Which is Better – Condo or Single Family Home

March 2019

At one time condo living was considered only for “the newlywed and nearly dead”.

The choice between these forms of housing is obvious only for a select few.  Those with a large family, own multiple vehicles or have certain hobbies such as gardening are more likely to find that condo living is not for them.  For most the decision is more difficult.

Today’s condo living is more varied and appealing to people at all stages of life.  Primary considerations for most people considering condo living are varied and likely to be numerous.

First Home Owned

Many people are overly ambitious.  They may claim to enjoy fixing things and dealing with household chores until forced to do so.  Then they hate being tied to the home.  Condo living reduces the amount that must be done around the home and replaces many responsibilities with condo fees.


Some parents prefer a single family house with a private yard.  Others prefer condo living with access to a swimming pool, outdoor playground, study areas and indoor amenities to entertain children.

Heath and Age-Related Concerns

A single family house can be renovated without seeking permission of a condo board of directors.  Condo living can be easier with wider doorways, no stairs, social programming and less upkeep.

Hours Worked

Single family homes require maintenance and lots of work.  Working 60 hours per week at a job may not allow enough time to maintain a single family home.


As with hours worked, frequent travellers may not have enough time available to maintain a single family home.  Condo living makes it easier to travel without concern for the security of one’s home.  There is less to deal with before leaving town and greater security of your home while away.

Entertaining with Large and Boisterous Parties

Most condo suites are not large enough for large parties.  Condo neighbours will complain about loud noises, late-night partying and inebriated guests in common areas.  Many condo buildings make available a Party Room for holding such events possibly with restrictions on alcohol, hours and noise.

While such parties may cause problems in a single family home, neighbours lack protections that likely exist in condo corporation governing documents.

Leisure Time Preferences

After working a long week, someone who prefers to be “out and about” may prefer condo living with its fewer maintenance responsibilities and common areas.  Those who prefer to relax at home alone may appreciate a single family home and time to tackle those maintenance responsibilities.

Pet Ownership

Larger and more pets typically require more indoor and outdoor space.  Single family homes can offer this space and easier access to the outdoors for walking dogs.  High-rise condo living requires the sharing of elevators with those who may not appreciate a pet.   It can mean a longer distance to the outside for walking a dog.


Nowhere in these considerations is a mention of cost of ownership.  This is rarely part of the decision making process when deciding which form of home works best for an individual.