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property type

What property type is the best fit for your budget?

Are you looking to move, but you aren’t sure which property type is right for you? As our city continues to develop, buyers have more options in terms of the property type and location they choose to call home. However, it’s likely that not every choice will suit your budget. This is why it’s important to understand how various properties come with different expenses and responsibilities. Here’s what you need to know so you can find the property that fits within your means!

Types of properties

Detached house

A detached house is what many people think of as the “standard” property type. Detached houses are freestanding, meaning they aren’t part of a complex or attached to any other dwelling. A detached house can come in a variety of styles and sizes, like bungalows, two-storeys, backsplits, three bedroom, five bedroom, and so on. If you own this property type, you are responsible for maintaining not only the home itself, but also the yard, lawn, driveway, and anything else on the property. In general, detached houses are the most expensive property type to own due to their size and maintenance needs.

Duplex/triplex/townhome

Duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes are all fairly similar, with some minor differences. A duplex is a home that is attached to one other home to make up one big freestanding structure with a shared wall to divide the two units. A triplex, of course, connects three units. A townhome is part of a larger row of units, which often make up entire neighbourhoods in growing urban areas. All of these property types have private units, but what isn’t as private is the yard and outdoor space. Townhomes have less privacy than duplexes and triplexes, since there are more units placed closely together, and therefore, a greater likelihood of being on top of your neighbours. Depending on your specific neighbourhood or complex, you may be responsible for maintaining your small yard space, or there may be an association to care for outdoor areas.

Condo/apartment

Condos and apartments are the smallest property types, and they also have some variation in size as well. These units are one of several within one building which has been divided into small homes. Many of us have lived in, or currently live in, an apartment or condo. Condo and apartment owners only own the actual unit, meaning they have no ownership or maintenance responsibilities for hallways, common areas, or exterior lawns. These units can range in size from micro condos (500 square feet or under) to fairly large, several bedroom homes. Condo fees are common for this property type to contribute to the maintenance of the building and exterior areas. Even if you’re not doing this work yourself, you’re helping to pay for it.

Renting vs buying

One of the first decisions people make when they want to move is whether they should buy or rent their home. Your budget plays a big role in this decision, because renting and buying both come with costs, but of course these costs will be different. Renters must pay their monthly fee to live in their unit, and as we know, the cost of rent has been increasing substantially. However, renters do not have to pay for maintenance or repairs (as long as they weren’t responsible for the damage!), or worry about property taxes. Buying means building equity and owning a valuable asset, but it also means more costs in terms of mortgage payments and repairs, plus taxes.

Things to consider for your budget

Let’s go into a bit more detail on some of the above costs we mentioned, and how much you can expect to pay for them.

Maintenance costs

If you own any property type, you will have to pay for maintenance. The question is, how much? Detached houses have the highest maintenance costs, because you are paying for everything from issues in the home itself to yard work. There is no landlord or association to cover any of these costs, so you will be on the hook for things like plumbing repairs, roof replacements, and heating upgrades. Townhome, duplex, triplex, and condo/apartment owners will also have to pay for in-unit maintenance and care, but since these properties are smaller, the costs will usually be lower. Plus, these property types have less outdoor maintenance costs.

Condo fees

Living in a condo may have less work and lower maintenance costs, but you will likely be paying condo fees. Condo fees cover repairs or replacements for any common areas of the building or complex, meaning you are partly paying for this maintenance. Condo fees can vary, but in Halifax are often around $300 per month. This is important to consider for your budget. Can you afford these extra monthly payments, which are sometimes hundreds of dollars?

Property taxes

Property taxes vary based on your property’s value, which is often determined by property type. Often, detached houses have the highest monetary value (not always!) due to their size and desirability. This means detached houses are likely to have the highest property tax, which is calculated by multiplying the tax rate by property value. Halifax property taxes are often around $1.25 per $100 in the downtown areas. While not the biggest cost home owners will face, it’s worth considering when budgeting for the right property.

To sum it all up…

Every property type has various expenses home owners will need to consider. Detached homes are often the most expensive in terms of cost and maintenance, but owners do not have to worry about things like condo fees. Every other property type, while potentially dealing with condo fees, likely costs less to own and maintain. Finally, renting means paying for almost no maintenance or taxes, but it also means not building any equity by owning a valuable asset. 

It’s important to take your top needs into consideration when budgeting for the right property type. Think about the things you’re willing to pay for, and the things that don’t matter to you as much. This can include house size, location, property size, fees, and maintenance responsibilities. Halifax has lots of variety in its properties, so narrowing down your needs will help you find the right home faster.

If you have any questions about your mortgage, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.

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