Condos are typically one of the more affordable housing options which makes them highly desirable to first-time homebuyers. Because they are often smaller in square footage they are also a great option for those looking to downsize. Additionally, because they often take the form of an apartment or similar style complex, they typically come with less maintenance making them easy to maintain. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not a condo might be the right choice for you, so we’ve put together this condo buying guide to help give you some essential info that will help inform your condo-buying decision.
Condo Buying Guide: The Pros of Owning a Condo
Aside from typically being lower in cost than single-family homes, many condos boast a number of different amenities that can make them appealing to buyers. Common amenities often include swimming pools, saunas and fitness centers, as well as common rooms for hosting gatherings that are at your disposal if you own a condo within the complex.
If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy yard maintenance or the general upkeep of a home, a condo might be the best choice for you. Many condo complexes are run by a strata organization that’s made up of different owners within the complex. You will typically pay a strata fee each month to the condo’s strata organization, and that money is put towards things like landscaping, garbage and snow removal, and other general upkeep of the complex and grounds. Many condos also have a balcony of some sort which offers owners a bit of outdoor space.
Condos also provide an extra layer of security by typically requiring a key fob or code to enter the building. This tends to give condo owners peace of mind if they are away on vacation, along with knowing that their neighbours are also close by and can keep an eye on their place.
The Cons of Owning a Condo
While there are many pros to owning a condo, there are some cons that you should take into consideration if you are debating buying one. Because condos are typically located within a larger building, that also means your neighbours are close by. If you are someone who is looking for lots of privacy and a quiet location, buying a condo might not be the ideal choice for you.
Condos also tend to be smaller in size compared to other property types, so if you are looking to buy something with higher square footage, a condo might be too small for what you are looking for. Possible restrictions might also be implemented on things like noise levels, parking, pets, and the possibility of renting your unit out.
Condos often come with less maintenance hassle for you, but because everything has to go through the strata committee, you may not be able to decide when maintenance and repairs get done. Plus, there is always the possibility of being charged special assessment charges for unexpected repairs.
Buying a Condo as a Vacation Property
Some people looking to buy a condo are not looking for one as their permanent home, but rather a condo that they can use as a vacation property. Because they tend to be lower in price, vacation condos make it possible for people looking to buy a little piece of paradise in a vacation destination. With the increase in popularity of vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO, leveraging a vacation condo as a potential income property is also appealing.
If you are considering purchasing a condo to use as a vacation property and are thinking about potentially renting it out as a short-term rental, it is important to do your research. Some condo complexes and even cities and provinces have rules surrounding short-term rentals that could restrict you from renting a vacation condo out on a short-term basis. The location also plays a huge role in vacation condos, as you will likely want to be close to the heart of the action wherever you are buying.
If you’re thinking about buying real estate, whether it be for a permanent residence or a vacation property, condos are something that should definitely be on your radar. This is especially the case if you are looking in an area where real estate is more expensive – condos typically will be on the lower end of the price spectrum. While they may not be the right choice for everyone, buying a condo is a great way to get into real estate.