Not everyone can live in an Condo but for some they can’t imagine life any other way.
You’ll meet all kinds of people at condominium open houses: first time buyers looking to get into the market, investors snapping up rental properties and, of course, baby boomers wanting to downsize their space and responsibilities.
Condos can be low-rise buildings, townhouses, freestanding houses, duplexes, triplexes or “mixed use” buildings, such as condos above offices or store fronts. They can be brand new, re-sell or conversions — that is, buildings that used to be apartments or factories turned into condos.
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.
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 shovelling 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. Many condo developments cater to specific groups — like young professionals, families and older adults.
– 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 renting, you’re free to paint the walls, put up pictures and renovate.
– 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.
– Location. If you’re craving a prime spot in a major city — like downtown Salt Lake— condos may be the only practical option. What you lose in space and higher condo fees, you gain with easy access to work, dining, activities, public transportation and other amenities.
– Security. Marketers say condos offer greater security than a free hold home or renting. For one thing, people are more likely to take better care of 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.