These are some basic definitions of types of homes and ownership options.
This is a fully detached, single family home that sits on a freehold lot or a bare land strata lot. A freehold lot is “free from hold” of any entity besides the owner. Single family homes are sometimes built on strata or condo lots which form parts of the common property. This usually happens when a developer is trying to maximize the number of dwellings on a parcel of land. A single family home usually has the greatest potential for appreciation compared to other types of housing. What to look for: condition, location, size.
A duplex has a shared wall or ceiling/floor between the two living spaces, depending on the configuration. These are often less expensive that single family homes but they require a degree of cooperation with the co-owner. A whole duplex includes both units and is helpful for subsidizing the mortgage. Duplexes are sought after by investors because they offer the benefits of a single family home with a lower starting price. What to look for: condition, location, neighbour’s lifestyle.
These are single family residences forming a row of units with common walls separating them. They can be freehold or strata-titled. Townhouses usually have a small yard or outdoor space that is for the exclusive use of the owners but is still part of the common area. You might want to consider a townhouse as a starter home. A townhouse is a good option for small or young families, those with pets that need a yard, and retirees who may not want to do yardwork. What to look for: location, size, sound-proofing, competent management.
A modular home is a factory-built, single-family home and is typically shipped in large sections, or modules, bolted together and placed on a permanent foundation at the building site. Modular construction is high quality because the structure is built in-doors by specialized tradespeople and it must conform to a government standard (CSA). Increasingly, modular homes are indestinguishable from site-built homes especially if a site-built garage has been added. If you’re considering building a home, you may want to look at the in-fill modular homes available on Vancouver Island. What to look for: builder reputation, quality of finishing materials.
A manufactured home is a modular home built on a steel frame for transportation purposes. It may be single or double-wide and may have drywall or vinyl paneling. These are often referred to as “park model” homes and are intended to be placed on foundations or piers. Depending on the building site, a manufactured home may be less expensive to start. What to look for: builder reputation, materials used.
Mobile homes are similar to manufactured homes except they retain the ability to be moved and will accept wheels on their steel frames in the future. They are typically found in mobile home parks where a monthly pad fee is charged. Parks typically offer an all-inclusive setting with the benefit of having your “own four walls” and a small yard for your exclusive use. On Vancouver Island, mobile homes have become increasingly popular as house prices rise. There are a number of good quality parks suited to all lifestyles and conveniently located in major centres. What to look for: condition, quality of park management, location.
This is a self-contained living unit in a building with other units of a similar nature. A condo is a great option for first-time buyers and retirees who may want to travel. Modern units will have five appliances and superior materials like granite and hardwood floors. What to look for: build quality, sound-proofing, amenities, competent management, healthy reserve fund.
Interested in learning more about types of homes and architectural styles? Try this slideshow at Home & Garden Magazine and see if you can spot your favourite.
Forms of Ownership
A freehold property is owned outright; there is no co-owned space or shared common areas with other home owners. Freehold owners can alter their property to suit themselves and do not require permission where the changes are allowed under municipal law. Houses and duplexes are usually freehold ownership.
A condominium is freehold ownership of a single unit in a building or development and co-ownership of common areas and land the development is on. Condo owners manage the development through a condo council. Condos are usually high-rise apartments, townhouses, and factory-built home developments.
Questions? Contact Constantin and Mariana Popa for more information on types of homes and styles on Vancouver Island.