Types of Home Ownership-Canada

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What type of home is right for you?

  • There are three categories of home ownership: freehold, condominium and cooperative.
  • Each has its benefits and drawbacks.
  • Consider which type will work best for your needs and your lifestyle.
  • If you are uncertain, a real estate agent would be able to discuss it with you and help you to narrow down your choice.


Freehold

  • Freehold homes offer two significant benefits: freedom of choice and privacy.
  • Since you own the structure and grounds, you're free to decorate and renovate whenever and whatever you want.
  • However, all maintenance (indoors and out) is your responsibility.
  • Be prepared to spend time and money taking care of your home.


Condominiums

Condo is a form of dividing a freehold, which can be vertical or horizontal. If you 'own' your condo apartment then you own the freehold of the lot itself, even if the slice of freehold you own is suspended ten storeys above the ground. The rest of the property is owned by the other condo owners (who own their sections of the freehold in the same way), and the building and land will be shared as 'common property'. Parts of the common property may be for the exclusive use of owners of specific parts of the freehold (eg a storage locker).

Alternatively, apparently-normal housing can be owned condo-style (for example terraced housing, known in Canada as 'row houses', or even detached homes on a lot which was too small to be subdivided).

  • Condominiums are typically less expensive to own than a detached house.
  • With a condo, you own (and are responsible for) the interior of your unit.
  • Upkeep of the building and grounds is handled by the condominium association, which is funded by monthly fees collected from tenants.
  • The down side? Condo residents enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes, and often have to adhere to strict rules regarding noise, use of common areas, renovations, pets, etc.

Cooperatives

  • Co-ops are like condominiums, except instead of owning your unit, you own a percentage of shares in the entire building.
  • One drawback to living in a cooperative is that if you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer.


Related Information

This is one of a series of articles about Housing in Canada.