Condo or condon’t? Is condo living right for you?
Purchasing a house is a huge decision and choosing the type of home you buy adds a whole other layer. Let’s break down all things condos so that you can make sure you think about all the options because after all, you’re the one who will have to live with it – or in this case, in it.
Are you currently considering purchasing a home for the first time? Or are you possibly looking to downsize from a house to a condo? Before making a purchase, especially one as big as a house, it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons. As a current condo owner for the past three years, I’ve started a list of things to consider to help you decide if condo life is right for your lifestyle.
Condo living comes with a lot of pros – here are some that I would consider positive:
- Low Maintenance – Condos usually come with snow removal and landscaping built into condo fees.
- Affordability – Condos tend to be lower in price and newer, so you get more bang for your buck.
- Amenities – If you get lucky, your condo could have access to some extra amenities, such as a pool, fitness centre, clubhouse, meeting space, BBQ, underground parking, gated community park, etc. These extra amenities could also help you save money on other expenses, like no gym membership or sharing a BBQ.
- Less Hidden Costs – What you see is what you get with a condo. There are usually no extra costs when it comes to shingle repair, deck, landscaping, etc.
- Location, Location, Location – Many condos are located close to downtown or commercial developments so you’re usually within walking distance to city attractions.
- Size – Bigger doesn’t have to be better, especially when it comes to cleaning a big house or buying furniture to fill it. Depending on the condo, they usually give you a good size designed for comfortable living for families while allowing space for storage.
- Utility Savings – Sometimes utility costs are built into your condo fees which means you share utility costs with your fellow tenants. This can be a blessing or a curse (depending if you have neighbours who love to take 45 minute showers), but by sharing utility costs – you avoid having to pay setup and maintenance fees. You also don’t have to worry about paying multiple bills during the month.
- Board Experience – Each condo building typically has a Condo Board that makes decisions for your facility like the use of your reserve fund and any increases/decreases to your condo fees. If you are looking to gain Board experience, this is a great place to start while also having a say in what happens in your neighborhood.
Here are some of the cons that come with condo living that I would suggest you consider before committing to a condo:
- Close Quarters – You’re usually sharing walls with neighbours resulting in loud distributions and lack of privacy. I used to live beside a neighbour who had a dog that really missed them when they got home from their nightly shift work at 4:00 a.m.
- Difficulty Re-Selling – Depending on the market, a condo can generally take longer to sell since condo living is not for everyone, market saturation or too many condos are on the re-sale market.
- Lack of Back Yard – One luxury I wish I had access to would be a bigger back yard. I do have something (and by “something” I mean a strip of shared grass), but it is tough to entertain during the summer when you don’t have access to a large lawn or privacy from your neighbours.
- Rules – Condos tend to have set rules that vary per condo like “quiet time”, no pets, renovation restrictions, no smoking, etc. unlike living in a stand along home where you are generally free to do what you want to do.
- Condo Fees – As mentioned in the pros, condos come with condo fees that go towards the building upkeep, shared utilities such as hydro, electric, grounds keeping and a reserve fund for emergencies (although this could be considered a positive – yay for savings!). The older your condo building is, the higher your condo fees can be as there is generally an uptick in the amount of upkeep needed for the building.
When purchasing a home, I highly recommend making a good ol’ fashioned pro and con list for each separate property because it’s highly unlikely you will find a home that has absolutely everything and a list will help weigh your options so you can find out what you can live with and what you can’t live without.
Do you or have you lived in a condo and have any pros and cons to consider? Comment below!
Fashion school graduate and foodie that loves to travel and experience new things. Social butterfly as well as social media enthusiast. Born & raised in small city Regina, but loves the big city beat having lived in both Vancouver, BC and Boston, MA…(Full Bio in “Meet The Authors”)
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