So, you woke up this morning and decided to go out and buy a new home. Okay, it most likely didn’t happen that way – a lot of thought goes into buying a new home! If you are in the beginning stages of decision-making, one of the first things you’ll want to determine is the type of home that’ll work best for you and your family. “How will I know?” you may be asking. Here are a few simple steps to guide you:
1. Identify a list of your housing wants and needs
2. Read this article for an overview of what each type of home can offer
3. Pick your best match! :)
A townhome is a multi-level unit attached by shared walls to one or more similar houses with separate entrances. The truth about townhomes is that shared walls can mean less solitude, but living in close proximity to your neighbours can increase safety and security for all.
Although you won't have a huge backyard when you own a townhome, you’ll still have the plot of land it’s built on and often a front verandah. For retirees, a newly married couple, or as a starter home for a young family, a townhome is a very affordable and low-maintenance option. If you need the outdoor space to throw large backyard parties, it may not be the best fit.
A duplex is one house split into two separate living units, each with their own entrance, and sometimes their own garages. A duplex is another very affordable option, but often has a little more square footage and a bigger yard than a townhome.
You can choose to buy the entire duplex home (both units) as a smart investment option. Your family can live in one unit and rent out the other. The responsibility of repairs and living right next to your tenants may not be appealing to everyone, but if you’re looking to get landlord experience and extra cash flow to help with your mortgage, buying a duplex as an income property is a fantastic option. Alternatively, duplexes can be perfectly suited for multi-generational families – close enough to stay connected, but separate enough to allow for privacy.
If you’ll need more living space to fit your family long-term, single-family homes will likely work best for you. Remember, more space will mean more upkeep in terms of cleaning and maintenance, but it also means room to grow – a single-family home can adapt to your changing needs over the years, making it a promising “forever home”. You’ll also have the option of having either a front-attached or rear detached garage.
Obviously, the biggest advantage of having a front-attached garage is convenience. Your lot size and backyard will typically be larger, so you can really make use of your outdoor space. The same can be said about the inside of your home, where you’ll find extra living spaces such as a lifestyle room, which can be used as you wish, and plenty of storage areas.
Rear Detached Garage
The front of this style of home is not dominated by a garage, which equals more curb appeal! Some people will appreciate the “out-of-sight” benefit of a detached garage. For those who intend to use their garage as a workspace, it may be beneficial for it to be separate from the rest of your home. This will, however, take up room in your backyard.
However, without an attached garage, the interior of your home could have a more open floor plan or better layout for your family. It would also open up space in the front of your home for a potential patio or wrap-around verandah if you’d enjoy that type of outdoor area.
Your choice will depend on where the extra space will be most functional for your family.
If you’re sitting here thinking: “I’d really like the convenience of a front-attached garage, but I don’t like the look – I also want curb appeal!” then this final option is just right for you. A streetscape home model has a recessed garage, meaning it’s still attached to your home, but set further back than your front entryway. This style allows for the front entry of your home to be more prominent, drawing attention to your high-end exterior finishes and giving you a higher level of curb appeal.
This type of home can have the same cost and interior benefits of a typical single-family home while having increased value due to its appeal. If you want guests and passersby to see more of where you live, and less of where you park, Streetscape is the way to go.
When comparing the features of different home styles, try to imagine you and your family living there. Would extra space for a home office be useful or just an unnecessary cost? Could you live with a small yard or without an attached garage? By recognizing that each style of home is built to serve a purpose for a variety of different owners, you’ll be able to choose one that will complement your lifestyle.