The number one most important consideration for home-buyers is to invest in the right type of property, yet it’s probably the most overwhelming and confusing part of the buying process…
As a renter, there are currently a lot of options out there for you to choose from when you are looking for a new home–and I’m not talking about just the number of available units on the market.
When people talk about searching for a new place to rent, the first thing that comes to mind is usually an apartment/condominium or a townhouse. If you think past those, you’ve got options of a full house, a main floor or basement suite, a duplex or fourplex, or even garage suites are being seen more and more in certain areas of the city. That’s a sh*t ton of options and advertisements to sift through to find your new home.
So, how do you decide what the right fit is for you? Well, let’s look at some of the factors that may help narrow down the options; such as: how many people will be residing in the suite? What type of community do you want to live in? Do you have any pets? What amenities do you value? Do you have a vehicle or do you take public transit? You could continue to dive further into your list of questions until you have your perfect home picked out; however, keep in mind that finding the exact property that checks all the boxes of your wish list is highly unlikely.
Let’s look at the basics of your main options for properties and how they may meet the criteria or your wants & needs:
This type of property usually offers a smaller amount of space and lower number of bedrooms, as they are located in busier, high-density areas. These areas usually attract people who like to live, work and play all in close proximity so these areas offer amenities that are within walking distance and effective public transit that is convenient and easily accessible. Due to these buildings being located in high-density areas parking is usually limited so the use of a vehicle is difficult. As apartments/condo’s are located within a multi-level building you will need to be okay with being close to other people as you will have neighbors on multiple sides of your suite.
Since apartments are governed by a Condo board/association the upkeep of the property is usually very minimal. There is no lawn work or snow removal needing to be completed. This also means that green space is limited. If you are the type of person who likes to spend their weekends mowing the lawn or having a backyard BBQ with all your friends, then an apartment/condo is probably not the space for you.
For certain pet owners, this also may not be the right fit for you either. You won’t be able to let your dog out into the yard whenever it needs to go out. Also, a lot of condo boards only allow small pets or cats only which is something else that should be taken into consideration for all of you pet owners.
Apartments may lack some of the extra space a house or townhouse can offer but can offer extra amenities that other properties can’t. Some apartment/condo buildings have swimming pools, party/billiards rooms, and for those who like physical activity can sometimes have a gym to access at their convenience.
A townhouse has similar characteristics to a condo but offers more space and the option for more bedrooms & bathrooms. These types of properties are also still located nearby transit and amenities; however, parking options are usually greater, so the convenience of your own vehicle is possible.
If you have a higher amount of people or a family living in the suite, a townhouse offers more space and multiple floors so there is some separation of that space. Normally your bedrooms and main washroom will reside on an upper level while the living space, kitchen and half-bathroom will be on the main floor, and the basement will offer extra living space if finished or storage if unfinished and a laundry room/mechanical room.
As these units do offer a bit more privacy compared to apartments/condo’s, you still have units on either side of you unless you are an end unit. Other rows of buildings may also be close together, so even if you are not attached at the front or back of your building, there will likely still other people within close proximity to your home.
Townhouses do offer some private yard space however it is not overly large. This does give a better option for pet owners but again you will need to be careful as certain condo board/associations for townhouses have similar specifications with pets as there are still multiple people living within a close proximity. The bonus to a townhouse is that most of the yard upkeep/snow removal is taken care of for you, similar to a condo. The only space you are normally responsible for would be within a fenced yard space attached to the unit.
3. Main Floor Suite
These suites are usually located in more suburban areas where density is lower. These suites can offer a larger number of bedrooms and bathrooms and be suited for families or multiple roommates. Parking is more abundant with street parking or a garage available. Amenities are usually a further distance away and need to be accessed by a vehicle. Public transit is available but pick up times are further apart and travel times are longer.
A yard space is a bonus to these properties. If you like to spend your time outside in the yard or have a pet that likes to run around, then these properties may be a good fit for you. Just be aware that residents are responsible for the upkeep of the lawn and shoveling of any snow as per city by-law.
The other convenience of this property is that laundry can either be in-suite or shared in a common area with the basement suite.
You will also find more privacy in these suites as you only have one neighbor connected to you below and yard space separating you from your neighbours beside or behind.
4. Basement Suite
A basement suite can be a great option for a single person, couples or roommates who like privacy, and it offers the options of yard space and parking. These units are the same as the main floor suite based on location in a suburban area with lower density and amenities not as conveniently accessible. The size is usually slightly smaller and your amount of natural light will also be less. Windows are found in each bedroom with maybe one other found in the living space or kitchen.
Something you will need to be aware of is that not all basement suites have a thermostat located in the suite and the temperature of the unit may be controlled by the upstairs resident.
Yard space at the property is accessible by the resident but is shared with the main floor suite and some yard upkeep/snow removal could be the responsibility of the basement resident.
Like the main floor, you will find more privacy with the only neighbour connected to your suite is the main floor resident above with other neighbours being separated by yard space.
Now that you have some general characteristics of the options out there you can go back to that list of questions and see how your answers compare to the different types of units. Once you have narrowed it down to the type of property that best suits your wants & needs you can dive into the search engines and not be overwhelmed by a huge number of advertisements to sift through.
Questions? Ask them! Contact Us.