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Condos - pros and cons

Condos - pros and cons

Old Jan 21st 2008, 2:38 pm
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Default Condos - pros and cons

We are busy looking at property and need advice on the pros and cons of condos. We would appreciate any feed back anyone can give us on this one as we are stumped.

Thanks
Mike and Lesley
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Old Jan 21st 2008, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by Mikelesley View Post
We are busy looking at property and need advice on the pros and cons of condos. We would appreciate any feed back anyone can give us on this one as we are stumped.

Thanks
Mike and Lesley
http://www.condosincalgary.com/webpages/tips.htm

Have a squis around this guy's website.

Bear in mind that the legislation regarding condos will vary by province. However, some of the info will be common to all provinces and the real Estate board for each are should have some province-specific info..

BTW, I've met Gerald and he really does know his stuff!

Last edited by Beebop; Jan 21st 2008 at 3:33 pm.
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Old Jan 21st 2008, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Off the top of my head ...

Pros:

* generally much more affordable that single family homes
* external maintenance is done by the condo association
* You can go away on long trips and just shut the front door - nothing much else to worry about.
* can be located in parts of town where other housing is not available

Cons

* monthly condo fees
* you may have to pay for major repairs to the building
* sometimes have very restrictive rules: no pets, no letting, must have a red front door, and so on
* every condo development seems to have one busy body who takes delight in grassing up any trivial breach of the condo rules
* even in concrete buildings you are not immune from hearing your neighbours.
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Pretty much as Jonboy wrote ... although I disagree that the condo fee is a negative... it's a necessary expense that pays for the running of the building. It's an expense all home owners have, it just plays out differently in condo ownership.

I pay $205 per month - this includes water/hot water, maintenance to the building and land (which as an owner you'd own a percentage of), insurance (though not on the contents), 'facilities' (sauna, hot tub and roof top garden, a workshop full of power tools (oh, yes), a pool table/meeting/card games/hangout room), storage, top-ups on the contingency fund, secure parking, garbage and recycling and, if I needed it, free scooter battery recharging (I live in a building populated mostly by seniors). This is for a 2br/2ba condo in a nice part of Victoria.

I think it's a bloody good deal for $200 a month. On this forum, I've seen some people's monthly water bills higher than my condo fees. However, I do live in a well managed building that has been well managed for a long time. Newer buildings usually have higher condo fees as the have a minimal contingency fund.

I do sometimes miss have a backgarden - more of my own outside space. But for right now in my life, living in a condo is easy, cheap and relatively carefree.
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Judging by the weather I would say that not having to shovel snow is a big plus

It really depend on the type of people you are as to whether condo living is right for you.

Ben and I hate gardening ( back in the UK David Attenborough used to find lost pygmy tribes in our back garden!) so not having a garden doesn't bother us

During the very high winds we have had recently it was a pleasure to lie in bed and listen to the wind howl without wondering "which bit of the fence is going to go this time ?!"

We don't find the rules and regs too restrictive , pets are allowed here as long as they are registered with managment, there is a dog run for people to walk their pets. I got a bit narked about the no real christmas tree rule but when I saw the mess in the elevator caused by someone dragging their one through the building I could at least see why the rule was there.

We get a discount on our contents insurance because we have a 24hr concierge. It is also handy , we don't have to be in when parcels are delivered or chase around depots to sign for them. Our concierge is also a mine of local info such as pointing out the nearest mailbox and recommending good seats for the footie game.

In terms of noise , we don't hear any really. If you are by the front door you can hear the elevator chiming or people putting stuff down the garbage chute. In fact it was so quiet when we first moved in that I really thought that we were the only people on our floor.

Trying hard to think of negative points as I love our condo. Oh I guess we have got a bit lazy about recycling because recycling has to be taken down to the basement whereas ordinary garbage goes doen the chute outside our door.

Oh yeah we did have a few false fire alarms when we first moved in , 19 floors of stairs do your legs in a bit, but now we have figured out the difference between the "alert" and "evacuation" alarm

Last edited by Zoe Bell; Jan 22nd 2008 at 3:27 pm. Reason: really bad typos
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

The replies above concentrate on apartment condos. It's worth noting that there are also condominium houses. We lived in a nice townhouse complex in Toronto that had the advantages; snow clearing, relatively fixed costs but also grass outside the door. There was once a tax shelter for constructing such places, MURBs, so they tend to date from that era - the early eighties.
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Strata Nazis - our friends with a condo in Kelowna are only allowed to park noise in to car parking spaces. We have no idea why there is this rule. If there is a rule on which way round you can park this is the most dangerous not to mention inconvenient for getting skies, mountain bikes etc. out of the boot - and all 4 of us work in the traffic / transportation industry.

The only thing that we can think of is that Canadians can't reverse into parking spaces.
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by live to ski View Post
Strata Nazis - our friends with a condo in Kelowna are only allowed to park noise in to car parking spaces. We have no idea why there is this rule. If there is a rule on which way round you can park this is the most dangerous not to mention inconvenient for getting skies, mountain bikes etc. out of the boot - and all 4 of us work in the traffic / transportation industry.

The only thing that we can think of is that Canadians can't reverse into parking spaces.
My guess is that it is to keep exhaust fumes as far away from the building as possible.
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Old Jan 22nd 2008, 7:05 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
My guess is that it is to keep exhaust fumes as far away from the building as possible.
There are so many things to consider - yes we like our outside space but judging from your replys we can get that - no we don't want to be spending time fixing fences, digging gardens etc but saying that we don't mind it. Oh I am really confused - I guess when we come on the recce we will have to look at condos aswell as "normal" houses. Thanks once again
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 2:53 am
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by Mikelesley View Post
There are so many things to consider - yes we like our outside space but judging from your replys we can get that - no we don't want to be spending time fixing fences, digging gardens etc but saying that we don't mind it. Oh I am really confused - I guess when we come on the recce we will have to look at condos aswell as "normal" houses. Thanks once again
Lesley

All the above comments are very valid, my recommendation to you when you look around is that you find a realtor who is a certified Condo specialist. Most new condos are no problem, but if you go for an older one, then there might be maintenance issues to consider as all condo boards have to have reserve fund. If they are professionally managed then you may be ok. If it is a small condo board it may be self managed which can be really bad news if they can not manage.

When you come to buy you must get ALL the condo documents and either read them for all the rules or pay a about $250 for a company to read them and assesss them for you. Do this as a condition to the purchase contract. I know it is another expense but if you read the minutes of meetings you will find out the problems. A local area to me in Cochrane have bare land condos, and the residents are about to be charged $5000 per property to stop the subsidanze

Just remember to choose a realtor who has become a condo specialist and should advise you accordingly.
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 8:57 am
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by Helen Parnell View Post
All the above comments are very valid, my recommendation to you when you look around is that you find a realtor who is a certified Condo specialist. Most new condos are no problem, but if you go for an older one, then there might be maintenance issues to consider as all condo boards have to have reserve fund. If they are professionally managed then you may be ok. If it is a small condo board it may be self managed which can be really bad news if they can not manage.

When you come to buy you must get ALL the condo documents and either read them for all the rules or pay a about $250 for a company to read them and assesss them for you. Do this as a condition to the purchase contract. I know it is another expense but if you read the minutes of meetings you will find out the problems. A local area to me in Cochrane have bare land condos, and the residents are about to be charged $5000 per property to stop the subsidanze

Just remember to choose a realtor who has become a condo specialist and should advise you accordingly.
Hi Helen

Thanks for that - there is so much to consider isn't there!
Lesley
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Financially, in most cases, you are further ahead to rent than to own a Condo.

Reserve Funds can be a problem, if not enough has been set aside, you could be faced with a very large bill.

Condo fees can be killers, $500 a month is the cost of an $80k Mortgage, better to own a house and hire some one to cut the grass.

Noisy Neighbours, many buildings are owned primarily by Investors who rent out the places, party central.

Building Politics, can be huge problem, Board in that does what they want, not an ideal way to live.

An expensive Condo carries no more guarantees of enjoyable living than a cheaper one, Bores come from all social strata.

We rented for a year while our house was being built, we payed $2,500 month, terrible neighbours.
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

The more everyone says about condo's the less I am swayed to the idea - I think the thought of being faced with an extra large bill for work to be carried out over and above the normal monthly fees is really too scary for me. I am one of these people who needs to know how much is going out/coming in etc down to the last penny - (probabally because of my accounting background!!!) I think we will have to mull this over some more and like everyone suggested speak to the right agents when we come over.

Thanks once again to everyone who helped.
Lesley
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 3:07 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

on the positive side of condo fees, you always know that your utilities are covered , no big nasty hydro bills for the winter months. And in terms of being hit by a big repair bill , that could quite easily happen in your own home, boiler packs in, roof needs fixing. At least in a condo they source the builders for you and you have some comeback against the condo corporation if they mess up the repair.
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Old Jan 25th 2008, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Condos - pros and cons

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
The replies above concentrate on apartment condos. It's worth noting that there are also condominium houses. We lived in a nice townhouse complex in Toronto that had the advantages; snow clearing, relatively fixed costs but also grass outside the door. There was once a tax shelter for constructing such places, MURBs, so they tend to date from that era - the early eighties.
yes, there are other types of condominiums...the most common of which is townshouses. There are also now in Ontario what they call 'vacant land conodominiums' usually for an upscale residential enclave where the maintenance and ownership of common elements (i.e the internal roads, the boulevards, any parkettes, untouched land) is maintained through condo fees.

There are also industrial condominiums in which commercial businesses pay for common elements.

You did ask.
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