The Different Types of Homeownership
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when looking for a home is what type of homeownership suits you best. Freehold or Condo? This decision impacts everything from the type of lifestyle you want to have to the location, size and style of home you select, so it’s important to have a good understanding of what’s available.
With a freehold property, you own the building and the land it rests on. You are responsible for the costs and maintenance of the property, but you also have full use and control of the land and the building. This is subject to any rights of the Crown, local bylaws and any other restrictions in place at the time you purchase the property.
Condominium (or “strata”)
With a condo property, you own your unit and share ownership of the common areas with other unit owners. Common elements can include exterior walls, windows, gardens, driveways, hallways, elevators, lobbies and social areas. The condominium corporation is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the common property and all unit owners pay a monthly condominium fee toward upkeep. The corporation may also regulate the types of changes you can make to your unit.
The biggest difference between a freehold condominium and a regular condominium is what makes up the unit. With a freehold condominium, you own the plot of land and any structure on that land such as a house or townhouse. You are normally responsible for the care and upkeep of the entire house, including the exterior walls and roof, as well as the lawn, garden, driveway and garage. With a freehold condominium, the common property elements typically include access roads to the units, recreational facilities, visitor parking and parks with a playground. These items are usually the responsibility of the condominium corporation and under this scenario all unit owners pay a monthly condominium fee toward their upkeep.
In a freehold condominium, you usually have more freedom to make improvements, such as landscaping features, to the unit. However, there are usually provisions that give the condominium corporation some control over owners modifying the unit, such as determining when the roof will be repaired, and what colour the shingles must be. So if you want to change the colour of your door or build a deck in your backyard, you may need to seek permission from the Board.
Now that you know all about the types of houses available, you should hopefully know if you want to go with freehold or strata ownership, and you can start to think about what comes next. CountryWide is here to help you through the home buying process as well.