You are excited to be shopping for a new place to live. But there’s so much choice available. Should you buy a condo or single-family home? A resale or a new build?

How to choose? Here are some tips to consider before you start making any decisions.

Condo versus single/detached home

“There are pros and cons to both,” says Paula Langille, realtor with Royal LePage Atlantic in Halifax.

A condo generally means more carefree living with condo fees covering general upkeep and maintenance. “That being said, you don’t necessarily have the freedoms you would in a detached home or the outdoor spaces you may wish for,” she says.

Consider your circumstances. If you like to garden and putter in a workshop, then a home might be for you. However, if you prefer to be in the heart of the urban action (like our new homebuyer Joe Stanton), a condo might make more sense.


Old home or new home?

OK, you have decided on a home — should you look at a resale home or a new build?

“An older home has more maintenance involved. If we sell a home built in 1910, many people are scared away from a home like that because they’re draftier and heating bills are higher. But people who buy those 1910 character homes tend to ‘get’ them. They like the museum-like quality and charm,” says S.D. Grinton, associate broker for Royal LePage Benchmark in Calgary.

As for new homes, you might have some customizable choices, depending on your budget, which is admittedly smaller for first-time buyers.

Things to think about

Grinton says there are many factors to consider when determining what living space is right for you.

Along with budget, there is commuting (do you like to commute since new builds are often in the suburbs and require commuting into the city) and your relationships (if you are starting a family like our new homebuyers the Rushtons), a detached home with a yard might be the best choice.

“Also, consider your hobbies,” says Grinton. In cities, the entertainment district is usually central. If you have a condo and you like to get away on weekends to the cottage, that factors into your decision, too.

Finally, costs are ultimately the final consideration. After getting pre-qualified for a mortgage, which helps you determine how much you can afford, also consider potential extra costs — such as condo fees for condos, serious upgrades for older homes and customizing packages and commuting costs for new builds.

Latest From ...