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It’s Cheaper to Live in a House than a Condo

If you’ve been living in an apartment or townhouse for a while, you’re either tired of those monthly strata fees, you’ve ignored them or you’ve grown numb to them and accepted them as one of your other monthly bills you need to pay like your $100 cable bill, $75 cell phone bill, etc…

Don’t you just hate the strata council charging you monthly and all the fees do is pay for garbage pickup and landscaping? What’s worse is there are barely any trees or grass on your property to landscape. Oh, but it’s got a gym! Yah, a tiny little gym where they put a treadmill or two and a cheap $200 LCD screen and they call it a gym.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my clients say, “I want to upsize because I can’t stand monthly strata fees… that pay for NOTHING!

Don’t worry, I am a Realtor, I know how it works. I know what strata fees are for. To maintain the properties, save up for emergency repairs or renovations, etc… but have you seen how some strata councils spend their money? If you live in a strata property and you’ve read the minutes, you probably understand what I’m talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, some strata councils are really good with managing their money and they do a great job, but unfortunately, most are just uh… not so good.

But Gary, though I pay the monthly fees, it’s still cheaper to live in a strata complex

Oh, is it? Is it cheaper? Maybe… in the short run, but not in the long run.

Let me illustrate:

Typical strata fees for a 900 sq ft, 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, are around $0.35/sq ft and they include garbage pickup, landscaping, a meeting room and maybe a tiny gym.

The total strata fee would = $315/mo + $50/mo Hydro + $75/mo Gas + $100/mo Property Tax + $50/mo Home Insurance = $590/mo

Typical 4 bedroom, 2bathroom, 2 level, 2000 sq ft small home fees would look like this:

$75/mo Hydro + $125/mo Gas + $150/mo Property Tax + $100/mo Home Insurance = $450/mo

But, if I own a home, I have to pay for replacement of a hot water tank, furnace and a roof

Hot Water Tank – Typical Cost: $500, Typical Lifespan: 10 yrs (120 mos) = $4.16/mo

Roof – Typical Cost: $5000, Typical Lifespan: 20 yrs (240 mos) = $20.83/mo

Furnace – Typical Cost: $5000, Typical Lifespan: 20 yrs (240 mos) = $20.83/mo

Based on these figures, it’s about $45/mo. So, $450/mo + $45/mo = $495/mo which is still less than the $590/mo that living in a strata complex would cost you. On top of that, tell me, when the strata had to change the roof, siding, hot water tank, furnace, etc… didn’t you have to pay a special levy? How much was that levy?

Usually that levy can be from $300 to $3000 to $30,000 for a building envelope or rainscreening repair. Case closed. It’s cheaper to live in a house in the long run.

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