Living in a condominium may mean convenience to many, but you should do your research before purchasing a condo. The target market of condo buyers are generally first time homebuyers, real estate rental investors, and Baby Boomers looking to downsize their space We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons so that you can make your most informed decision.
Maintenance. One of the biggest advantages of living in a condo is that you won’t have to take care of the maintenance of the exterior including shoveling snow off the lot, mowing the lawn or structural repairs. You’ll just have to contribute your fair share of property maintenance fees; everyone pays the same amount per square footage of their unit.
Amenities. Most condos offer perks that you won’t automatically receive if you live in a house. Amenities can include theatre rooms, gyms/fitness centres, swimming pools, sauna rooms, party rooms, libraries, 24-hour concierge, visitor parking, rooftop terrace, barbeque access, and more!
Security. Many condo buildings have on-site security guards and security cameras so as to prevent unwanted visitors, theft, vandalism and potential crime. Therefore, many people (especially elders) feel safer living in a condo.
Price. Unless you’re looking for a luxury condo with its own doorman, valet parking, spa and room service, most condos are considered cheaper than a freehold home. As of June 2020, the average selling price of a condo building in the Greater Toronto Area is $625,449 (Source: TREB – May 2020 statistics), whereas a detached or semi-detached home is upwards of $800,000 (Source: TREB).
Size. Generally speaking, most condos have 1 or 2 bedrooms, sometimes up to 3 or 4 but those are less common and considerably more expensive. Some units like bachelor units don’t even have bedrooms, so you can imagine that space is limited. Condos are perfect for a working professional, a young couple (child-free or with 1 child), or a senior adult or couple. In our experience, families who live in condos who have 1 or more children will begin to upsize to a larger space, be it a townhouse, semi or full detached home.
Condo Fees. As we mentioned, a huge perk of living in a condo are its amenities and maintenance-free responsibility. However, it comes with a price – sometimes a big price. Many new condos nowadays charge maintenance fees upwards of $600! That is a major expense to consider on top of your monthly mortgage and insurance costs. You should always find out what the condo fees are for each condo you visit as each condo charges a different fee.
Potential Smells and Noises. Like any shared space, you may encounter odd smells and loud noises. Sometimes you could hear loud music or yelling and screaming at midnight, or a false fire alarm at 3 am. Other times you may smell bad pet odour, garbage/waste or cigarette smoking… These are all nuances of living in a condo that every potential condo buyer should acknowledge.
Shared Costs. Whenever there is damage to a common area, it is paid by every resident in the form of their maintenance fee. You may think your monthly maintenance fee goes straight towards maintaining the pool or washing the windows, but if a broken window was caused by a kid playing tennis, that comes out of everyone’s pocket to fix. In special occasions where condo management deems they don’t have the funds to fix a common area problem, they could ask everyone to pay extra.
In conclusion, living in a condo does not only mean convenience. You need to consider all the pros and cons before making your purchase. If you plan on having a family in the near future, we would advise to hold off on purchasing a condo and save up for a house instead. If you have questions or are looking for a condo in the Markham or Stouffville areas, please contact us at 647.247.6000, we’re happy to help you with your next move!