Are you thinking about moving to Toronto? If so, you’re not the only one. By 2041, it’s expected that more than 9 million people will be living in Canada’s largest metro city. Before you make the big move, think about where you want to live. Toronto offers many beautiful dwelling types, including townhouses. Townhomes are usually in convenient locations and are more affordable than a detached home. At the same time, buying a townhouse isn’t for everyone.
It’s important to know all about townhomes before you purchase and move in. Should I buy a townhouse? Here are 5 things to know before buying a townhouse.
1. Townhouse vs Condo: What’s the Difference in Toronto?
Townhomes are often confused with condos. While they can be similar, they offer many differences.
A townhouse is a multi-level house that’s owned by an individual. There are multiple homes in a row that share one or two walls. Since townhomes stand side-by-side, they can also be narrower than the average home.
Condos are similar to apartments with each unit usually having one level. Condo units focus more on the community, offering amenities such as a pool and even a gym. While some townhouse complexes may offer a pool and other amenities, they usually don’t offer as much as a condo community.
Townhomes and condos also have different ownership structures.
Condos can have one of three ownership structures: traditional, co-op, and co-ownership.
Traditional condo ownership means you own your unit and sign a deed. Co-op means that you own shares into the company that owns the building and are allowed to occupy the unit. Co-ownership means you own a certain percentage of the building and have rights to your percentage.
These ownership structures may exist in a condo townhouse, which is a type of townhome complex that operates similarly as a condo.
There are also freehold townhomes (also known as a row house).
Freehold townhomes look like traditional townhomes. They’re narrow with multiple stories. Some may share walls with other houses and some may not. However, you fully own your townhouse. This means you won’t pay maintenance and other association fees, which we will cover in a different section.
2. Better Location in Toronto
Townhomes are pretty much available all over Toronto. But you’ll likely find a townhouse in the busiest parts of town, where not as much space is available.
This is ideal if you spend lots of time in a highly-populated area, such as downtown Toronto.
If you want to buy a house, you’ll likely have to move out in the suburbs. Some people dislike a long commute to work, school, and other places they frequent.
Apartments are also popular in busy areas. If you’re debating about buying a townhouse or renting a luxury apartment, a townhouse offers the best of both worlds. Like an apartment, a townhouse comes with less maintenance.
But since you own the townhouse, you have more autonomy. For example, you can paint the townhome and build a patio or other minor additions. A townhouse also offers more space and many complexes are pet-friendly.
Keep in mind, the townhomes closest to the downtown area will be more expensive. To save money, you can always find a townhouse on the outskirts of town that’s still close to public transportation.
3. Perfect for First-Time and Young Buyers
Townhomes are becoming popular for millennial homebuyers and even Gen Z-ers.
Most homes on the market are priced too high and the offerings are also slim. The average townhouse is pretty affordable and doesn’t require a major downpayment, which is perfect for young people who aren’t as established in their careers.
But townhouses also offer a single-family home feeling. They have plenty of space, a yard, and more. Since townhouses are closer to urban cities, millennials can work in busy areas and be able to socialize without commuting too far.
While many millennials have families, some younger people don’t have kids. Townhomes offer plenty of space, but space may not be the biggest concern for millennial homebuyers.
Instead, millennials have one major priority: pets. Since most apartment complexes are strict about pets, owning a townhome in a pet-friendly complex is more appealing.
4. Extra Fees
Some townhomes require extra fees, known as maintenance fees. They may seem expensive at first, but homeowners will soon learn that these fees can actually help them save money.
For example, maintenance fees include exterior maintenance, such as taking care of the yard. Busy homeowners not only save money but also time since they don’t have to worry about maintaining the exterior of the home and their yard.
In addition, most essential expenses are included in an easy payment. These expenses can include garbage, water, internet, and cable. With a freehold home, you’ll have to factor in these individual costs.
If the townhome you’re looking at requires hefty fees, it may be because the complex offers more amenities than the average one.
5. Privacy, Sharing Walls, and Noise
One of the downsides of townhome ownership is many people feel they lack privacy.
Even though you’re separated from other owners, you still share the walls. You may hear your neighbours through the wall, which can be a problem; for example, if you work customer service at home, loud neighbours may interfere with your work.
Since you all share the same building, one unit’s problems may also become your problem. For example, a leak on your neighbour’s side can move to your side. Same with mould issues.
Even though you own the land, the lack of space means your yard will be small. While this isn’t a problem for some homeowners, others prefer a larger yard.
Sharing a unit also means you’ll see your neighbours frequently, as opposed to owning a larger plot of land in a suburban area.
Buying a Townhouse in Toronto: We Can Help You
Are you interested in buying a townhouse? Townhomes come with pros and cons. If you’re looking at a townhouse, you should educate yourself before making any decisions. Finding a great realtor will also help during the townhome buying process.
Contact us if you want to buy a townhome in Toronto.