5 Lifestyle Considerations Before Buying a Condo

Posted by Justin Havre on Monday, September 10th, 2018 at 7:57am.

What Buyers Need to Consider Before Investing in a CondoWhile the condominium lifestyle is a dream for many homeowners, certain individuals may discover that living amid a condo community isn't exactly their cup of tea. Of course, there are pros and cons of buying a Calgary condo, just like there are in any community. So, before signing on the dotted line here are five considerations before buying a condo.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

1. Privacy Preferences

Individuals who prefer a great deal of privacy may find condo living challenging to their senses. After all, most condominium communities have dozens or even hundreds of units, usually joined by common walls. This means means that quite a few people are likely to be coming and going regularly - and possibly making some noise as well. However, there are quite a few buyers who enjoy engaging with others in the neighbourhood and forge strong connections. An additional perk of having multiple neighbours is that they tend to keep an eye on things which can serve as an unspoken safety measure, as they are likely to report any suspicious activity they see occurring on the premises.

2. Desirable Amenities Without Maintenance

Potential buyers who appreciate upscale amenities like swimming pools, clubhouses, common outdoor areas, workout rooms, tennis courts and jogging trails are likely to appreciate having access to such amenities. Furthermore, because the Homeowners Association (HOA) hires companies—using HOA dues—to take care of maintaining these amenities, owners don't have to concern themselves with any upkeep whatsoever.

On the flip side, residents don't get to choose what amenities they have unless they happen to live there when the HOA is considering putting in a new feature. Often homeowners are permitted to vote yay or nay and have input on such additions. For the most part though, buyers get what they get and will be contributing to the costs of maintenance regardless of whether they utilize the amenities or not.

3. Understand the Operations of the Homeowner's Association

HOAs are generally an elected group of residents of a planned subdivision or condo community that handles:

  • Collecting homeowner dues that help maintain common areas, amenities and pay for certain repairs essential to the community.
  • Enforcing bylaws and covenants, restrictions and conditions (CC&Rs) established by the association and the developer.
  • Fining residents for violations of CC&Rs and/or community bylaws.
  • Hiring contractors and overseeing their work or hiring a management company to do so.
  • Deciding which homeowner requests to approve or reject.

If the idea of such a group wielding so much power makes a buyer uncomfortable, the condo lifestyle might not be the best choice.

4. Is a Low Maintenance Lifestyle Preferable?

Concerning the HOA, many residents prefer that this entity and their contractors handle the majority of exterior maintenance in addition to common area upkeep within condominium communities similar to Amber condos as an example. This includes tasks such as parking lot cleanup, tree trimming, landscaping installations and maintenance, fencing repairs, painting of the condo's exterior and often much more.

While these are generally paid for through homeowner's monthly or annual dues, there are times when serious repairs may be necessary and will cause the HOA to pass on special assessment fees to owners. Furthermore, owners will have very little say about the colour of their home and other exterior features like landscaping, and any improvements or changes will need to be approved by the HOA.

5. Consider the Long-term Appreciation Value of Condos

Those seeking a long term investment might be impressed by trending condo appreciation values in Canada. Condo prices in Calgary are increasing at a steady pace, and this is similar across most of Canada. According to Buttonwood, condo prices in Toronto increased by 15% last year alone. The key to success for investors is to ensure that they will reside within the home for a period between three to five years to avoid taxation issues and the burdens that can accompany a big move. Buyers who are looking to establish a stronger credit history and take a chance on seeing some capital appreciation may find a short-term solution through buying a condo.

Considering buying a condo in Canada? Condos have many advantages - though as in many home choices, there are disadvantages as well. A local real estate professional will be able to assist in discussing advantages and disadvantages of condo living. If you are considering purchasing pre construction and new condos in Toronto, take a look at this site for more info. 

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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