Interested in Condo Living?
You’re not alone! Condo’s are fantastic options for younger buyers starting out, professionals looking to keep a convenient carefree lifestyle and downsizes looking to lock the door and head south for the winter. Whatever position you find yourself in, its good to consider the pros and cons of condo ownership to see if its the perfect fit for you.
- 1. Low Maintenance: No grass to cut, snow to shovel (if you have underground parking) or major repairs. These are often covered in your monthly maintenance fees. You also have the benefit of paying for repairs monthly instead of in large amounts as if you own a freehold property.
- 2. More Free Time: When you own a detached property there is often much more involved in up-keep. This can rob you of time you would rather be spending in different areas of your life whether it be recreation or a busy work schedule.
- 3. Lower Utility Costs: With the price of hydro, gas and water constantly increasing this point is more relevant than ever. Condo’s often share two if not three walls with other occupants, this means much less heat loss in the winter months and more effective cooling in the summer.
- 4. Amenities: A huge plus for some, a “meh” for others, amenities can be a big attraction. These include pools, spas, tennis courts, dog grooming stations (yes they exist), workout/ yoga rooms, theatre rooms and more! If you use them, they definitely add to the experience.
- 1. Maintenance Fees: Although we mentioned this as a pro in the section above, there is a negative aspect to these never ending monthly fees. These fees are non-equitable. This means that although you’re paying every month, they don’t go toward anything that builds your equity. In fact, if you own a condo where the fees keep increasing, you may actually start to see the price of your unit stop increasing even when others keep going (see image below). This is because buyers see condo fees similar to property taxes and monthly utilities, the higher the monthly fees, the lower they are willing to pay for the unit. New condo’s usually start with low fees because everything is new and little to no repairs are expected for the foreseeable future. This allows the reserve fund to be built up. However, as the building ages and expensive repairs are needed, condo fees increase and special assessments come! See what “special assessments” mean by clicking here. It is not uncommon to see older condo apartments to have fees around the $550-800 mark! Another primary factor to the amount of fees payable each month are the buildings’ amenities. Costs to maintain pools and all the other things mentioned in the “pros” list above significantly increase what you will pay each month. For this reason low rise buildings and townhouse condo’s usually have much lower fees.
- 2. Currently In Hamilton, Condo’s are not much cheaper than detached homes. This is perhaps the biggest “con” for me. Many people decide to buy a condo because they feel its “cheaper”. This may be the case in more expensive cities like Toronto, but in Hamilton you can still buy a DETACHED HOUSE for around the same money you can buy a condo. I bet if you asked all the Toronto buyers if they would have still bought a condo if detached homes were around the same price, I’m sure most would choose detached over condo. Thats why articles like this are important. People should CHOOSE condos over other types of real estate for reasons outlined above, namely lifestyle, cost of maintenance and amenities. If you would rather live in a detached home guess what? In Hamilton you still have a choice (for the moment)
So in conclusion, condo life is attractive to many people. It affords the owner more time to spend on other things and is a lifestyle in and of itself. Just be aware of the pros and cons before hand. If we’ve forgotten some pros and cons you can think of, please post them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a list of Hamilton condo’s that would be our top pic for buyers.