Joanna Cutaia-Beales
Real Estate Broker

Hamilton Ontario Real Estate Agent

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing a Condo

For some, the condominium lifestyle may seem like a dream, especially if you are looking to downsize from your current home to a space which is more manageable. Of course, there are pros and cons to purchasing a condo and living in a condominium community, just like any other community!

So, before making the leap to condo living, consider these 5 key things to help you decide if a condominium is the right purchase.

1. How much space do you need and want?

When viewing condos, you will likely come to realize that, no matter how large a condo can be, there will be space limits in comparison with a home or other residential property. Condo living would require a certain amount of downsizing, which could also mean a decrease in storage space. Your hunt for the perfect condo may very well come down to the amount of space you need for daily living, in addition to the amount of space you want. After all, moving from a home to a condo would be an adjustment for anyone!

Having a list of your must-haves with you when you view multiple condos will allow you to better narrow down the square footage you need, and will also give you a better sense as to whether you are ready to make the move from a house to a condo!

2. Amenities vs. Convenience

There are many benefits to condo living, but one of the main benefits is property maintenance. Typically, a homeowners’ organization or association, or a building’s board of directors, will be in charge of working with the right companies and groups to ensure every aspect of the building is maintained. This can include landscaping, technical maintenance, and more. What this means for you as a condo owner is that you don’t have to worry about upkeep!

On the flipside, a condominium may have neat amenities like an indoor workout area, swimming pool, and underground parking, but may not have other amenities you’d appreciate, such as greenspace, updated appliances, guest parking, etc. In many situations, condo owners contribute to the cost of building maintenance whether or not they use the amenities available.

It’s beneficial to consider which type of amenities you’d need a condominium to have in order to make it the perfect new home for you!

3. Privacy concerns

Unlike a traditional residential property, a condo is often one of many in a complex of other condos, which means your home is separated from others by walls, as opposed to yards or acres of property.

While this may be an adjustment for some (who doesn’t like their privacy now and then?!) there are upsides to living in a condominium with multiple other condos and their owners! For one, condo owners are just as invested in the wellbeing and state of the building as you would be, especially as owners contribute financially to its upkeep. Condo owners often also form communities of their own and help to look out for one another’s condo while people are away on vacation (for example).

If privacy is a concern for you, ask yourself whether community-style living would be a right fit for you. For example, can you see yourself being a part of a building’s community? Are you easily disturbed or frustrated by loud noises?

4. Condo Fees

A deterrent for some prospective condo buyers can be the condo fees. Simply put, condo fees are a monthly fee which cover things such as building maintenance, amenities, etc. While you may not use every amenity or feature of the building regularly (or at all!), condo fees are mandatory.

Condo fees will differ based on each individual condominium building; some may be reasonable, while others may be quite high based on other considerations, such as the location of the building and the specific amenities the building has that others nearby may not.

There are a few questions you can ask yourself, and your Realtor, when considering if a condo’s fees are reasonable for the condo you may want to purchase. For instance, what type of amenities does the building offer? Which maintenance services does the building’s association use, such as landscaping, plowing, etc? Are the amenities updated? Is there parking for both yourself and a guest?

5. Are you ready to downsize?

Just like any community, condominium living comes with its own pros and cons. For some, it may seem attractive because of the stress-free maintenance of the building, while others may prefer to stay in a residential house with more storage space.

Before you jump into condo living, you should carefully consider whether you’re ready to downsize. If you love to garden, for example, this ability may be limited or unavailable with condo living, so would you be ready to give up that type of greenspace? The issue of smaller storage space can be a pain point for some, as well! Do you need all of your existing storage space, or could downsizing actually help prevent from overbuying and cluttering your spaces?

A great tip is to sit down and make a pros and cons list for your existing property versus condo living; it also doesn’t hurt to view a condo or two in order to preview condo living and see if it could potentially be right for you!

Joanna Cutaia-Beales