There was a time when the housing market was fairly one-dimensional. There were apartments and houses that you could rent or … you could buy a home. Most homes were built with couples or families in mind that included a master bedroom, the children’s rooms, a bath or two, the kitchen and a living area. You didn’t get that many choices. Today, the market is jam-packed with options that meet the needs of so many different buyers. All you have to do is decide which home is right for you!
No matter who you claim as part of your household, there is a type of home that will fit you just right. From massive to tiny, grand to humble, urban to suburban to rural – there’s something in the Kitchener-Waterloo market that can fill your needs. There are plenty of choices and sifting through them all can be daunting. Research is always a good place to start and so is making an appointment with a Realtor.
You don’t have to be ready to buy today to begin a relationship with a good Realtor. Any Real Estate Agent worth contracting is more than happy to help you start planning and making choices well before you’re ready to initial here, here and here and sign at the bottom! A reliable, trustworthy Realtor makes an excellent guide through all the stages of your home search. He’ll have the knowledge you may not and the experience to help you figure out what you really need in a home.
Homes have many names these days. It’s not all about the traditional “house” that your childhood crayon drawings likely featured. Here are just a few of the options you may have in your area.
Single Family Detached
This is the house of your coloring books. It may be surrounded by a lawn or garden or it may be only a sliver of air away from the next house, but it stands alone. Standing apart from other structures on its own lot, it shares no walls or support structure with another building.
This type of home offers a degree of privacy for the owner, which is often on the “pros” list. However, on the “cons” side of the list, it is often the more expensive property. Privacy comes with a price.
Single Family Semi-detached
Imagine two single-family detached homes pushed together. That’s a semi-detached home. They typically share one wall but, aside from that, have few differences from a detached home. In urban settings, the distance between detached homes is so small that they are hardly distinguishable from a semi-detached.
Privacy is somewhat less in this style of home due to the shared wall. However, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. With good insulation and in some cases – soundproofing, it can be overcome. You also have fewer choices for renovation or expansion and you’ll probably be working within the home’s current footprint. On the plus side, this can also be a more budget-friendly choice.
A duplex is two “homes” stacked one above the other. They have separate entrances and the units are usually completely isolated from one another. Some may have a shared space like a basement or laundry.
Some of the same issues apply here as in the semi-detached. You probably can’t expand your living space and you may hear your neighbours since one’s floor will be the other’s ceiling. This can be an interesting investment property if you’re interested in becoming a landlord. You can live in one section and rent out the other!
A row of several single-family homes, all attached at the sides, can correctly be called either a townhouse or a rowhouse. They may be a single story or two-stories (which are called stacked townhouses). Found in groups and sometimes part of a larger complex, townhouses can be grouped in numbers from small to very large.
A townhouse requires a little less maintenance than other single-family homes. The grounds are often tended by a service or hired team as part of your homeowners’ fees. You may have a private outdoor area or patio to make your own as well. Since the homes are so close together and all but the end units share walls on both sides, there is less privacy here and zero chance of expanding the space.
A condo is a set of rooms enclosed in a larger building. Like an apartment that you own, you own everything on the inside of your front door but the halls, grounds, lobby and common spaces (like the laundry room, roof and the sewage system) are co-owned by all the residents.
Condos offer a nearly maintenance-free lifestyle. You only have to care for what is within your unit and some condos may offer assistance even there. Some condos offer lavish amenities. You can find building with such extravagant features as fitness facilities, bowling alleys, swimming pools, spas, rooftop clubs, private chefs and room service, valet parking and 24-hour concierge services. Shared space means less privacy; you aren’t likely to be the only one using the pool at any given time.
Which one is right for you? That depends on a lot of factors like how many people will be in your household (both now and in the future), your desired lifestyle and the neighborhood you love. Think it through and then talk to your Realtor. You’ll soon find your own personal dream home.
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