Condo living 101

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The condo lifestyle is more popular than ever, with people of all ages looking for an affordable way to buy property and upgrade their quality of life. Condos provide a number of benefits over other forms of housing, including a lower purchase price, more central location, and greater access to amenities and social opportunities.

The condo lifestyle also provides a number of challenges, however, so it's important to get your expectations straight before you dive in the deep end.

While condo living can be fantastic, it’s also very different from renting an apartment or living in a detached home. The new freedoms and opportunities you're likely to experience as a condo owner will also come with new challenges and responsibilities. Education and awareness are key, so let's take a look at what you can expect in our Condo living guide 101.   

The pros and cons of sharing

A condominium is a type of property ownership defined by individual ownership of a unit and shared access to community assets and amenities. Unlike a standard house purchase, you do not own the exterior of the building or the surrounding land.

This has a number of implications related to amenities, rules and regulations, and shared decision making. While sharing is caring, it's important to be aware of the communal nature of condos before you make a purchase.

Amenities

Living in a community can be incredibly beneficial, with condo owners able to share amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and business rooms. While very few people are able to afford such luxuries in their own private homes, condo residents can enjoy these facilities every day.

Sharing amenities and building assets also promotes a greater degree of socialization between residents, which means you can enjoy new friendships rather than suffering from suburban isolation.

Rules and regulations

When you live in a condo, you are subject to the rules and regulations of the condo community. While these rules are designed for the benefit of all, it's important to be aware of specific rules before you make a purchase. From pet ownership and noise levels through to subletting and parking, doing your homework from the outset is the best way to avoid mistakes.

Communal decisions

Communal decisions are also a big part of condo living, especially if you want to join the Condo Board and get involved. While this responsibility will be an unwanted burden for some, others will see it as an opportunity to get involved in the wider community.

Not everyone is made for the communal lifestyle, however, with independence, solitude, privacy, and peace and quiet often needing to be compromised.   

Condo fees and the maintenance free lifestyle

Before you purchase a condo, it's important to be aware of condo fees so that you can budget accordingly. These fees are designed to cover building repairs and maintenance, with all of the amenities you enjoy needing to be cleaned, inspected, and generally looked after.

Condo fees may also contribute to things like insurance, taxes, and a contingency fund in the case of natural disasters or large-scale repairs.

While condo fees are a significant expense on-top of your mortgage payments, they can also have a positive effect on your quality of life and long-term financial situation. Rather than spending the weekends mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters, you can sit back and relax knowing that all maintenance tasks are being taken care of by professionals.

Condo fees are not just a great way to save time and reduce your stress levels, they can actually save you money when analyzed over a long period of time. Depending on the dwelling in question, large periodic repair bills may end up being more expensive than affordable monthly fees.

While not related to maintenance, paying monthly condo fees also allows you to live in a more central location and save money on transportation costs.