Condo Living's facts and fiction
The facts and fictions of condo living

Co-ownership is a real estate practice that has become very much in vogue. It is a form of ownership in which several owners share the management of a common property. It’s a practical option for many home buyers, as it allows them to share the costs and responsibilities associated with the property.

Although home ownership is growing in popularity, there are many myths surrounding it that don’t help to paint a realistic picture. Here are some of the myths we regularly hear, and some of the truth.

 Fiction: Condominiums are like hotels!

Fact: Every type of property has its advantages and disadvantages. Condominium living is more like living in an apartment than in a hotel. In fact, living in a condo comes with certain responsibilities to ensure a good living environment for all co-owners. Many condominiums are administered by an external manager or a council of co-owners. It is quite possible that the involvement or collaboration of all co-owners will be required to manage the building. You assume some responsibility for operations in the common areas. Your manager or CA is not a concierge service.

Fiction: Condominium fees are too high!

Fact: Condominium fees cover the costs of maintaining and operating the building’s common areas, such as the pool, gym, roof terraces, etc. These common monthly charges vary according to the size and location of the property, as well as the services and facilities offered. There are 2 types of condo fees: “common general charges” related to the administration, management, and maintenance of the common areas, and “specific common charges” for exceptional expenses that go beyond the contingency fund. Keep in mind that low expenses may be a sign of poor building management and insufficient contingency funds. To ensure that condominium fees are adequate, it’s best to be assisted by a real-estate broker who has access to documents that can help you evaluate fees.

 

Fiction:  You Can’t Customize Your Property

Fact: Although there may be regulations concerning the exterior appearance of your condominium, there’s nothing to stop you from personalizing the interior of your condo and adding your own touch. Of course, you can’t make structural changes to your unit without submitting an architect’s plan and an engineer’s report. It’s always possible to change countertops and cabinets, add wallpaper and much more. Just don’t forget to notify your syndicate as all changes to flooring, countertops or cabinetry must be notified in your basic finishes register.

Fiction: It’s always noisy!

Fact: Most condominium corporations have noise bylaws, and most condominium owners follow the rules to reduce noise levels. However, it’s always possible to report the problem to the co-ownership’s council if agitation becomes a problem. They will take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. Remember that some noise is not caused by your neighbours, but sometimes by a lack of soundproofing, so it’s best to talk to your syndicate or manager.

Fiction: Condominiums Have Too Many Rules and Regulations

Fact: Condominium rules and regulations exist to protect the interests of co-owners and to ensure that the property is well maintained. Rules and regulations may seem restrictive, but they help ensure that the property is maintained in good condition, that facilities are used properly and that all co-owners are treated fairly.

 

In conclusion, condominium living has both advantages and disadvantages. While there are many myths surrounding condominium living, it’s important to understand the realities before making a purchasing decision. Condominium fees may seem high, but they cover the costs of maintaining and repairing the property and its common areas and can be lower than the costs of maintaining an individual property. Although customization of the property may be limited, co-owners can generally personalize their living space. Co-ownership management can be competent if professionally managed. Competence and experience come at a price. A low-cost manager is not necessarily a guarantee of your building’s longevity. Ultimately, it’s important to research the property and condominium association before you buy to understand the costs, rules, and regulations, and to ensure that condominium living suits your needs and lifestyle.

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