RE/MAX City Realty
Should I Buy a Condo/Townhouse?
As single family home prices have risen, many consumers have been looking to condominiums or townhouses as an alternative. First time buyers like the lower prices, which makes entry into the real estate ownership market easier. Seniors like the low maintenance aspect and the ability to be in a community catering to their lifestyle. Others like the security advantages that the complex provides, especially for those who travel frequently.
When you purchase a condominium/townhouse, you purchase and have title to your individual unit in a multi-unit property, and share in the ownership of the land and other common property with all the other unit owners. The type of common property varies depending on the type of condominium - high rise or townhouse for example - and would include hallways, elevators, heating system, parking structures, landscaped areas, recreation areas etc.
A condominium or townhouse is a specific form of ownership and does not describe a type of building.
One of the great advantages to owning a condominium or townhouse is that in most cases, it is owner-occupied and owner run. Owners ensure their investment is maintained and regard improvements as an investment which increases the value of their individual unit.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Condo/Townhouse
If a winter holiday is part of your lifestyle, you can leave with your mind at ease, without the worry of a driveway to clear. In the summer the grass will be cut, you won't have any exterior painting projects or fence repairs to look after.
Condo/Townhouse projects are now part of most communities which means being able to stay in the same location where you were a homeowner. Some condo/Townhouse projects are more successful than others in terms of capital appreciation and length of time to sell. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of condo/Townhouse ownership:
As a unit owner you will be responsible for your share of expenses known as strata fees. These are set out in the strata declaration. It describes what expenses are to be shared and in what proportion. This can be equal or unequal in cases where they are based on the comparative size of the units.
The exterior and common area maintenance of your condo/townhouse is covered by your strata fee. The fees are usually paid monthly in accordance with the budgeted expenses. Of course if you have more amenities such as a swimming pool, on-site security personnel etc. your fees will reflect the extra services.
Reserve or contingency funds are set up by the strata corporation to cover major or unexpected expenses. The developer of a new condominium usually sets up a fund which is then turned over to the strata. The fund becomes an asset of the strata and each year the unit owners decide on what the level should be. The individual owner does not have any rights to the Reserve Fund.
Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Condo/Townhouse