Buying a new home, townhome, or condo is a big investment and a decision that will impact your and your family’s lifestyle for years to come. If you’ve settled on the idea of buying a townhouse in North York, this blog post is for you.
Townhomes are a great option for families who are looking for their own home – with the spaciousness and privacy of a detached home – but with all the convenience and ease of condo living. As we outlined in a previous blog post about the benefits of townhome living, townhomes typically include multiple floors, designated parking spaces, and a shared wall with another home or homes. Townhome communities usually include shared communal spaces and are generally regulated by a homeowners’ association, which ensures that community maintenance and upkeep are taken care of and that everyone in the community abides by certain rules or guidelines. The benefits of buying a townhome include cost savings and affordability, amazing locations, single family living without the maintenance, a community vibe, and stunning shared spaces.
Not sure what the differences are between a townhome and a condo when it comes to home ownership, legal statutes, and privacy? Check out our blog post “Townhomes vs. Condos: Do You Know the Differences?”
If you’re going to buy a townhome specifically, there are unique considerations that you should take into account before making your decision. Here are 10 things to consider before you buy a new townhome in North York:
#1: Your Budget
First things first: before shopping for a townhome, get a mortgage pre-approval and know the budget that you’re working with. This will help you to shop smart, to not fall in love with properties that are out of your means, and to be able to act quickly once you’ve found “the one” (you’ll know it when you find it!).
Townhomes often offer good affordability because they’re less expensive to build compared to single detached homes, due to the high land costs in the Greater Toronto Area.
Using a mortgage affordability calculator is a good place to start if you’re not sure of what your budget is.
#2: Where You Want to Live
Location, location, location – it matters! Before buying a new townhome in Toronto, consider its location and if it’s in an area that you would truly like to live in. Things to consider about a neighbourhood include:
- Its proximity to major highways and transit options such as buses, subway or light rail transit (LRT) – both existing and upcoming/under construction are important to consider
- The schools in the area (their quality and whether there are options for French Immersion or Montessori, if you’re looking for those)
- The proximity of other community and family-friendly amenities such as daycares, libraries, community centres, restaurants, shops, grocery stores, salons, movie theatres, museums, attractions, and so on
- Its walk score and how many places you would be able to walk to on a daily basis (as well as whether or not the neighbourhood is pedestrian-friendly)
- Its bike score and how many nearby parks/green spaces there are to explore
- How close or far it is from your work, your family or friends’ homes, etc.
#3: Your Desired Lifestyle
How do you want to live? Do you enjoy walking to nearby shops and restaurants, or biking along natural trails? How do you get to work – walk, take transit, or drive? Do you have a family? How many kids? How about a dog? How much free time do you have on a typical weekday? How do you like to spend your weekends? All of these questions will have an effect on the type of lifestyle that you like to live.
Low-maintenance living can be yours with a townhome purchase, although townhome owners do have more maintenance to take care of than condominium or apartment owners. Because they’re smaller lots, townhomes are usually quite easy to maintain – and you won’t have to worry about exterior maintenance such as clearing snow or driveway repairs.
Many busy families today love the idea of maintenance-free living. A townhome lifestyle can give you more time to focus on what matters most: spending time with your family.
You’ll also want to find a townhome community that has a vibe that matches the lifestyle you’re looking for. Are the homeowners social and neighbourly, or do they stick more to themselves? Are there community events? Take these factors into consideration before buying a townhome.
#4: Homeowner Fees
Townhomes that have communal areas and shared common elements typically have a homeowners’ association, which is responsible for managing the neighbourhood’s common areas such as roadways and parks. If there’s a homeowners’ association, there will be fees associated with the management of these shared elements.
Before choosing a townhome to purchase, you’ll want to know whether it has a homeowners’ association and what the monthly fee costs, as well as what it covers or doesn’t cover. Make sure to factor this cost into your financial calculations and monthly budget.
For example, at our Bartley Towns community, the townhomes share a common element – the roadway – and so there is a monthly maintenance fee, although it’s quite low at just $113.95 per month.
#5: Mortgage Rates
Make sure you’re up to date on all the latest mortgage rules and regulations and take your time shopping around for the best rate. It’s always a good idea to compare mortgage rates from at least three different lenders.
When you buy a townhome, you don’t exist on an island – you become part of a community. This goes beyond the location or neighbourhood. A community consists of the people who live in the neighbourhood and the unique fabric that they weave together. Is the community diverse, friendly, and accessible? Do neighbours say hello to each other and maintain relationships? Do you get a good feeling when you walk through the community and when you visit the local shops? Find a community that feels a bit like home already, and before you know it you’ll be an integral part of it.
#7: Privacy and Personalization
Townhome communities have various degrees of privacy, based on the townhomes’ construction (how thick the walls are and how well they are sound-proofed) as well as the layout of the townhome designs (whether they’re stacked or not, for example). Make sure to talk to the builder (for a new townhome build) or neighbours (for an older build) to get an idea of what you can expect and to see if it suits your lifestyle.
You’ll also want to know what the rules are in terms of personalization, both to your new townhome’s interior and the exterior. Many townhomes have rules about what changes you’re allowed to do to the home’s exterior, for example.
#8: Style and Design
Just as you’d explore the features and finishes of a condominium or detached home before buying, you’ll also want to see if a townhome’s design suits your style before making the plunge. Details like flooring and kitchen countertops can be costly to replace, so you’ll save money and time if you purchase a home that you love right off the bat.
You’ll also want to consider the home’s layout and make sure that the floor plan works for you and your family.
Many townhome communities come with shared amenities or communal spaces such as driveways, roadways, parks, and sometimes even pools, gyms, or saunas. Determine which amenities are important to you and worth the extra cost, and then check out which amenities the townhome you’re looking at has.
Lastly, know your builder. Buying a townhome from a reputable builder with a history of building and developing exceptional communities will secure your investment and put your mind at ease.
BAZIS has a long reputation of designing luxurious living spaces with the utmost attention to detail. Being able to successfully combine visionary architecture and design with marketing and construction has turned BAZIS into a reckoning force in pronouncing the city’s landscape.
The company is known for the unique architecture and high standards of luxurious finishes of its various residences. Knowing that each of BAZIS’ developments is crafted with exquisite design, superior location and elaborate amenities will give you peace of mind.