4 pesky issues with condo living - and how to overcome them
The condo lifestyle is more popular than ever, with young couples, families, and retirees all making the move away from the suburbs and into an inner-city condo. There are numerous financial and lifestyle advantages associated with condo living, including greater affordability, a more central location, better access to amenities, and the chance to become part of a vibrant condo community.
This way of life is certainly not for everyone, however, so let's take a look at how you can overcome some of the common problems associated with condo living.
Construction problems - know your rights
Before you purchase a condo, it's important to get the unit inspected by a professional building inspector and property appraiser. While future problems may arise, you need to do everything you can from the outset to minimize the risks associated with your investment.
If problems do develop, including significant issues such as water leaks and cracks, it's important to know your rights when dealing with the Homeowners Association (HOA). While condo unit owners are generally responsible for all repairs inside their unit, construction defects may be covered for new condo projects.
Financial problems - do your homework
Along with the physical condition of the building, it's also important to look into the financial health of the construction and management company behind the project. You can review the annual financial statements of the companies or organizations involved, review historic building plans and amendments, and request specific information about the building.
It's also important to look into past complaints and litigations, research past developments, and review historic maintenance fee increases and amendments in order to forecast future fees. If your condo fees seem high, don't forget about the maintenance, gym membership and associated expenses you would face as a conventional homeowner.
Noise complaints - meet your neighbors
Living in a community surrounded on all sides can be a challenging proposition, especially if you're used to living in a detached home. Noise complaints are one of the major struggles for condo residents, which is why rules and regulations are put in place surrounding noise levels at different times of the day.
If you're having issues with a particular neighbor, it's normally a good idea to meet them in person and communicate your concerns before elevating the issue. While the Condo Board can be used to mediate such disputes if needed, old-fashioned face-to-face communication can be incredibly effective if you give it a chance.
Rules and regulations - join the condo board
Living in a condo means becoming part of a community. Unlike living in a standard house, there will be rules and regulations that you need to abide by. Whether it's pet ownership, noise levels, subletting, or drying your clothes on the balcony, some aspects of your daily life may be restricted.
Before buying a condo, it's important to review all relevant rules and regulations to see if you're a good fit for the community. After moving in, it's often a good idea to join the Condo Board so you can become part of the rulemaking process.
Even if you don't want to join the Board, it normally makes sense to make yourself known to prominent members to avoid being another face in the crowd.