Should you consider buying a Windsor condo? In one word, “Absolutely!” Buying a condo is a great idea for those that want a more carefree lifestyle. For example, if you are single or recently married, and still not ready or willing to handle the landscaping chores, or repairs or maybe you have a busy lifestyle where this sort of thing is not possible, then owning a condo can be a good choice. Also, maybe you want a home with all of the amenities, but can’t afford to put in your own pool or you like the idea of walking to a weight room without joining a gym, then a condo may fit the bill. Finally, many condos are in great urban neighbourhoods which are close to work, public transportation, entertainment, exciting restaurants and shopping. All you have to do is walk out your front door and you are in the middle of everything.
So yes, owning a condo may very well be the perfect choice. It’s also a great alternative for those that are thinking about downsizing. If you have lived in a large home, but you are tired of the weekly, even daily household responsibilities, larger house payments or utility and insurance bills, then a condo may be a great place for your next home.
Of course, like any home, you need to do your research. A Windsor condo may not be for everyone so ask yourself a few questions:
1. Can you afford the monthly maintenance fees or Homeowner’s Association Fee?
2. Are you willing to give up some privacy as chances are, you may be sharing a wall with your neighbours?
3. Do you want to live in a traditional neighbourhood? Many condos are in urban areas.
4. Are you okay with others making decisions about your condo? Or do you like complete control?
If the idea of a condo still intrigues you, then it’s time to contact a real estate agent and look over what types of properties are available. Tell your agent what you desire in a condo and what location and amenities are important to you. When you find something you like, you need to ask the really hard questions to determine if this specific condo is worth making an offer:
1. Is at the overwhelming majority (some say 90 percent) of the condos owner occupied? If many are rented, then you may want to reconsider. People that live in the condos they own often take a bigger interest in the property and its maintenance. After all, it’s their investment.
2. What condition is the condo building as whole? Does it need major repairs? Are the roof and mechanical systems relatively new (under 5 years as opposed to older than 15)?
3. Has the monthly maintenance fee increased dramatically in the past year? You don’t want to be living in a condo and have the charges exceed the general rate of inflation. Ask to see what the fees were a few years ago and compare with current monthly charges.
4. What do the neighbours say? Walk around and talk to the neighbours and get their opinions on the condo. Ask about location, privacy, noise, upkeep, fees.
5. Will the condo be easy to sell if you want to move? In other words, what’s the average “days on the market” for a condo you are considering. If many have been sitting for months, then try to determine why. Condos generally take longer to sell than homes, so be prepared if for some reason you need to sell quickly.
6. Does your condo have a reserve fund that is healthy? The last thing you want to hear as a condo owner is that a special fee is needed to make much-needed repairs. You want to know that there is a substantial fund that is available for emergencies and that at least ten percent of the condo’s annual budget is deposited in this fund.
7. Is the insurance paid and up to date? What if a worker or someone is injured on the condo’s property and they sue for damages? Does your condo have adequate insurance? What if a storm causes damage, would the repairs be covered?
One other suggestion is that whether you are buying a house or a condo, hire a real estate agent that knows the area or neighbourhood that you are considering. You want to make sure that the condo you want to make an offer on is in a good location, close to businesses and entertainment. If a condo has a bad reputation, then you want to know about it before you make an offer. A professional real estate agent who knows the neighbourhood can tell you everything you should consider before you make your final decision.