The best of both worlds; why multi-family homes are an ideal housing choice

For many first time home buyers in search of a starter home, a detached or semi-detached home in Toronto is potentially unattainable given the costs. As such, many first time home buyers shift their search to Toronto’s condo market. 

Although condos have a range of advantages that make them very well suited for some, there is an often overlooked alternative that carries many of the same benefits of owning a detached or semi-detached home – multi-unit residential properties.

A multi-unit residential property is sometimes referred to as a duplex, triplex, quadriplex (fourplex) or multi-family home. This type of property is a great option for both first time home buyers as well as people looking to downsize.

Here are five reasons why a multi-unit residential property might be a great fit for your next home.

1. Quiet Residential Locations

In your early twenties, the idea of living in a plush downtown Toronto condo, in the heart of the action, is as good as it gets. You leave your front door and you’re surrounded by shops, restaurants and clubs galore.

As time goes by, many begin to outgrow the exuberant lifestyles, which attracted them to the downtown core in the first place. Weeks that once revolved around parties begin to transform as priorities shift to building careers, relationships and families.

Suddenly you wake at 2:15am to wailing sirens and rowdy patrons filling the streets post last call. As you pull your pillow around your head, you wonder how you’re going to pull off your big 8am presentation; and you begin to question why you ever thought it was a good idea to live sandwiched between two nightclubs.

Due to changes in zoning bylaws, multi-unit residential properties are becoming more and more common in quiet Toronto neighborhoods, which were once comprised solely of detached and semi-detached homes.

For people wanting to downsize from detached or semi-detached homes, multi-family homes are a great option as they provide the quiet neighborhood feel that homeowners have come to love.

For first time home buyers who can’t afford a semi-detached or detached home, multi-family homes provide an opportunity to own a home in a quiet Toronto neighborhood, at the fraction of the cost.

2. No More Rules, No More Books, No More Dirty Concierge Looks.

If you have ever lived in a condo, you know that there are long lists of rules which you must abide by. These can include but are not limited to; smoking, pets, decorations, ability to play instruments, etc.

Additionally, you may have to fill out forms or get permission in order to upgrade appliances, paint your walls or even to use common amenities. Guests who come to visit may also have to sign-in and out as if they were visiting someone in prison.

Yet another benefit to owning a unit in a multi-family home is that you are not subject to the same bureaucracy and restrictions that condo owners face. After all, who doesn’t want to feel free in their own home?

3. That Private Residence Feel Though…

Multi-family homes typically have just two to four units. Rather than having dozens of neighbors just down the hall from you, multi-family homes offer a more home-like, private residence feel.

Multi-family homes often have private outdoor yard space, which can be especially nice for children, pets, entertaining or just kicking back and lounging.

Although condos frequently have communal outdoor space for their residents, you may need to book it far in advance or accept that any of your hundreds of co-residents might be using the space at the same time. And again, there are often restrictions around when and how these spaces can be used.

Multi-family home owners also have the benefit of having direct street access from their front door. Which brings us to our next point.

4. You Don’t Have to Get Up to Get Down

Elevators (cue ominous music)… If you’ve lived in a condo or apartment, you’ve undoubtedly experienced days where the elevators were out of service with repairs or neighbors moving in and out. Maybe you’ve even been unfortunate enough to have gotten stuck on an elevator (not fun – believe me).

Safety protocols also stipulate that elevators are not to be used in the event of a fire alarm. Although 20-flights of stairs makes for a great workout, fire alarms and other service interruptions can become a major annoyance.

Multi-unit residential homes are typically two to three story properties devoid of elevators, making them a convenient, hop, skip and a jump from the street or garage to your front door.

COVID has highlighted issues around elevators and narrow hallways, and the communication of disease. Not having to use an elevator or squeeze by multiple neighbors in the hallways, is yet another benefit to living in a multi-family residential property.

5. Less Maintenance? Yes please!

It’s safe to say, most people don’t enjoy maintenance. Many of those who are looking to downsize from a semi-detached or detached home, do so in part because the maintenance becomes too great a burden.

A benefit to living in a multi-family home is that the maintenance of the property is divided amongst two to four families.

Although condo maintenance is typically divided amongst hundreds of residents in the form of a monthly fee, you may find that you are paying to maintain areas and amenities which you don’t even use.

In conclusion…

multi-unit residential properties offer a variety of benefits when compared to condos, semi-detached and detached homes. Life in a multi-family home offers the privacy, tranquility, and freedom of owning a semi-detached or detached home, while competing with the affordability of condos.

Whether you are searching for a starter home or looking to downsize from a semi-detached or detached home, a multi-family home is a great option to consider. URBINCO is currently developing several multi-family homes in Toronto and the GTA. Contact us for more information.

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