Purchasing/Living in a Condominium

April, 7 2022 Published by Grand River Chapter - By Maggie Matian

The Pros and Cons of Condo Living

Investing in a condo may seem like the right choice because of the price, but what really are the pros and cons of condo living?

The housing market is heavy with condominium listings. For those looking to invest in a condominium, you may have some questions about what you’re getting yourself into. 

Specifically, in the Guelph area, listings have increased by 40%. Many folks in Toronto have realized that the commute from Brampton and the commute from Guelph are quite similar. However, Guelph’s housing market is a fraction of the price. 

Outdoor maintenance, storage, parking, and pets. These are all factors that you don’t really think too much about when buying a semi-detached or detached home. However, they do play a large role in how your condo community will work. So, how exactly does it work? You’ll want to keep reading!

Outdoor Maintenance

Are you someone who has never enjoyed any type of garden work? Mowing lawns, tending to weeds, or turning the soil? How about in those ghastly winter months with the endless shoveling? Certainly, there have been moments where you wish someone would handle all that work for you. 

Luckily, in a condominium, much of the outdoor maintenance you yourself would have had to do in the past, will be covered in your condo fees, and done for you! Instead of struggling with that one pesky daisy who just doesn’t want to blossom, you can sit back and enjoy the view. 

However, there are a lot of condominiums that do not offer much of a green space. Although many developments are working on constructing more green spaces, this is something you want to consider, especially if you have pets you want to walk around with, or if you are a person who enjoys strolls through the park. 

Consider also how some condos not only lack green space, but also do not have a balcony to sit on. For many, this could be an issue. Especially if you are the type of person who enjoys sitting with a glass of wine on a warm summer’s eve as the sun sets slowly. 

Storage Spaces

In most condos, the average storage space is about 4ft by 8ft, and can vary in distance from your unit. There are some storage units in the basement, some on every floor, and some connected to your unit. Also consider the distance you’ll need to travel and weight of what you are exchanging from your unit to storage. 

Many may enjoy downsizing, purging their belongings, and feel the relief of “spring cleaning”. Though there are many others that may feel conflicted and would either look at renting an additional storage unit, or begging their parents to keep some cherished memories.

Also consider the condo’s rules and regulations, including rules on what you are allowed to keep in your storage unit, and the condo board’s enforcement rights should you choose to ignore the rules. 

Take paint cans as an example. Innocent enough, right? Maybe you re-painted your kitchen and had leftover paint. Maybe it’s a custom colour, and you really don’t want to toss it, so you keep it in your storage unit.

Did you know that in most condo buildings, if the property manager is walking through with the fire department and they catch that paint can, they have the right to cut into your storage unit and remove it? These are situations to consider should you want to enter the condo community. 

Parking Areas

A major pro that a lot of condo buildings have is the secure, underground, temperature-controlled parking. Since your outdoor maintenance is handled for you, the winter season is a breeze (so long as you move your car, as needed, when the plow comes). 

However, most units only come with one car parking space. Some unit owners with two or more cars may begin to eye the visitor parking and improperly use those spaces for additional spots, which will mean the visitor parking spots will be full should actual visitors come. 

Being mindful of your neighbours and the building rules, is a huge part of being a part of the condo community.

Pets, Pets, and Pets

You are at the mercy of your neighbours. You live beside, above, and below, your community, and you do need to be respectful and thoughtful of that. There is no guarantee of silence. This is something you need to accept. Sometimes you will hear their tv, their music, or their pets. Remember: you share walls. This also means that pet owners should be diligent and respectful when it comes to noise. 

Be mindful that there are condo buildings that have rules and regulations when it comes to pets as well. For example: maybe their rule is no pets over 40 pounds, but you have adopted a dog that at the time, is 20 pounds, but you as the unit owner know will grow to be much more. This can put a lot of people in uncomfortable situations. Keep in mind that what you purchased comes with a set of rules. 

These are only the tip of the iceberg of what you should consider when looking to invest in a condo unit or building. Hire a real estate agent or a lawyer who can walk you through the rules of condo living so that you know what you are buying into. 

Are you a current condo unit or building owner struggling to navigate how you can be better informed? Be involved. Go to the annual general meeting. Use the resources that are provided for you. 

You can also keep informed and up to date by following CCI-Grand River Chapter, or the Chapter that your condo resides in. 

Maggie Matian
Marketing Manager, CCI Grand River


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