Moving From Sky High Living To Ground Level


Getting Back To Ground Level

When you were given the keys to your condo the unit seems huge and offered a spectacular view Toronto’s skyline. These were exciting times living in downtown as everything that Toronto offered was just outside your building’s front door…shops, entertainment, restaurants and the nightlife. You pitied those poor house owners who came into the office complaining about slow transit, snow shoveling, house repairs and endless trips to Home Depot.

Now fast forward 5 years and it is funny how much we change in that short period of time:

  • your space is now shared with a partner
  • every corner of the unit is chock a bloc with stuff
  • weekends are filled with finding ways to escape the city
  • your once skyline view is now filled with new condo towers and building cranes

Living in a condo offers you certain benefits, in that paying your monthly maintenance fees goes to repairs/upgrading common elements and are collectively done. The problem is that you are one vote and for any upgrades it is a one size fits all – repairing the underground parking works for the building but it won’t translate into a higher selling price for your unit over other in the building.

If you are paying $700 per month in maintenance fees, plus your monthly property taxes, it would be almost comparable to the monthly expenditure for operating a house.

Typical average monthly household expenses for a 1800- 2,000 sq. foot Toronto house:

Gas Heating – $170

Electricity – $120

Water/Sewer – $100

Property taxes – $320

Insurance – $60

Maintenance – $250 (you want to keep up with repairs so they don’t end up costing you big time down the line)

Total= $700 (does not include property taxes)

I would also suggest you take a look at a blog I did a few months back which addresses budgeting for major/minor home repairs (this includes furnace, electrical, windows, roof, etc.)

What’s The Real Difference?

  1. What you get with home ownership over condo living is first of all a sense of belonging to a neighbourhood – no more awkward silences traveling the elevator with condo owners living on the same floor as you.
  2. You decide how to improve your home.. With condos everyone has the same box and so if you over improve it’s very likely it will not see the payback upon resale.
  3. Backyard BBQ’s and stretching out in the backyard on a summer’s night with friends.
  4. Growing vegetables in your garden and sharing them with colleagues and friends.

I have seen singles and couples buy houses and the one thing they share in common is a deep rooted pride in owning a house and not an address.