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The Greenhouse
by Pine

Buying a rowhouse in Canada: What you need to know

For some, a rowhouse is the first step after moving out of a condo and into owning a house.

Things to consider.

If you're considering buying a home in Canada, a rowhouse can be an attractive option. 

Rowhouses are typically more affordable than detached homes, and they offer many of the same benefits of homeownership, such as equity building and the freedom to make changes to your property. However, there are some important things to keep in mind before you make a purchase. 

What is a rowhouse?

Before we dive into the specifics of buying a rowhouse, let's define what we mean by this term. In Canada, a rowhouse is basically a type of housing that's attached to other similar units, forming a row or a block. It's like a hybrid between a single-family house and an apartment. Usually, rowhouses are multi-level, with one or more floors, and they share one or more walls with adjacent units. They can be found in urban or suburban areas, and they offer a great option for people who want more space and privacy than an apartment, but don't necessarily want the upkeep of a detached house. For some, a rowhouse is the first step after moving out of a condo and into owning a house.

Pros of buying a rowhouse

When it comes to buying a rowhouse, there are definitely a couple pros that make it a lucrative choice for your first home or your next move. 

  • Affordability: One of the main advantages of buying a rowhouse is affordability. In many Canadian cities, rowhouses are more affordable than detached homes, which can make them an attractive option for first-time homebuyers or those on a tighter budget.
  • Low maintenance: Another benefit of owning a rowhouse is that they often require less maintenance than detached homes. Since rowhouses share walls with neighboring units, there is less exterior maintenance required. Additionally, many rowhouse developments offer shared amenities, such as landscaped grounds or a pool, which can reduce your maintenance responsibilities.
  • Community: Because rowhouses are often grouped together in a row, they can create a strong sense of community among residents. This can be especially appealing for those who are new to an area or looking to connect with like-minded neighbors.

Cons of buying a rowhouse

On the flip side, there are a couple factors you need to consider to ensure that purchasing a rowhouse is right for you. 

  • Shared walls: One of the main drawbacks of owning a rowhouse is the fact that you share walls with your neighbors. This can lead to noise issues, particularly if your neighbors are noisy or have different schedules than you. It can also make it difficult to make changes to your home, as you'll need to consider how your renovations may impact your neighbors.
  • HOA fees: If you purchase a rowhouse that is part of a larger development, you may be required to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees. These fees are used to maintain common areas and amenities and can be a significant ongoing expense.
  • Less privacy: Because rowhouses are attached to other units, they can offer less privacy than detached homes. You may need to keep your blinds closed or be mindful of noise levels to avoid disturbing your neighbours.

Tips for buying a rowhouse in Canada

If you're considering purchasing a rowhouse in Canada, there are some important things to keep in mind to ensure you make a smart investment:

  • Work with a real estate agent who has experience with rowhouses. They can help you navigate the unique considerations that come with this type of property, such as shared walls and HOA fees.
  • Research the neighborhood thoroughly. This is especially important if you're new to the area. Look for information on schools and local amenities to ensure the neighborhood is a good fit for your lifestyle.
  • Get a home inspection. Just like with any home purchase, it's important to have a professional home inspection done before you buy a rowhouse. This can help you identify any potential issues with the property and avoid costly surprises down the line.
  • When it comes to rowhouses versus houses, there's a lot of variation in size. Some rowhouses can have up to four or more bedrooms, which is pretty sweet. But, let's be real, houses generally have way more space both inside and out. Townhouses might have access to common areas, but they usually have a pretty small front or backyard, if they even have one at all. So, consider your future plans. Townhouses can be a great investment, but they may not be right for everyone.

So is buying a rowhouse right for you?

Buying a rowhouse can be a great option for those looking for an affordable, low-maintenance, and community-oriented home. However, it's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a purchase. By working with a knowledgeable real estate agent, researching the neighbourhood, getting a home inspection, and considering your future plans, you can make an informed decision about whether a rowhouse is the right choice for you. 

With careful planning and consideration, you can find the perfect rowhouse that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle.

And if you’re already in the market to start house-hunting–either as a first-time buyer or as someone looking to upgrade their space–get your mortgage with Pine. Just fill out the quick and easy online application and we’ll connect you with a mortgage agent to help answer all your questions, and see how much home you can afford. 

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