If you are in the market to buy a house or to downsize to a smaller home, this might be the right time to contemplate condo living. In urban areas, owning a condominium could be the perfect solution for your lifestyle.
In the Okanagan and surrounding areas, living in a condo allows you to take advantage of home ownership without the high demands of owning a free standing house. Also, as the areas in our region densify, an increased number and variety of condos are becoming available to buyers.
What is a condo?
A condominium could be described as the middle ground between an apartment and a house. It provides similarities to apartment living, but you purchase and own it. In terms of styles, condos come in many options, including townhouses, low-rise buildings, freestanding houses, duplexes and triplexes. You may have even noticed condos above storefronts or offices. What makes a condo stand out from a house is sharing the ownership of the land, building and common areas, while owning the unit where you live.
Benefits of living in a condo
They’re priced to fit your budget. You might find that owning a condo is more affordable than purchasing a freestanding house. There are condo fees to consider, but sharing the costs with others can keep them lower. Compared with renting, your mortgage plus condo fees might be the same, but you own your property.
Take advantage of additional amenities. Some condo complexes include a swimming pool, gym, playgrounds, a theatre room and a party room. Keep up with your exercise and workout routine right where you live! Feel free to have gatherings of friends and families because you have space available just for that purpose. Certain condo buildings also offer guest suites, for a minimal price, so you don’t have to put out of town visitors up in an expensive or distant hotel.
Go all out with interior design. Renting often requires asking permission to attach a picture hanger to the wall, and changing the paint colour is out of the question. As a condo owner, you have full authority to decorate and renovate to your personal taste.
Less maintenance, more free time. Give away your repair tools, snow shovel, lawn mower and most of your gardening tools! Condo living means you now have a crew that maintains the grounds and building in all seasons. If you are accustomed to gardening, set up a container garden on your patio or balcony for your favourite flowers and vegetables.
Assistance with property management. As the sole owner of a house, you are responsible for absolutely everything - from a leaky toilet to a leaky roof. The majority of condo complexes have a property manager that handles all of the repairs, operations and maintenance that goes into keeping a property at its best and up to standard.
Share the costs. A portion of your condo fees is set aside in a reserve fund to cover repairs such as replacing the roof or windows without an additional cost to you. In a well-managed property, even when the reserve funds are used up, certain repair costs will be voted to share among all of the owners.
Feel safe. The fact that each unit is owned by an individual, or even by a real estate investor means there is a higher likelihood of people taking better care of the building. Some complexes have a security gate or a doorman that monitors traffic. You might feel safer knowing you have neighbours in close proximity.
Capitalize on your location. If you prefer the convenience of living in an urban area close to shopping, conveniences, activities and your place of work, a condo is a practical solution. You also have access to public transportation which reduces the time and expense required to drive your own vehicle.
Build social connections. Living in a condominium complex means that you will have neighbours all around. This provides opportunities to develop new friendships with people who enjoy similar activities. Spending time in the common areas is where you have the chance to socialize with others. Volunteering on the condo board is another way to meet others and it gives you a voice in decisions for your complex.
Live the lifestyle you choose. Condo developments cater to various lifestyles - families, professionals and retired adults. Depending on the layout of the complex, you can choose to live on one floor or in a multi level unit, with your preferred number of bedrooms and baths. If you are retiring and downsizing with the intent to travel, or travel often for work, you will love the freedom and peace of mind that comes with a lock-up and go home.
Finding the perfect condo
Talk to a REALTOR® about your thoughts on purchasing a new home. Whether you are a first time buyer, seeking some changes, looking to downsize or considering investment properties, you will be pleasantly surprised by the advantages condo ownership can give you.
REALTORS® keep a close watch on the day-to-day opportunities for home buyers and neighbourhoods with properties for sale. Be open about your lifestyle requirements, keeping in mind that your REALTOR® has connections and industry knowledge that can enable you to find the ideal home.