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If you’re looking to buy a house in Canada, you’ll be met with plenty of options when it comes to the different types available. Finding your perfect place is about more than just choosing your ideal neighbourhoods and confirming a budget, it’s about selecting a style of home that best suits your needs. Before you get started with the hunt, it’s wise to learn more about the different types of dwellings you’ll encounter in property listings and what characteristics each one has that make it unique.
By definition, a detached home is one that’s entirely separate from other buildings and stands on its own. It doesn’t share a wall with another residence and as such, can be much more expensive to purchase, especially in larger cities where demand is high and supply is short. Typically detached homes have both a front and back yard which makes them great for families or anyone that’s looking for extra living space. The extra privacy and space will come at a cost, though. Not only will the price tag be a lot higher, but you’ll also need to factor in maintenance and upkeep for a larger home as well as the outdoor space it comes with. This means landscaping, maintenance of a lawn, driveway, fence, potential garage and more.
Semi-detached homes come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one main factor in common; they share a wall with another home. As such, they tend to be more affordable than fully detached homes. What you trade in privacy, you make up for with affordability. If you plan to consider this type of dwelling it’s always wise to pay close attention to how thick or thin the shared wall is and what rooms are built off of it so you can get a better sense of how loud it will be to live directly next to a neighbour. Most often you’ll have a private front and back yard as well. It’s important to note that since semi-detached homes share a main wall, they also tend to share other items like a fence or driveway. Be sure to ask about which pieces are yours to maintain/use and which are a shared responsibility.
Duplexes and Triplexes
Duplexes contain two units, while triplexes contain three. Both are multilevel homes where each floor typically houses one unit and has its own entrance. Similar in style to semi-detached houses, these options are usually more affordable, but you’ll want to make sure you’re very familiar with what is shared space and what is yours when it comes to the front and backyards, any driveways/parking spots or garages. You’ll likely encounter this style of building more as a renter than you would a buyer, but there’s always the possibility of purchasing a multi-unit space as an investment property if you’re looking to dip your toes into the rental market.
This style of home is similar to a semi-detached, but instead of sharing one common wall with a neighbour on one side, townhouses share walls on both sides (unless you happen to live in a unit at the end of the row). While this style of home is typically cheaper than detached and semi-detached homes, that isn’t to say there are no luxury options available in certain areas. When it comes to outdoor space, some townhouses will have private backyards while others may have rooftop terraces or ground floor patios that each individual unit owner is responsible for. This style of home can often be rented, purchased or sometimes even run as a condominium, so be sure to ask what your options are if you’ve got your eyes set on one in your area.
Bungalows are a very popular style of detached home whose main characteristics involve minimal stairs and the maximizing of a single floor layout. While some may have small staircases to an upper or lower level, the premise of these homes is to cram as much living space as possible into one floor. As a result, bungalows are often a lot more accessible for anyone with mobility issues. As they’re typically an older style home, you likely won’t find bungalows in newer build areas or neighbourhoods as two-story homes tend to be preferred by many potential buyers these days.
This style of home is one you won’t find in new subdivisions or build areas as it’s also an older style home. The premise of a split-level home is that it’s split up, or has many different levels throughout. Typically you’ll find common living spaces like the kitchen, living room and dining room on the main level, with the upper level containing the bedrooms and the lower level reserved for spaces like family rooms, laundry rooms etc. Split-level homes can have all different types of layouts, but the most common tend to be side-split or back-split.
Condominiums (or “condos” for short) are similar to apartment buildings but work with a different type of ownership structure. Typically residents can rent or own units and a condo corporation runs the building itself by maintaining common areas, providing security, keeping up the ground and hiring maintenance staff to deal with any issues that may need attention on the grounds. Condos are often available in many different sizes so there’s likely something for everyone depending on the size of the building and what types of units it offers. You can expect to find bachelor units, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and even three-bedroom condos, all in a variety of square footage sizes. Keep in mind that the bigger your unit is, the more you’ll pay in condo fees each month, so be sure to ask about that when viewing a unit for sale.
Many condo buildings will offer owners or renters bonus immunities like a fitness centre, pool, sauna, party room, games room, rooftop terrace and more, in exchange for monthly condo fees. Some upper-scale condos may even offer additional items like concierge services. If you’re considering a condo, it’s wise to ask about amenities, fees and how the condo corporation functions in advance, so you know exactly what you’ll be getting for the price tag on your unit.
No matter what your budget may be, there are plenty of different housing options to suit your needs in Canada, just keep in mind that the style of home you choose is one factor that will influence the overall cost. Whether you’re looking for a newer build or would prefer something nestled into an older area, determining your must-haves will help you find the best option for you and your family. Keep an open mind when looking for a home and make it a point to check out properties that may not have originally been a first choice. Sometimes looking at different options will help you better home in on what you truly want and need in a new home. Curious about next steps and how to approach down payments, financing and more? Reach out to our team of experts!