Which Type of Home Should You Buy?

Young couple buying new homeIn 2012, when we were house shopping, we felt assaulted with all of the choices that there were. Did we want 2 bedrooms, or more? Land, or low maintenance? Which city did we want to live in? Was proximity to amenities important, or would we prefer the peace and quiet of the country?

Luckily, we were both on the same page as to which type of house we would prefer to buy. We ended up in a 2.5 story, 2500 square foot house on a corner lot in an established neighbourhood in what is our perfect location. It has an income suite, so we live in about 1300 square feet of the house, and our tenant (my brother) lives in the basement suite.

Here are a few considerations when you are looking at which type of home to purchase:

If you want space..

If you are looking for a lot of space, you likely need to be looking at single family homes farther away from the cities. This is what we were looking for, so we bought our house in a suburb quite far away from the city where we could grow. I didn’t want to buy a starter home and have to incur the costs of selling it when we decided to expand our family, so we bought a forever home.

Single family homes within the city are usually quite small, and they won’t have a large lot, unless you have an unlimited budget. The suburbs or even the country will be better to meet your needs.

Know that with more space, comes more cleaning. You’ll have more rooms to keep clean, more land to weed, feed, and trim, and more general maintenance to do. It can be time consuming, so be aware of this.

If you want privacy..

I lived in a condo and an apartment for years, and one of the things that stood out to me as a downfall of these types of living quarters is the lack of privacy you get. 

I lived in a newly built condo for a portion of my first year of college, and the couple above us were constantly fighting. They also had a newborn, who was, as newborns do, constantly crying. I could hear them screaming at each other, the baby crying, and then the couple fighting over the baby crying. I didn’t get any sleep so we had to move out of the condo; I couldn’t focus in school.

The couple would probably be horrified if they knew I could hear them fighting all the time, and it made me conscious about how I conducted myself inside my unit.

I was listening to the radio earlier this year when one of the morning show announcers was talking about how she lived in a condo, and liked to have her coffee on her balcony in the morning, but so did her neighbor and he always wanted to chat.

There are ways around this type of issue when you live in a condo, but just be aware of the potential for an issue.

If you want low maintenance..

One thing that I can say about single family homes on a larger lot is that they are a lot of work. We enjoy the yard work, gardening, and maintenance, all made easier because my fiancé is a carpenter, and my family is full of trades people.

Many people don’t want the extra work that you must put into a single family home with a large lot. Sure, you can hire landscapers, gardeners and extra help, but that’s expensive and out of reach for many people. If you are looking for something low maintenance, opt for a town house or condo.

Town houses will give you more space than a condo, but may have a small amount of grass for you to tend to. Condos are ultimately the least work.

What type of home do you live in? What are the upsides and pitfalls in your point of view?


Which Type of Home Should You Buy? — 14 Comments

  1. I like to watch those house hunter shows on HGTV, and I’m always amused by the list of “must have” items listed by first time home buyers. Granite counter tops, big back yard, etc, etc. One of the biggest things home buyers (first time, or otherwise) need to do is be realistic about what they can afford.

  2. My ideal type of home is more space, I love playing on the lawn, I love gardening and fish pond. Just like what my parent’s house, it’s so peaceful living in that kind of place, quite far away from the city especially where you can hear the birds chirping.

  3. We live in a typical brick two-story home in the Midwest. It’s a little less than 2,000 square feet. I don’t think I could do the condo thing because I don’t want to share walls with anyone and we like having a yard.

  4. Living in our current condo has definitely given me more insight into some of the things that matter to me. Privacy is a huge issue, and I don’t won’t to be attached in any way to a neighbor. Also, my husband and I agree that we would prefer a ranch, with not too much yard (because he hates mowing lawns). Beyond that, we are pretty amenable. Buying a home is such a commitment, that one should be aware of their hard lines.

  5. I’ve lived in town homes, apartments and houses. Each type has it’s positives and negatives but for me a detached house has more positives than negatives. I don’t mind yard work, I love the privacy it gives and love having a backyard. I also enjoy having my own garage. If I wanted low maintenance and low cost, a house wouldn’t be the way to go – constant upkeep and there is always some new household item I need to buy on weekends

    • I too love a yard, and I don’t mind yard work but we are trying to keep our yard low maintenance which is easier said than done!

  6. Listening to the birds chirping and the rain falling now as I type this response…

    We love our house outside the city. Much better than condo living whereby you’re forced to listen to your neighbours; too close not to hear them.

    Maybe we’ll move into a condo again as we get close to retirement age but not for some time to come.


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