Edmonton Real Estate Guide :: House vs. Duplex vs. Condo

Our real estate series continues with help from the Century 21 Dream Team (Leslee Byer & Kristi Robertson). They are Edmonton real estate's dynamic duo and we're excited to be sharing more of their advice aimed towards first time home buyers.

Last week: How to Get Started
Today: House vs. Duplex vs. Condo
Wednesday, August 6: Edmonton’s Most Sought-After Neighbourhoods

First, a mini glossary of property types:

  • Condos: Apartment style housing or townhouses that have common living area or are run by a condo board.
  • Attached Housing: Duplexes not in a townhouse complex.
  • Single Family: A house on its own lot.

Regardless of the type of property you choose, your realtor should be assessing the investment aspect of it and the resale-ability. 

Condos

As property prices are increasing, new buyers are buying more condos. They are more affordable. The average condo price is $241,000* so you can get a great condo for that price where a house that costs $241,000 most likely will not be in your desired area, or move in ready.  

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Notes about condo fees: When purchasing a brand new condo from the builder they sometimes draw you in with low condo fees. Once the board gets developed, they soon realize they need to raise the condo fees to cover costs and build the reserve fund. When purchasing an older condo there is a proven record of how the building is being maintained, with a budget, financial statements, and a reserve fund study to make you aware of how the building is being run and what to expect for the fees. It is important to understand the condo documents so you know what kind of repair the building is in (does every unit need new windows, or a new roof, or new doors?), and what the condo fees cover. Do they cover your utilities?

Attached Housing

Also known as a duplex or row house, these are generally more expensive than a condo and less expensive than a house (average price: $294,000*).

A lot of newer duplexes are popping up in more urban environments. Older neighbourhoods have larger lots, and developers can build a duplex where a single family home once stood, if the neighbourhood is zoned for them.

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Single Family Homes

Typically a more expensive option with the average price of $427,000*. Purchasing a brand new home may seem appealing because you have peace of mind knowing everything is new. There are extra costs to factor in when buying new: landscaping, fence, window coverings, etc. When purchasing a used home the test of time is evident. Be sure to ask sellers anything that might deter you from purchasing a house. Has it ever had moisture in the basement? Was it professionally fixed?

Lots of decisions to be made! 

*Average prices listed are from the Realtors Association of Edmonton including all sales this year-to-date to July 16, 2014.