Mortgage Corner: Deciding which type of home to purchase the first time

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Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston.

Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston.

There is an endless supply of different types of homes available for purchase, including condos, townhouses, detached homes and acreages. The key is to decide what you can afford and which amenities you prefer before heading out shopping for a new home.

Your best first step is to seek the advice of a mortgage professional and get preapproved on a mortgage. That way, you already know what your price range is — and, therefore, which type of home you’re in the market for — before you begin shopping.

Budgeting is also an important part of preparing yourself for the purchase of a home. If you save for a down payment and upfront costs, such as closing costs and emergency reserves, much sooner, you’ll be sure to save enough to cover the many expenses facing a new homeowner, including moving, utility hook-ups, tools, maintenance supplies, window coverings and more.

Once you have the money available to make your home purchase a reality, the next step is finding a good real estate agent to guide you in your purchase. The agent you choose will be able to help you weigh the following options to help decide what type of home is right for you:


A condo makes a great first home because it typically costs less than a townhouse or a detached home, which translates into a smaller down payment and mortgage payment. It can also be an excellent choice for an older person that still wants to own their own home, but doesn’t want some of the responsibilities that come with it, like lawn care, clearing snow and maintenance. But there are, however, monthly strata fees you must take into consideration when budgeting for a condo.


If the condo life is not your forte and you’re not looking for a big yard to maintain, a townhouse may be your best home purchase option. Townhouses can give you a little more room and some yard space, but at a lower cost than buying a fully detached home. Many townhouses also come with monthly maintenance fees unless they are freehold townhouses. In situations where you pay a monthly fee, however, you won’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance or snow removal.

Detached Home

If it’s privacy you’re seeking as well as a larger yard, a detached home is your ideal choice. The majority of homes in Creston would be considered single detached homes so they are a popular choice. With a detached home, you own the lot freehold and there are no strata fees. One thing to consider is the added cost and work of maintaining the home, caring for the yard and snow removal.


Acreages are similar to detached homes with the main difference being the size and location of the lot. Generally they are located out of town boundaries so property taxes can be considerably lower. One thing to take into consideration, though, is the added costs that come with this over owning a detached home in town. The home will most likely require its own septic system, water supply, more costly yard care and snow removal, and may be farther away from the conveniences of town. The upside is often more privacy, more room and often fewer restrictions on land use.

Other Considerations

The size of the home and property (if you decide not to opt for a condo) are also important things to consider before you head out shopping. While everyone has their dream home in mind, this is not always a practical purchase choice, especially if this is your first home purchase.

When it comes to location, think about in which area or neighbourhood you’d like to make your purchase, and which home features are absolutely essential — including what you can live without and what aspects are entirely out of the question.

Whichever home choice is right for you, home ownership is a truly fulfilling experience, and can be an excellent financial move.

Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston. For more information, he can be reached at 250 402-3903 or