Which Property Type is Right For You? Condo, Townhouse, or Detached?

Before you buy a property, think about what property type is right for your situation. Should you buy a condo or would a detached home better meet your needs? Do you need a lot of space or is a townhouse perfect?
There’s no answer that will acceptable for everyone but there are a number of things to keep in mind. If you carefully consider each one of the factors shared in this article, you’ll be sure to choose the right property for your needs.

1.   Investment

Real estate, irrespective of the type, tends to appreciate over time. The rate at which it grows in value is strongly influenced by the type of property. For example, a freehold (e.g. detached home) grows in value faster than a condo apartment because you own both the structure and the land.

Of course, this is a rule of thumb. There may be specific factors in the area you’re considering that make another type of property appreciate more quickly but land is king and there’s only so much of it in the world. If you want your new property to serve as both a personal home and an investment vehicle that’ll give you the maximum return then prioritize a detached house. On average, you can expect your property to appreciate at 3.03% annually, which can be multiplied up to 20 times by leveraged investing. (source)

2.   Commute

The distance from your home to your office or places where you like to spend time is an important factor when choosing a property. A long commute from your house is similar to unpaid work time. For example, if it takes you an hour to get to the office and an hour to get home, that is time you’re not compensated for and can’t spend doing something you enjoy.

In addition to the time spent, there are extra expenses and stress associated with commuting. Cars need regular maintenance and some areas don’t have well-developed public transportation routes so you’ll need to make alternative arrangements.

If a short commute time or living within walking distance of your office and other amenities is important, a condo apartment in the city may be your best option. If you’re able to handle a longer commute then a detached home outside of the business district is a viable choice.

3.  Space

Think about how much space you’ll need now and in the mid to long term. Do you plan on having children in the near future? Do you currently have more than one child?

If the answer is yes, especially if you live in a colder area like Toronto or New York, space is a serious consideration. The kids will be indoors for most of the winter and more space would benefit them by giving them room to move around and use up their energy. Think about a larger property such as a townhouse or detached home.

If anyone in your household has difficulties moving around, consider their accessibility needs. A townhouse tends to have more stairs than a detached home. A low-rise condominium building may not have an elevator for the higher floors which means climbing multiple flights of stairs. This could prove to be a serious challenge for them. Choose a condo apartment on the ground floor or a detached home with fewer stairs.

4.  Maintenance

The larger the property, the more work is required to maintain it. You’ll spend more time, energy, and money to maintain a detached home. There are no common areas where you share the costs with others. If you’re older, too busy, or don’t have much discretionary income then high maintenance properties can turn into a real problem. A condo apartment may be a better choice.

If the work or money required to maintain the property isn’t a problem then a detached home could be a great option for you. In either case, find a top real estate agent to get an idea of the kind of maintenance commitment you should expect.  

5.  Budget

Last but not least is your budget. The amount of money at your disposal is the most important factor in choosing a property. Even if it meets all the other criteria, if it’s out of your budget it’ll be unattainable. You should check the minimum downpayment you need to buy a property.

Generally speaking, detached homes in the same area as a townhouse or condo apartment is the most expensive property type. Townhouses are more expensive than condo apartments. If you’re on a tight budget but want to live closer to the city, townhouses and condo apartments are ideal. If you have a larger budget then you can choose between any of the house types mentioned here as long as they meet your needs.


Buying a property isn’t a decision you make on a whim. It takes a lot of thought and planning before you can choose the one that meets your needs. This article has outlined 5 important factors to consider before you choose the type of property to purchase. Once you’ve evaluated and decided on what you need in your next home, you can start looking for an experienced real estate agent to assist you in your search. 

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