Pros and Cons of Different Kinds of Homes

Homes come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be tough to decide which is the right fit for you.

Detached and Semi-Detached Homes
Many buyers are interested in detached homes to get the most privacy and space. The primary disadvantage of detached homes is pretty obvious to any homebuyer: they're the most expensive. And areas where there are a lot of detached homes can be quite far away from anything else, although there are definitely walkable neighbourhoods with lots of detached homes as well as community services, shops, and dining. Also, many people want a detached home for a big yard for the kids or dogs, but don't fully consider how much yard work they'll have to do with a large yard.

In a semi-detached home, you'll share one wall with a neighbour, but otherwise generally have the same advantages as a detached home. Semi-detached homes may be less expensive than detached, and may also have smaller yards requiring less maintenance, with only front, back, and one side of space.

Freehold and Condo Townhouses
There are two different kinds of townhouses: freehold townhouses, and condo townhouses. A freehold townhouse is legally the same as a single family home - you own and are responsible for the entire house inside and out.

In a condo townhouse, you will have a similar condo association structure as a condo apartment. You will likely get some condo-typical amenities, such as a pool for residents, and may not need to do some or any of your own lawn and snow maintenance. External updates and repairs like a new roof may also be handled by the condo association. Townhouses may be in a row, or may be stacked (especially for condo townhouses), so you could have downstairs or upstairs neighbours as well as side neighbours.

Condo Apartments
Condo apartments are a favourite for buyers looking for lower-cost, minimal maintenance city living. No yard work required, and many big ticket items like roof replacement are off your plate. Condos usually have amenities for residents, possibly including a gym, pool, outdoor spaces, a concierge, and/or a spot in a parking garage. Some condo buildings have retail stores like food markets and dry cleaners on their lower levels, agreements with car sharing companies, or various other building specific options.

If you're considering a condo, it's important to find out all you can about the condo corporation, fees for both regular monthly costs and upcoming major upgrades you will need to contribute to, specific details about your responsibilities and rights and their responsibilities and rights. You should also find out about any restrictions that matter to you (like pets, bikes, barbecues, smoking, if you can remove walls or make other significant renovations, etc), and shared living factors like how noise carries, if there's a lack of space in the parking garage, or if your unit would be next to the garbage chute.

Using HoodQMatch™ to decide on a home type
If you have no idea what kind of home you want to live in, or aren't sure what kind of home you can actually afford, our HoodQMatch™ tool can be a great help. Choose several or all of the options for home type, and the recommendations page will tell you whether each of your matched neighbourhoods has listed or sold homes of that type within your budget - and how many of the recent listings/sales fit.

So then if in a particular neighbourhood only 5% of detached homes were within your budget, but 67% of townhouses and 90% of condos were within budget, you know that you're probably looking at one of the latter options if you want to live there.

Some other Homebuyer Hub features that can help you include the HoodQ CityLife Resource Centre and Neighbourhood Guides. If you'd prefer neighbourhoods that have predominantly one or two home types (e.g. mostly detached and semi-detached homes), you can choose that as a filter along with your budget and home criteria. Each neighbourhood's Neighbourhood Guide also tells you the percentage of each type of home there, and other relevant information.