3 important things to know before buying a condo

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Purchasing a condo is one of the biggest and most important decisions you’ll ever make. From researching mortgages and locations through to property inspections and taxes, this single decision will have a huge impact on your lifestyle and finances for years to come.

If you're thinking about signing a contract and taking advantage of the increasingly popular condo lifestyle, it's important to do your homework first.

Buying a condo means joining a community

Unlike a regular detached home, a condo purchase is limited to the interior of the unit. While you have the right to use the assets and amenities of the condo community, you do not own the land or the building exterior. The communal nature of condo living is a major drawcard for many people, with this way of life proving especially popular for people who are sick and tired of suburban isolation and long daily commuting.

While it's a long way from a hippy commune, close knit living arrangements, shared amenities, and social opportunities make condo living feel like a real community. Some condo buildings and complexes have even been designed to target specific ages and demographics, with common examples including inner-city condos for young professionals, and 55+ communities for retirees. With most residents of a certain age, it's much easier to build amenities and social support structures that cater to the entire community.  

Living in a community also comes with responsibilities, with all condo residents expected to abide by certain rules and regulations. Rules can differ widely between communities, which is why it's important to do your homework before you make a final decision. For example, some condos may restrict pets, implement noise restrictions after a certain time, or prevent people from using a barbecue or drying their clothes on the balcony.

Buying a condo means paying monthly fees

When you purchase a condo, you have a responsibility to pay monthly maintenance fees in addition to your mortgage payment. Also known as condo fees, maintenance fees are paid to the Homeowners Association (HOA) in exchange for building maintenance, repair, and management. These fees differ widely between buildings depending on the number and type of amenities, the existence of cleaning and maintenance staff, the size and age of the building, and numerous other factors.

Condo fees are a necessary part of the condo lifestyle, with residents needing to budget for these fees each and every month. While the addition of fees on top of regular mortgage payments is enough to put some people off, there are also a number of advantages associated with condo fees. Rather than wasting your weekends doing roof repairs or mowing the lawn, you can sit back or take some time doing the things you really love.

While maintenance fees can feel expensive at times, they're often comparable to maintaining a home yourself and can also buy you a lot of freedom.   

Buying a condo will change your lifestyle  

Living in a condo can have a positive, and somewhat surprising, effect on your lifestyle.

  • First and foremost, it allows you to live closer to the action, with condos normally situated in central inner-city locations.

  • Secondly, the condo lifestyle helps you to access sporting and social amenities, many of which you wouldn't be able to afford alone.

  • Last but not least, the existence of condo fees helps you to free up time on your weekends and enjoy everything life has to offer.