This page covers non-strata homes, see Strata Ownership for information on condominiums. In BC we call condominiums strata.
Single Family, Detached Home: This is what most people think of as a house, a single family house on its own land with no other dwelling attached to it and with a yard on all four sides. Detached homes can also include a suite. On Vancouver Island, mobiles on their own land also fall into this category. These are the most expensive type of dwellings, and they also provide the most freedom and privacy. Home owners are responsible for all maintenance costs.
There are many styles of detached homes, and the Island has some differences from elsewhere. The styles range from Ranchers (single floor) to split level and
multi-floors (see Building Styles).
One difference on the island compared to some other places in Canada is basements. Some homes here do not have basements, the home may be on a slab, just a foundation or a foundation with a crawl space. The island ground can be very rocky compared to the prairie's dirt ground, and a basement is not feasible due to this or to a high water table. Unless you want an indoor pool, putting a basement down into the water table causes some problems. With our mild winters there is no risk of water and sewer lines freezing so those services do not have to be deep.
Farming under the gaze of the Comox Glacier.
The Blackfin pub and restaurant at sunrise in Comox.
Semi-detached Home: This is a term that is not used much on the Island, we tend to refer to these as a duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhouses or patio homes. Here the homes share a wall with another home and usually have their own front and back yards.
Triplex and Fourplex: These are similar to duplexes, but rather with three or four units. They can be freehold title with all units as one property, or they can be strata title with separate title for each unit. See Home Ownership for definitions.
Mobiles in parks are the lowest cost of home ownership, though the pad rent needs to be considered. Depending on the cost of the mobile, in the long run this option can be more economical than renting. Parks will have bylaws and rules that will need to be adhered to, similar to strata (except with strata ownership you have a vote and are involved in changes, while park owners make the rules, like any landlord).
There are legal and financial differences with mobiles, and they differ if they are in a park or on their own land. Mobiles in parks are not considered real property, rather they are chattels (personal property). Ownership registration is done through the Mobile Home Registration and financing is done as a chattel mortgage and is governed by the Personal Property Security Act. Ownership transfer will involve both of these.
To be considered part of the land (real property), mobiles on their own land must be de-registered with the Mobile Home Registration and "affixed" to the land--usually done by placing them on a foundation or pad, removing the towing hitch, and connecting services. These types of property are registered with Land Titles.
Whether it is a chattel mortgage or a regular mortgage for a mobile on its own land, there is another financial consideration in that banks tend to consider mobiles to have a fixed life called economical life. If the mobile is older, 20-30 years, the bank will have an appraiser determine its remaining economical life in order to determine the amortization period of the mortgage. For example, if the mobile's economical life is determined to be 20 years, the bank will usually subtract 5 years and amortize the mortgage over 15 years. Rarely is there a mobile for sale that is more than 50 years old.
Modular homes: These homes are pre-constructed in sections, then assembled together on-site on a foundation or pad. As the sections are constructed indoors in a controlled environment the building materials are not exposed to the weather during construction (like regular frame houses). Some people feel this results in a high quality home while others don't accept this view. There are very few modular homes on Vancouver Island, and while they are categorized as single family homes, the construction type is noted on the listing so buyers are aware that it is a modular home.
A Harbour Air aircraft taxis to its destination in the waters of the Comox Bay.