Home may be where the heart is, but it's also where you and your family need to comfortably fit. If you're trying to decide between a single-family home and a condo for your next move, you'll want to weigh the various configurations.
Houses: Houses come in a myriad of formations, from single-story bungalows to multi-floor mansions. A detached house is a complete unit on its own where you own both the building and the land it's on. A semi-detached house shares a wall with another house, but is otherwise its own complete unit. Townhouses also fall into the single-family home category, and while they can have the space and indoor layout of a detached or semi-detached house, they're attached either on the sides or vertically with the other townhouses in the complex.
There are two types of townhouses — freeholds, where the owner owns both the house and the land it's built on, and condominium townhouses, where the owners own a percentage of the condo corporation versus any actual land. Similar to an apartment condominium, condo townhouse owners pay a monthly maintenance fee to cover water, sewage, garbage and shared amenity expenses.
Condominiums: A condominium can refer to one unit within one building, or a series of buildings on a piece of land. It is governed by an elected body that makes decisions pertaining to building regulations, maintenance and concerns that affect unit owners and residents. The difference between an apartment and a condo unit is that with apartments, each unit in the building is owned by one entity and then rented out to tenants. With a condo, an individual owns their particular unit, which can then be either occupied by the owner or in some cases, rented out.
Let's sit down and review your current needs, wants and budget, as well as your future lifestyle requirements in order to find the type of housing that provides just the right fit.
4 Steps to Contractor Success
Planning a major home renovation? Consider the human element throughout the project to ensure as smooth an experience as possible between you and your service professionals.
Communicate! Even after you've submitted professional drawings and plans for your renovation, sit down with your contractor to verify exactly what you envision. Photographs you've ripped out of magazines and images you've captured from the internet will speak volumes when shared with your renovator. Make sure both big and small renovation dreams are specified in writing so you can discuss them with your contractor, have them priced out, and finalize both your vision and your financial commitment up-front.
Clear the way! Move and remove any furniture or other items in the path to the project, so workers can easily access the space.
Be a good host. Even though the workers aren't at your home for a social event, they will always appreciate some homey hospitality; the offer of fresh coffee, bottled water and even the occasional treat is always welcomed!
Make yourself scarce. Once you've clarified the project details and timing each day, you'll want to step out of the work zone so the workers can get their job done safely and efficiently. Keep your cell phone by your side, of course, to answer any questions throughout the day.
With open communication and mutual trust, both you and your contractor can move forward with your home renovation quickly, effectively and successfully.
Home Safe Home
When the clocks "sprung forward" in most Canadian provinces this month, many homeowners used the occasion as a prompt to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. If you haven't yet changed your batteries, consider this your reminder to do so now!
It's important for every home to include basic safety equipment. Take a few minutes to review what you have, and what you need.
Smoke detectors. Each floor in your home should have a smoke detector. They're easy to maintain — simply test them monthly to ensure they continue to function properly, and change batteries twice a year.
Carbon monoxide detectors. While most times you're able to see and smell smoke in your home, carbon monoxide can sneak in undetected. It's a colourless, odourless gas, making it especially dangerous. Sources of carbon monoxide in the home can include water heaters, furnaces or boilers, gas stoves and ovens, and fireplaces, both gas and wood burning. Install your carbon monoxide alarms on every floor, five feet from the ground, for the best reading of your home's air.
Fire extinguishers. Should you ever experience a sudden burst of fire while cooking, you'll be thankful to have a functioning fire extinguisher to quickly and safely quash your culinary catastrophe.
Even if your own home is fully equipped with safety equipment, consider a fire extinguisher, smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector for your next house-warming gift!
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