Common terms describe different home types, such as detached (not adjoining to another home); semi-detached (one home split in the middle to create 2 homes); link (a home attached to another, usually by a basement); attached row/townhome (a home attached to more than one home, by way of one or more walls); and apartment (multiple residence building.)
Other terms descibe types of home ownership, such as Freehold (ownership of the land and the buildings on such land) as opposed to Leasehold (where property reverts to the owner when the lease expires.) Condominium ownership includes ownership of the home (unit) plus an equal joint ownership with the other owners of the common elements (roadways, land, external structures, gym, pool, etc.) Co-operative housing is a little different in that members do not own specific units, however, they are protected by means of rights as set out in occupancy agreements (or similarly worded documents, and may own shares of the property.)
So if you are buying a townhome:
- Freehold townhomes: you are responsible for the upkeep and look of your property and these homes generally do not have extra fees. However, some may include a slight monthly or yearly fee for general upkeep or winter maintenance, etc.)
- Condo townhomes: for the most part, you are responsible for the interior of your home and the condo corporation is responsible for the outside. A maintanance fee will be charged to keep the property in good order, for any repairs (now and in the future) and to ensure that the condo corporation is running a healthy budget. Have your lawyer review the status certificate to check for any liens or large expenditures expected before you sign the dotted line. The status certificate also details the condo bylaws. The condo bylaws tell you what you can do to the outside of your property and what the condo corporation will do. Ensure that you review these bylaws so that you are not surprised by any limitations of living in the condo vs. buying a freehold property.
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