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HomeFinder: Move to townhome a calculated decision

Adam and Caylla Harvey are getting ready for Christmas in their Royal Oak townhome. They moved in this year after outgrowing their condominium. - Photo contributed
Adam and Caylla Harvey are getting ready for Christmas in their Royal Oak townhome. They moved in this year after outgrowing their condominium.
— image credit: Photo contributed

Space, the final frontier. Sound like a sci-fi TV catch phrase? For Caylla and Adam Harvey, space was a challenge they faced every day in their condo, or at least the lack thereof.

The young working couple – she’s a senior executive administrative assistant in government while he’s working as a carpenter – have a plan for the future that includes kids and at least one big dog.

Adam bought the condo in 2011, a two-bedroom, one bathroom unit which he considered to be “a pretty decent size.”

After the couple married last year and added Sadie, a German shepherd-chow-husky cross, the extra space was quickly used up.

“The closet in our spare room was taken over by Christmas decorations and random leftover wedding decorations. We needed more space,” Adam says.

Adds Caylla: “We both loved living in the condo. It was in a great location right on Quadra Street. Even though it was big, we had outgrown it.”

The newlyweds began looking for a larger space and included detached homes in their search. They had specific objectives, knowing they will eventually expand their family.

Given that fact, Caylla was very concerned about location and wanted to be in a family oriented neighbourhood. Both she and Adam also hoped to find a place they’d be comfortable in for at least five years.

During their search, the couple found themselves weighing several variables, including price, location and how new or recently renovated units were.

“I wanted a townhouse, because I thought we could get something nice, big and new for the same price as a two-bedroom detached house,” Adam says.

It wasn’t quite as simple as that, they found. With location in Greater Victoria playing a major factor in pricing, the properties they looked at ranged greatly in price.

In the end, they considered their most important factors – location, size and allowance of larger dogs – as well as Adam’s carpentry skills, and chose a 1,900-square-foot townhome in Royal Oak that needed some updating.

Tim Ayres, incoming president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, says townhomes can provide a more economical price point for homebuyers. The region’s benchmark, or typical, townhome is listed at $418,000 compared to the benchmark detached home at $548,000.

“Plus, a lot of people underestimate the amount of time and money they’ll spend on upkeep and maintenance when they move into a detached house,” he says.

“Having most or all of this taken care of by way of a monthly strata fee will not only keep your home looking great, it will preserve its value because maintenance will not be deferred.”

The Harveys are very happy with their choice, Caylla says, pointing to such nearby amenities as shopping, banking, walking trails and Saanich Commonwealth Place as part of that package.

“We went to a couple of places and immediately liked them, only to find something we liked even more the next day,” Adam says. “Looking around for a while really paid off.”

•     •     •

BUYING TIP | Visit a townhome in the daytime and evening to gauge the noise level

•     •     •

HE SAID, SHE SAID

We asked Caylla and Adam Harvey: What was the dealmaker for you?

SHE SAID: A lot of townhomes don’t allow certain size dogs, and we love our dog, Sadie, so we had to find a place that she could live, too.

HE SAID: If they don’t allow dogs, kids and rentals, then we’re not buying it.

•     •     •

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE (as of Dec. 11):

Total properties sold or deals pending this month -- 139

Benchmark price for a typical townhome -- $418,000

Total number of homes listed in all categories -- 3,829

Do you have a house-hunting story you’d like to share with us? Email ddescoteau@vicnews.com

To advertise in HomeFinder, call John Graham at 250.480.3227 or email jgraham@blackpress.ca

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