Living in a condo can be awesome! Honestly, it all depends on what you like, want and expect from a condo. You have to be informed in order to get the most out of it. But there will be some compromises and gotchas. So the trick is to mentally, walk through all the possible situations and see if you can deal with that or not.
Fine. But what are some of the common things and condo owners like and dislike?
Well let’s take a look at what most people like about condo living
- Virtually maintenance free! You don’t have to do the yard work! That means no grass cutting, no leaves collecting, no grass watering, no snow shoveling, etc.
- Major repairs are shared by all owners. If something in the building breaks down you don’t pay for it by yourself. Everyone shares the cost.
- Condo’s come with many cool amenities, like: gym, swimming pool, outside tennis courts, party room, rooftop patio, theater room, etc… This saves you tons of time because everything is in your building, plus you get a chance to meet your neighbors and socialize a bit.
- Condos cost less! Not always, but generally, condos will cost less. Making it a perfect choice for young buyers or those with a entry level budget.
- Safe and secure. Most condos have a concierge which includes a security person at the main lobby. Controlled access to the premise. Plus since you live in a building, if you leave for a vacation, there is always someone around, so you don’t have to worry about theft.
- Condos tend to be in good locations – sometimes condos are in a good spot where you have access to everything. Making you less dependent on personal transportation.
- You belong to a community of other condo owners. You can be part of the condo board of directors. You have a say, through your vote.
Now let’s take a look at the negative aspects of buying a condo, and what that means for you..
- Condo fees are continuous and can only go up. They can range anywhere from $200 to $600 depending on where you live. Depending on how much they increase, condo fees can turn off potential condo buyers down the road.
- Less space when compared to a house or townhouse. Keep this in mind, if you have a family and need more space.
- Less privacy in some units and more noise can be a turn off. Depending on where you unit is, and who lives around you, you may find it hard to get peace and quiet. Definitely, inspect the unit carefully, before buying.
- You may have to pay for amenities you never use! Nobody’s forcing you to use them, but you do have to share the costs of maintaining those features.
- You don’t get a say when major maintenance, or any changes will be done, that’s the decision for a board of directors to make.
- Possible additional costs when some shared maintenance has to be done and there is no reserved money. There might be a special assessment charges for unexpected repairs.
- Restrictions and rules regarding balcony use, noise levels, parking, pets, smoking, style and colors of doors, windows, etc. For example if you like to BBQ, you may not be able to in a condo.
- Value appreciation is slower when compared to a house or townhouse. And doing major repair and renovations won’t necessarily raise the value.
Bottom line is, condo living is a lifestyle, and it can be a sweet dream for some people and a living nightmare for others. You really have to be realistic with your expectations, and decide if the condo living is the right choice for you.
To minimize disappointments and risks – get some expert advice from a real estate agent and a lawyer who have experience with condos! It’s definitely worth hiring them, because with their advice you could save yourself thousands of dollars, and major headaches.