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Allison James

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Condo or Single-Family Home for First-Time Buyers?


Buying your first home is a huge, life-changing event.  First-time buyers face a gauntlet of difficult choices – from budget considerations to neighborhood choices to financing options.  For many, the first and sometimes most difficult decision is whether to buy a condo or a single-family home.

As an experienced real estate professional and Certified Condominium Specialist with a large family of my own, I am well qualified to coach my young buyers in their first dive into the real estate pool.  I urge those who are not quite sure what they want to carefully consider the following questions.

How much money do you have to spend?

While there are certainly many high-end expensive projects, condominiums are, in general, more affordable than single-family homes, even after factoring in the cost of monthly maintenance fees.  For many first-time buyers, owning a condo is the perfect avenue to becoming a homeowner.

Do you plan on having children in the near future?

As any parent will tell you, having kids changes everything.  If you plan on having a large family quickly, you may well want the added square footage and yard space that comes with a single-family home.  If you’re not planning to have children for five or more years, consider starting out with a condo and then moving on to a single-family home when the time is right.

How do you spend your spare time?

Owning a house is a major responsibility and a lot of work.  If you work full-time during the week, that leaves weekends for housecleaning, gardening, lawn mowing, etc.  Snow removal can’t even wait for the weekend.  Imagine yourself with a beautiful day with nothing to do.  How do you want to spend the free time – gardening or snowboarding?  Houses need constant maintenance and repair.  How handy are you when it comes to fixing things?  If you can’t tell a hammer from a screwdriver, start with a condo.  It’s a great way to begin your education as a property owner and begin to understand how things work.

In the end, the most important consideration is often a lifestyle choice.  In general, I believe that many first-time buyers will do well by starting with a condo.  There are countless complexes located in the hub sections of town in walking distance to transportation, shops and restaurants.  It can be a very attractive lifestyle for young professionals.  If you do decide to buy a condo, make sure you are informed and educated as to what you are buying.  Condominiums come with associations, fees, rules and regulations.  Read and understand the rules with the help of a professional and make sure you can live with them.

Life is a series of continual transitions and home ownership is no different.  Many of my clients have found themselves going from a rental apartment to owning a condo to a single-family home and then back to a condo.  It is my pleasure and privilege to help at every stage in the remarkable journey.



Do you need to move to celebrate the changes that are happening in your life? Let me serve you in helping you make the move to the place or home that reflects where you are in life’s journey! I will listen to your needs and use my knowledge and expertise to make this a smooth transition to the right place for you to call home in Calgary. Contact me at 403-708-5873,, or and let’s get on with your journey!

About Allison James

has been a realtor® since 1999 with Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd. in the changing Calgary real estate market. A Century 21 Centurion Award 2007 recipient and a member of CREA and AREA, she specializes in residential real estate and has her designations as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and a Certified Condominium Specialist. These designations testify that she has the expertise and resources to help her clients make a smooth transition to the next step in their life journey. She enjoys helping her clients as they move through many of the same stages of life that she, too, has experienced. The fact that the majority of her business comes from past clients and/or referrals from satisfied clients speaks volumes about her dedication to the high quality of service that she offers her clients to meet their Calgary and surrounding area real estate needs. She is a mother of four who are all on their own now, and a grandmother of eight. Besides helping people buy or sell real estate, she loves spending time with her family, being active outdoors, traveling and meeting new people, photography, playing the drums, reading, scuba diving, listening to music, learning new things, and nurturing her spiritual growth.

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Allison James, Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd.
1612 17 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2T 0E3
Tel: 403-245-0773 Toll Free: 403-708-5873 Cell: 403-708-5873 Fax: 403-592-9187
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