There are only a handful of improvements that will give you a positive return on your investment.

Things like replacing a roof or finishing a basement might seem like a good idea. I am going to say it how it is. These will not give you all of your investment back.

What are the top five improvements?  Glad you asked! 1.  Kitchens

2.  Bathrooms

3.  Flooring

4.  Paint

5.  Finishes – lights, window coverings, hardware, etc.

Pretty much all of them are cosmetic ones.  This all came from a study done by the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC).  So this is NOT someone’s opinion, it was a study based on a large volume of appraisals.

We have a client right now who has been searching for freehold townhouses with NO CONDO FEES.⁠

“There’s no way I would EVER pay condo fees. What a rip-off!”⁠

We hear that language all the time. But if you examine what condo fees include – exterior maintenance, including roofs and windows in some cases, road maintenance, lawn care and monthly water bills – it doesn’t seem as bad. Right?⁠

But still… most people have an aversion to the condo fees.⁠

Let’s have a look at the costs. Right now, you can buy a freehold townhouse for about $800,000. ⁠

The equivalent value for a condo townhouse might float around the $625,000 range with an average of $400/month in fees in Milton. ⁠

Both houses would provide three-bedrooms, similar size, a functional basement and a smallish backyard.⁠

Let’s have a closer look at the two expenses that REALLY matter: how much you need UPFRONT, and how much ONGOING, and we’ll see where that takes us.⁠

FREEHOLD $800,000⁠

Down payment: $160,000(assuming 20% down, although you could buy with 5% down) Mortgage payment: $3,293/month (2.5% interest rate) Taxes: $256/month Condo fees: $0/month⁠

TOTAL PER MONTH: $3,548 + utilities⁠

TOTAL UP FRONT: $176,000(with 2% budget for closing costs)⁠

Now let’s look at the condo townhouse option…⁠

CONDO TOWNHOUSE $625,000⁠

Down payment: $125,000(assuming 20% down, although you could buy with 5% down) Mortgage payment: $2,643/month (2.5% interest rate) Taxes: $177/month Condo fees: $408/month (includes water, exterior maintenance and building insurance)⁠

TOTAL PER MONTH: $3,228 + utilities⁠

TOTAL UP FRONT: $137,500⁠

Now we’re talking! You save a total of $38,500 in up-front day one expenses, and $128 per month by buying a condo townhouse. ⁠

Over the next 25 years, you would SAVE $38,500 by choosing the condo option, including all those extra monthly condo fees.