For many Torontonians, condo living has long been a preference. The convenience and urban lifestyle associated with owning a unit has made it the ideal choice for many city dwellers—but that’s starting to change.
In the era of social distancing, some condo owners are looking for more square footage and outdoor space. If you’re one of many who’s ready to take the leap and buy a house, here’s what you need to know.
Your expenses will grow
Moving out of your condo will make maintenance fees a thing of the past. Unfortunately, if your new place of residence is a house, a few added costs will also come into the equation. Taking full responsibility for your home’s upkeep and repairs forces you to pay for big-ticket items—like new windows, or an HVAC system that needs to be replaced. Your monthly utility bills will almost certainly grow as well, since greater square footage usually means more space to heat and cool.
You’ll need the lay of the land
Houses are typically larger than condos, which can make accessing their many systems and components a challenge. To ensure that any future issues that arise are handled in a timely manner, familiarizing yourself with your property is vital. That means finding not only your furnace but your electrical panel and main water valve. If there’s an attic, wine cellar, crawl space, or shed, make sure they’re accessible with the keys you’ve been given.
Winterizing is key
One of the most attractive aspects of living in a condo is how low-maintenance it can be. When colder weather sets in, building management takes steps to prevent hazardous conditions—and winter property damage. When you buy a house, you’re responsible for not only shovelling and de-icing your property, but draft-proofing it, protecting your outdoor faucets (with foam covers, for example), and changing your furnace filter regularly.
Owning a front or backyard can mean having your own personal oasis. Of course, outdoor space must be tended to—and all that weeding, mowing, and watering can take time. If your property is well treed, you’ll also want to be aware of existing roots systems and their potential to cause problems if they’re close to your foundation. Fortunately, a bit of online research and some assistance from a local gardening store expert (or arborist, if need be) can help you resolve any landscaping issues that arise.
Neighbourhood logistics are important
As the owner of a house, one of the biggest things to get used to is dealing with garbage, recycling, and compost. If you’re accustomed to ultra-convenient disposal chutes, now is the time to learn the rules around sorting items—and get familiar with your future neighbourhood’s pick-up schedule. Likewise, if you’ll be part of a homeowner’s association, it’s important to understand its rules—and how they differ from those you adhered to as a condo owner.
Preparing to buy a home—with or without an agent? Reach out today to learn more about the home-buying process, and how I can help!