Are you ready to sell your condominium and buy a house? If you’ve never maintained a single-family home before, you should be aware that this form of ownership comes with some unique challenges. That said, it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience—one that you can ensure you’re ready for by knowing what to expect beforehand.
If you’re planning to move from a condo to a house, here are five things you need to know…
1) You should be ready for repairs
When you live in a condo, you don’t have to fix every system that breaks down or tackle every structural problem that arises. While the precise defects that a condo corporation will pay for vary from building to building, a large portion of monthly maintenance fees go towards covering repairs. In contrast, purchasing a house means taking on responsibility for all of its future deficiencies. You alone must plan for and oversee repairs. Fortunately, setting up a rainy-day fund can help ensure that you’re ready when the furnace stops working or the sink gets badly clogged.
2) You can’t forget about ongoing maintenance
Of course, it’s not just repairs that condo fees help cover. It’s also ongoing upkeep. While an owner is responsible for ensuring that their condo’s interior is in proper condition, all common elements (such as hallways and lobbies) are maintained by management. More often than not, major systems—such as heating and cooling—are also covered. Once you buy a house, the onus is on you. You’ll need to take continuous, proactive steps to keep your new home in good working order. From having your HVAC system serviced to weatherproofing your windows, you should be ready to head potential problems off at the pass.
3) Your exterior is important
Landscaping is yet another aspect of homeownership that condo dwellers don’t have to worry about. For this reason, taking care of the outdoor space around your house may be a bit of an adjustment. Expect to clean your gutters, mow and feed your lawn, and ensure that snow doesn’t build up and cause structural damage. Caring for your home’s exterior will help you maintain your property’s value, and it’s also part of your due diligence. Failing to perform it can even lead to liability issues, since icy sidewalks and other hazardous conditions pose a danger to others.
4) Familiarize yourself with the major systems
From heating and cooling to plumbing and electricity, houses are complex. Even when you take steps to keep your home’s major systems running efficiently, problems sometimes arise. Whether you investigate on your own or call in a professional, you’ll need to know where to find all relevant controls. That’s why one of the first things you do when you move from a condo to a house should be locating your electrical panels, your water and gas shut-off valves, and other locations that are crucial to the functioning of your home.
5) Winterizing is key
Toronto winters always come with some annoyances, and they’ll likely multiply when you move from a condo to a house. Frozen pipes, drafty windows, and a malfunctioning furnace are just a few of the cold-weather issues you may encounter in a single-family home. The good news is, winterizing your house can help you prevent a lot of problems from developing in the first place. Before you get started, you may want to create a list of tasks that have to be completed (such as draining your hoses, insulating any exposed pipes, and replacing weatherstripping if need be).
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