One of the biggest differences between living in a condo as opposed to an apartment, is that you own your unit, plus your share of the building and the surrounding property. Like any other type of home, there are pros and cons to condo living. Buying a condo is a huge investment, so before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few things you should know.
Buying a condo represents an excellent investment for the future. When the time comes for you to move or to retire, you are sure to see a significant return on your investment as condo prices in Toronto are expected to continue rising for many years to come. This increase in popularity, especially depending on the different neighbourhoods where you can buy a condo in Toronto, also makes it much easier to sell condos than single family homes. Your responsibility ends at the door to your unit. The condo association hires professionals to take care of the landscaping, keep the outside of the building in good repair, and take care of all common areas.
There may also be tax breaks you can take advantage of when buying a condo, be sure you talk to your tax accountant. You can also expect to save on the cost of insurance since all you are insuring is your belongings instead of the entire structure. Condo owner’s insurance is a lot like renter’s insurance and typically similarly priced. You may even find that your monthly utility bills are less in a condo than they would be in a stand-alone house.
Of course, you can’t have a good side without having a bad side. For example, all the many good sides to owning a condo do come at the cost of your condo association fees. You may be required to pay these fees monthly or quarterly. These fees cover things like maintenance, building insurance, taxes, repairs, the high cost of utility bills for all common areas, and so forth. There is also no guarantee these fees will remain the same for any length of time. In fact, over the course of time, your condo fees are only going to go up along with increasing upkeep costs. Even though you are entitled to vote on the increases, you are only one of however many condo owners there are. Plus, if the costs are going up, how can you justify saying no? If something comes up such as a major repair bill, each owner may be assessed a one-time fee to help cover these costs. Your share could be a substantial amount of money that you may not be able to cover.
Finally, let’s not forget the rules of the game. Many condo associations have very strict rules covering what you can or cannot do with regard to the exterior of your unit. For example, you may not be able to put Halloween decorations or a Christmas wreath on the outside of your front door. If your unit has a patio or balcony, there may be restrictions on the type of furniture you can use.