You’ll meet all kinds of people at condo open houses: first-time buyers looking to get into the market, investors snapping up units to use as rental properties and, of course, baby boomers looking to downsize their space and responsibilities.
What makes condos different from freehold houses is that you own your unit but you also share ownership of the land, building and common areas. You share costs with fellow members of your condo association, and the board of directors or a property management company makes the big decisions.
There’s a lot of buzz about condos in the Waterloo Region market right now and there are certainly some great ones out there, but are they a smart choice? The fact is there’s no definitive answer for everyone, but for some, they can certainly be the best choice.
The benefits of condo living
– Someone else handles the outside work. One of the biggest draws of condo ownership is freedom from maintenance you might not have the time, desire or ability to tackle — like shoveling snow, mowing the lawn or repairing outside structures. Your monthly condo fees cover these services.
– Many major costs are shared. By law, a portion of those condo fees goes into a reserve fund. When the property is well managed, this fund covers major repairs like replacing windows and roofing without additional costs to owners. Even when the reserve fund falls short, you’re not in it alone — a “special assessment” will be done and costs will be shared equally among owners.
– Lifestyle. If you prefer to live on one floor or in a one- or two-bedroom home, condos allow you to own your own space rather than rent. Common areas like pools and recreation rooms offer opportunities to socialize with neighbours. And in the Waterloo Region, you’ll find that most condo buildings are located right in ‘the heart of the action’; near all the best shopping and dining opportunities.
– Amenities. Some condos offer benefits you won’t see in the average home or apartment building — like a theatre room, gym, swimming pool and party room.
– Customization. Unlike when you are renting, you’re free to paint the walls, put up pictures and renovate. You are also responsible for making many repairs, but that is something every homeowner has to undertake.
– Price. Depending on where you live, some condos are more affordable than owning a freehold home — and a mortgage plus condo fees may be equivalent to rent. Add to that the fact that in our region right now a condo is a solid choice for an investment property and you may have a great deal on your hands.
– Security. Some people feel that condos offer greater security than a freehold home or renting. For one thing, people are more likely to take better care of the property they own, and some buildings offer a secure entrance or a doorman. You might feel safer with neighbours on either side and worry less if you frequently travel.
As we mentioned upfront, condo living isn’t for everyone but for those who find it is, our region offers some great options. Interested? Give Aron or Angie a call today or contact them here.