky topic–incredibly important to some people, while others are not as concerned with whether or not their nosy neighbors can peer in their windows. If you do have concerns about noise, townhomes and condos may be a bit more challenging to consider. Condos especially are more like an expensive long-term apartment than a home, while townhouses tend to be larger and have better sound-proofing and function more like a standalone home. If keeping your neighbors at bay is the most relevant consideration, then a single family home with some land is your best option.
Rules of Ownership
Condo and townhome associations can be pretty strict, and control nearly every aspect of your purchase from where you can park your vehicle to whether or not you can barbeque on the deck. While buying a traditional home can sound like the best option for personal control, keep in mind that having a townhouse or condo also likely means that you’ll have access to special amenities such as a pool, clubhouse or fitness facility.
Maintenance Time and Costs
Buying a home of your own requires a fair amount of handyman skills as you will encounter everything from pipes that could freeze and burst to lawns that need to be mowed and the potential of things like termites, ants and spiders–there is always plenty of excitement! Townhomes and condos often win out for busy professionals as maintenance is generally included in the contracts and you won’t need to purchase tools and gear. Having a maintenance contract is also a huge bonus if you travel a lot.
One of the main reasons people decide to move from an apartment into a home is because they are frustrated with paying high monthly rent but never gaining any purchase equity. Depending on your personal financial situation, purchasing a home may put unnecessary financial stress on your family with the addition of property taxes, private mortgage insurance and the higher overall purchase price. That said, condo and townhouse owners may be subject to additional homeowner’s association fees to pay for the amenities and you may have little control over how much the fees go up each year.
You might also find the bank becoming a bit more interested in your finances if you’re purchasing a home as the purchase price causes the bank to make a larger down payment and also may subject you to a full financial review. In general, the larger the down payment you can afford to make, the better.
No matter which type of home you choose, buying your first home is an experience you will always remember. Rank each factor in order of importance, and (if you’re feeling really fancy) add a weight and let mathematics make your decision for you. While that can certainly help you get a general idea of which option would be better, the practice of writing out what’s important will help you think through the decision thoroughly so you will have no regrets once it is made. Buying a townhouse is a balanced option that gives you the best of both worlds: a lower mortgage payment, more privacy, some maintenance support and great locations.
When you’re ready to start looking, you’ll find that the Bobois neighborhood is located near one of the largest Montreal urban community parks and offers many of the same amenities as owning your own home such as beautiful nature trails, playgrounds and bicycle paths. Make a reservation to learn more today!