More and more buyers today that never considered purchasing a Windsor condo in the past, are now giving these properties a second look. Buyers that come into our office can be under the impression that a condo wouldn’t work for them for a variety of reasons. But once they describe their lifestyle and what they are looking for, they are often pleasantly surprised that condo living might very well be just for them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths regarding condos in general:
1. Condos are not for families.
One common misconception is that condos are really only for singles, young married couples or senior citizens. However, condos have gained in popularity for families due to their affordability and amenities. Swimming pools, tennis courts and weight rooms are all within reach which make condo living very attractive. Usually these features are often too expensive to maintain if you purchase a home.
2. “Selling a condo is difficult and I won’t get my money back”:
No one can predict the real estate market though many will try. And if a buyer plans on keeping a property for only a few years, then buying any property should be reconsidered due to the nature of the market today. However, condos located in ideal locations, such as in a metropolitan area close to business and work, entertainment and public transportation are often highly sought after. Especially those condos that are well maintained.
3. “But I like to decorate and I can’t change the interior!”
The best thing a buyer can do is to find out the rules and regulations of the Condo Association Board. What you cannot usually change is anything on the outside of the condo, such as painting the front door a different colour. But inside is often a different story. Painting, redecorating a kitchen or any other room is usually allowed as long as it doesn’t change the exterior. You can’t move a window or add one for example. But it is always a good idea to sit down and talk with the association so you are well aware of the rules.
4. “Isn’t owning a home cheaper?”
It depends. Think about it this way: monthly condo fees go towards maintenance and upkeep, landscaping and snow shoveling, all things you would pay for any way if you own a home. Depending on the condo, these fees may also include other amenities such as some utilities and garbage collection. The good news? You are not the one doing the landscaping, cleaning the pool or shoveling the snow!
Of course, there are many pros and cons on buying a condo. You will need to know if you are willing to give up some privacy, or share a wall with your neighbours. You may also decide that you like a yard and to garden and not completely willing to give that up quite yet. Yet living in a condo can be an affordable way to becoming a homeowner. For many, it’s the best decision they have made.
What I tell all of my clients who are on the fence about buying a condo is to take a look at several in your price range. Go by the condo at all hours of the day, particularly in the evening when people are home from work. See if it’s quiet or noisy. Does the area surrounding the condo appear safe and well-lit? Is there plenty of visitor parking available? Then visit the condo on weekends. During the summer, is the pool busy? What about the weight room or tennis courts? If it’s crowded all of the time, this may be a problem. How does the landscaping look? Are the flower beds well cared for or are weeds growing? If it’s during the winter, drive by early in the morning to see if parking lots are free of snow so drivers can leave for work on time.
Talk to your real estate agent and get their thoughts on condos you may be considering. And as always, use a professional agent that knows the area well. If they have heard that a condo association is having financial problems or their reputation is less than glowing, they can pass this information on to you. But again, you want to make sure that you do as much research as you can before you make a final decision. Just be aware that for many, living in a condo has been nothing short of terrific!