The Toronto spring real estate frenzy is just gearing up. Buyers are getting ready to bid and homeowners are preparing their homes to ensure maximum gain when they sell. However, is buying the right option for you?
While it is clear that buying into the Toronto real estate market has been a very profitable venture over the last two decades, owning property is not necessarily for everyone. It is important to evaluate your individual requirements before jumping in.
Regardless of whether you buy a home or a condo there are clear obligations that come with owning a property. Depending on your current lifestyle, financial situation and future plans, owning might not be the right choice. With a home or condo you will be responsible for a monthly mortgage, property taxes and maintenance. If you live in a condo, you will also have condo fees. Additionally you will have all of the ancillary costs associated with life today – from utilities to cable/wifi. On the flip side, if you rent, you are only responsible for your rent and perhaps your heating/electricity. You don’t have to worry about maintenance costs or taxes because those are covered by your landlord. Those who choose to rent can use the savings from what they would otherwise put into taxes and home maintenance into savings.
When it comes to maintenance homeownership means being responsible for all the maintenance/repairs a property requires. Although homeowners can certainly take care of any maintenance or repairs at their own pace and as their budget permits, anything that has been neglected for too long, will incur even greater costs down the road.
Condos are much easier than a home when it comes to maintenance. Owners must contribute to a maintenance fund (conde fees) and sit on a board that helps oversee how those funds are spent, but otherwise condo owners don’t have to worry about maintenance/repairs. The only repairs you are truly responsible for is if anything breaks down in your unit – water leak that causes damage to your flooring, an electrical issue, etc…
Renting comes with the least amount of responsibility when it comes to maintenance and repairs. The landlord is fully responsible for ensuring that the grounds are tended and the structure is sound. The one drawback about renting is having to wait for the landlord to arrange for something to get repaired.
One of the biggests differences between owning a house/condo or renting an apartment is when it comes to lifestyle. Homeownership means having to be around to take care of the daily/weekly/monthly maintenance of your property. While you can certainly leave for vacation, you will have to make arrangements for the grounds to be maintained, so it is not completely hassle free. However, houses provide plenty of privacy from neighbours. In a condo, while you won’t have to worry about maintenance if you want to leave, you will have a lot less privacy. The upside of less privacy in a condo, is better building amenities. Many condo complexes have fitness centres, pools, party rooms and even games areas. An apartment is the most hassle-free alternative. You can come and go without worry as you are not responsible for any of the building’s maintenance.
In the end deciding whether you are better of in a house, a condo or a rental comes down to a combination of your financial situation, your goals and your lifestyle.