If you’ve been looking through the local papers or on MLS for properties for sale in Barrie and Simcoe County, you’ve likely noticed that there are a lot more condominiums up for sale, as well as in the construction stage. Condos are definitely on the rise not just in our area, but all across Canada. Buying a condo is a great way to make your grand entrance into home-ownership, as many units are quite affordable. It’s also great for people looking to downsize from a large home into something more manageable. Further, condo living can offer a great sense of community and security. If you’re interested in looking at a condo, there are a few key details that you need to ponder before you start your search; I’ve outlined the top condo conundrums here:
Rents in our region are among the highest in the province, so when the opportunity to purchase a home or condo comes available, it can often be less expensive to own than to rent. Luckily, there are condos that fit all types of budgets; from a tiny bachelor unit to a sprawling, luxury lakefront one and everything in between. Further, owning a condo means that now that you’re finally a home-owner, you’re building your credit rating and the equity in your condo and growing your investment.
Beyond the mortgage payments on your condo, the next biggest expense is usually the condo fees, which are mandatory for all owners. These can vary depending on the level of maintenance, the amenities, location and so on, but they can range typically from the mid-hundreds to well over a thousand dollars each month. Don’t forget that utilities, appliances and most repairs to your condo unit are also your responsibility. So, while your mortgage may be within your budget, the additional expenses may not. Be sure to do all the math and ask in advance about the fees and hidden costs so you have no surprises.
Condo living is quite unique. It’s not quite an apartment, and it’s not a house…in fact, sometimes it can feel like a stay in a nice hotel…without the room service of course! Condos usually come equipped with some terrific amenities such as fitness rooms, pools, community/common rooms, mini-libraries, outdoor patios and shared BBQ’s, organized activities, coffee groups and more. The amenities are part of what your condo fees pay for, and many people like to take full advantage of everything! However, if those ‘add-ons’ don’t interest you, or you’re not a particularly social person, then you may not be getting much bang for your buck. Further, it’s important to find out just what demographic your potential condo building attracts so that you can make sure you’re a good fit. For example, do you prefer to share a building with older adults or professionals instead of young couples or families? Maybe you are a young, single person who wants a more lively environment? These are all important considerations while you are on the hunt for the perfect condo.
Condominium units tend to be small and compact, at least the ones that are in the low to mid-price range. The lack of square footage can be a hindrance to people who like to entertain, or with children, large dogs, or those who run their small business from home. Further, if you are used to a large lawn, having a shed or workshop and a garage to putter around in, then it may take some time getting used to a more confined space. The more bedrooms and square footage you want for your condominium, the more you’ll pay.
- Maintenance & condo responsibilities
Condos are popular for many reasons, particularly the fact that they are maintenance -free! When you live in a condo, you’ll never need to shovel snow, rake leaves, replace the shingles or windows, or mow the lawn. Also, when you own a condo, you can decorate and furnish it however you like with no restrictions such as with apartment rentals. However, everything in your unit is owned by you, so if the fridge breaks down or your carpet is stained, those are things you need to look after.
Further, when you own a condo unit, you can volunteer and get involved with the condo board or on various committees that look into such things as property management, rules and regulations, security, events, and amenities. After all, it’s your investment, and it’s nice knowing you have a voice in what goes on in your building – at least to some degree.
As you can see, buying a condominium involves more than just finances. There are additional considerations that can impact you and your lifestyle, so before buying, be diligent in doing your research so that you’re confident you’ve made a solid choice. As an experienced mortgage broker in Barrie, I’ve worked with many condo buyers and it’s my job to help get your mortgage approved and make sure you know about the various expenses and issues that can arise when buying a condo. Call me today at 705-315-0516 to set up an appointment and let’s get moving!