Condominium Ownership...The Pros and Cons

Sunday Apr 15th, 2018


Wondering whether or not condominium living really is the right choice for you? You may love the idea of ditching your snow shovel and lawn mower when you move into a condo, but you might not be so happy about leaving your satellite dish behind to comply with a bylaw.

Like most types of accommodation, condominiums have their advantages and disadvantages. Carefully consider all of these pros and cons when deciding whether or not a condo fits with your lifestyle, personality and financial situation.

Pros of Condominium Ownership

  • Fewer maintenance and repair responsibilities.
  • Access to on-site amenities, such as a sauna or swimming pool, which you otherwise might not be able to afford.
  • Enhanced security features in some condominium units. You’ll also have peace of mind while you’re on vacation knowing that your neighbours are close by.
  • Monthly maintenance or condo fees are usually predictable.
  • You have a say in the running of the condominium corporation. As an owner, you have voting rights and can be elected to the board of directors.
  • A community that may have a wide range of social, entertainment and recreational activities sometimes geared to a specific lifestyle (seniors, for example).

Cons of Condominium Ownership

  • You may not be able to decide when maintenance and repairs get done
  • You may have to pay for amenities that you might never or rarely use
  • Less privacy in some condominium units and possibly more noise
  • Possibility of special assessment charges for unexpected repairs
  • Like most communities, a condominium attracts individuals with a variety of personalities. It can sometimes be a challenge to reach a consensus
  • Less space in some condominium units
  • Possible restrictions on things like noise levels, parking, pets, smoking and even the style and colour of things like doors and window coverings.

Evaluation Checklist: Is Condominium Ownership Right for me?

If you answer “yes” to most of the following, then buying a condo may be a smart move for you.

For all Condominium Dwellings

  • I like the fact that a condominium is an “instant community” and my neighbours won’t be far away.
  • I want to participate in the running of the community with other condominium owners.
  • I don’t want the hassle of shovelling snow, cutting grass and other outdoor chores.
  • I’ll use some of the condominium’s amenities.
  • I understand that I will pay monthly fees for maintenance and repair of the condominium and will budget accordingly.
  • I know there may be restrictions on the number of occupants in my unit, pets, noise, parking, etc.
  • I’ll read through the condominium’s documents before I buy so there’ll be no surprises.
  • I understand that a board of directors can make decisions on my behalf.

Also, for Condominium Apartment Units

  • I’m an empty nester or single and would be satisfied with the space provided in a condominium apartment.
  • I’m reassured by the building’s security measures, such as entry buzzers and video surveillance cameras.

Source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

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