House or Condo?

Many people assume the difference between a condo and a house is that one has a yard and one typically does not. There is much more to it than just that, and it is important to know all of the factors when deciding on which one to buy. Another area people can get confused about is the difference between a townhouse style and apartment-style. Both of these fall under “condominium” as that is a TYPE of ownership. Townhouse and apartment refer to the style of the home.

Which one is right for you?

This is a question that only you can answer, but one that some people don’t think about long enough before answering. The answer really comes down to your lifestyle, and your wants and needs. If you have a large family and want a yard with space for them to use freely, then a condo probably isn’t for you. If you really enjoy your space, privacy, and having absolute control over all the decisions that affect your home, a condo probably isn’t for you. If you live a busy life and would like to simplify your living arrangements by having virtually no yard work or snow removal, then a condo may be what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to down size after owning a large home, but aren’t quite ready to give up the comforts a home provides, a bungalow style condo may be what you are after. If you are a first time home buyer and owning a house and all that goes with it seems intimidating, a condo is probably a good step to get into the market. You can always move into a house when you and your lifestyle demand it.

Both houses and condominiums afford tons of different styles and options. Traditionally the real estate market was primarily driven by houses. Over the past few years we are starting to see this change. The demand for condos has risen, and as a result, new condo developments are abundant. Even within the last year, there has been a huge growth in condo conversion projects happening across the country. There are a variety of different styles of condos, each with their own benefits. Apartment style condos are for those who generally need less space and don’t mind the atmosphere of an apartment-style living situation. They generally either have underground, secure parking or outdoor parking available to the owners. Townhouses are geared towards people who need a bit more space with a bit more privacy. There are quite a few townhouses available with single car garages but just as many without. The next step up is a bungalow style condo which gives people in most cases as much room as a home but with less exterior maintenance.

Whistle Bend
Yukon - buying and selling (3)

Both types of ownership are great investments, as long as you are aware of what types of repairs may be needed in the near future for both types of ownerships. If you are looking at a condo it is important to familiarize yourself with the condo board and how they operate. Find out what you as a home owner are responsible for. As our real estate market continues to grow, so does the need for affordable housing and condos are a great first step.


  • Private yard. 
  • Maintenance outside is always required. 
  • Not required to ask anyone if you want to paint your outside door or put on a new light or a new mailbox. 
  • No condo fees. 
  • You are responsible for all insurance costs. 
  • You have total control (within the law) of what you can do to your property



  • Generally, freedom to do what you wish inside (within the law and your condo agreement), but outside you normally need permission from the condo board for many changes and/or improvements.
  • Monthly condo fees that usually include water and sewage, and generally in the case of apartment style condos heat is also included (if it is hot water heat, watch out for electrical heat).
  • Exterior maintenance including snow removal and landscaping is taken care of by the condo association (from your monthly condo fees).
  • Insurance that covers the exterior and the building structure itself is part of your condo fees (but you will need your own personal insurance for the interior and personal effects, much like renters insurance).

Shared common spaces


Condos can often have restrictions put in place when the condo board was first setup or that have been voted on by everyone in the condo association.

Things to watch for are:
  • Pet restrictions 
  • Age restrictions 
  • Rental permission, etc. 
Other key things to consider when looking at condos are:
  • Do they have enough money in the reserve fund to cover maintenance and other issues? 
  • How do they pay for major improvements? (From reserves collected from monthly fees or from special individual/group assessments for small or large sums of money to put towards these improvements) 
  • Are there any plans for future improvements?

Pro Tips

People are generally surprised when they hear that the climate in Whitehorse is mild compared to that of other northern cities and towns. Due to the Whitehorse’s location in a valley, it is in fact the warmest city in the entire territory of the Yukon! The average yearly temperature according to the weather station at the airport is −0.1 °C (31.8 °F). Whitehorse also experiences the unique to the North phenomenon of extended daylight during the summer months. Daylight occurs in the summer months for up to 19 hours due to our northern latitude. Winter days can be quite long and dark, but Whitehorse is also known as Canada’s driest city, mainly because it lies in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains, so if you don’t like the rain then you’re in luck! The city experiences an average annual snowfall of 145 cm (57.09 in) and 163 mm (6.4 in) of rainfall. Summers in Whitehorse are pleasant with the July average coming in at 20.6 °C (69.1 °F). It’s a great place to live if you want to avoid the scorching heat found in other Canadian cities.

Recreation is a way of life if you’re living in Whitehorse – there is so much to see outside and enjoy! The Guinness Book of World Records reports that Whitehorse is the city with the least air pollution in the world, so not getting out into that fresh air is almost a crime! During summer months you can travel to one of the hundreds of surrounding lakes, rivers, streams and even hot springs to get your water fix. There are tons of places for camping, hunting, fishing and of course exploring. There are an estimated at 850 km (528 mi) of trails in Whitehorse including sections of the Trans Canada Trail. These trails are used for a variety of non-motorized and/or motorized activities. With our proximity to the northern range of the Rockies we are blessed to be able to live an active outdoor lifestyle. The Yukon river is a very convenient and popular choice for kayaking and canoeing. During the winter Whitehorse is the host city for the annual 1,000 mile Yukon Quest sled dog race between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Yukon Quest is considered one of the toughest in the world. Hunting, fishing and exploring all continue during the winter months although the means of transportation generally shift from quads and ATVs to snowmobiles and sleds to traverse the natural terrain. Whitehorse is also home to numerous sports and recreation fields. There are over 24 grass/sand/soil/ice sports surfaces, 3 baseball diamonds, the Canada Games Centre Multiplex (pools, ice rinks, fieldhouse, fitness centre, walking/running track, physiotherapy), as well as the Takhini Arena, and Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre. There are three golf courses in the city of Whitehorse. Snowboarding and skiing can be discovered at popular Mt. Sima, a privately run downhill ski resort. If you’re moving to Whitehorse to experience the great northern outdoors then get in touch with Terence now to begin your search for a home that is close to all you want!

Moving is typically a stressful experience, but with some preparation and a great team of trustworthy suppliers you can avoid some of the pitfalls that make for a less than perfect move. I am pleased to provide you with numbers and contact information for some of the local services that you will require once you settle in, as well as some of my recommendations to ensure that your purchase and move go smoothly.

Life is full of changes and surprises and divorce is one of those events that can strike a family at any given time. While divorce happens more and more all over Canada and the world, the Yukon itself is faced with one of the highest divorce rates in Canada at 59.7%. If you’re facing uncertain times due to an impending divorce, real estate will undoubtedly become a concern for you at some point. You could be left needing to find a new home in a pinch, or you could be struggling to sell your marital home in order to finalize and move on. Whatever real estate situation you find yourself in due to a divorce, I can help. The matrimonial home is often the biggest asset that will be divided during your divorce and it is especially important that you are working with a realtor who understands the legal and financial implications when this asset is listed for sale. There is a sense of urgency that is generally attached to the sale of this asset and will require an agent who is comfortable dealing with third parties like lawyers and judges. You will also require a strong negotiator with a level head to ensure that your interests in the property are protected as emotions tend to run high. I have years of real estate divorce knowledge and experience and would be more than happy to guide you through to the next phase of your life and homeownership