Globe and Mail: Fall Real Estate Report | Oct. 02, 2015
Experts share tips on how to know for sure.
Plenty of people adore condo living, but often get to a point where it just doesn’t work for them anymore.
“Typically, young single people will buy a condo and live there until they meet someone that they want to share their life with or start a family with. Then they want more space, and often something that is more upscale too,” says John Zanini, the president of Dunpar Homes, which specializes in high-end townhomes. “The next logical step is either a small detached single family home or a townhouse.”
So how do you know if a townhouse is right for you?
Privacy over pool
Upgrading to a townhouse means losing some of the shared amenities that come with condo living, such as a pool and gym, but gaining private amenities, such as much more interior space, a backyard or deck and more parking spaces. Losing those shared amenities also means no longer having to pay hefty condo fees, with some townhouse developments having a much lower fee structure to cover maintenance and landscaping (around $150 a month with Dunpar Homes), while others have no fees at all and homeowners are responsible for these tasks.
One major gain homeowners get from living in a townhouse is a lot more privacy. “You don’t have to interact with anybody if you don’t want to,” says Heather Weeks, marketing manager for Rosehaven Homes, which has three luxury townhome developments in the GTA. “In a townhome you just walk out your front door and leave for work. In a condo you wait for the elevator, along with everyone else who is heading out at the same time,” she says.
Easy to maintain
When looking for a townhome, different developments are going to offer different layouts and amenities that may better suit some lifestyles than others. For example, Rosehaven townhouses such as the Urban Towndominiums in Brampton come with a backyard that Ms. Weeks says is a nice size to have a garden or patio, or add in a hot-tub if you want, but isn’t an overwhelming yard space.
Dunpar on the other hand builds big decks on their townhomes, which Mr. Zanini says suit their owners, many of whom are young professionals working nine to 10 hours a day and on the weekends they just want to relax on the deck.
When it comes to interiors, the way that space is managed is really important in a townhome. You’ll want to look at how the space is planned as much as how much square footage the townhouse has.
“We’ve spent many years refining and perfecting the space planning in our homes, so that you can fit a king-sized bed in the primary bedrooms, or a good-sized dining table into the home,” says Mr. Zanini, “All the space is very generous. We’ve been able to create layouts that work in our townhouses.”
In terms of architecture, both Dunpar and Rosehaven developments have enduring classic looks.
Weeks says that the architects designing Rosehaven townhomes draw from architectural styles that have stood the test of time, and have ornate finishes that make each one look spectacular. “Every time you drive up, you’ll go, ‘Wow I love my home,’” says Ms. Weeks. Once you get inside expect high ceilings, hardwood floors, and high-end finishes throughout, such as Kohler fixtures and huge soaker tubs.
Dunpar Homes, such as Trafalgar Ridge in Oakville, pride themselves on attention to detail and using the finest of finishes. You’ll find nine-foot-six-inch ceilings on the main floor, upgraded kitchens, huge windows, beautiful plank flooring and top-quality materials throughout.
“It’s a more gracious and comfortable lifestyle to be living in a high-end townhouse than it would be in a condo,” says Mr. Zanini.