Buying a condominium: the pros and cons
Ready to buy your first home? Since the purchase of a property represents a very large investment, avoiding making mistakes by choosing a property that meets your expectations and your needs is essential. A real estate broker will certainly prove to be useful in helping you find that rare gem. As for your mortgage, you should hire a mortgage broker who will compare rates to find you an interesting loan.
Because our goal is to give you the best advice in terms of real estate, we present you in this article a list of advantages and disadvantages of living in a condominium. If you are more interested in a single-family home, then this article should be much more relevant to you.
The advantages of buying a condominium
1. Maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the condo owners.
The biggest advantage of living in a condominium is the peace of mind that you don't get as much when you invest in a single-family home. In fact, single-family homeowners have to pay huge sums of money for maintenance and repairs to their homes, whereas in a condominium, the building's janitor will take care of your little residential worries.
You are assured that the lawn will be mowed, the flowers trimmed and the common areas cleaned at all times. And if you have a plumbing problem, there's no need to call a professional for an emergency as your janitor is specially trained for this type of repair. Another advantage is that you will not have to pay anything, as the building manager is a condo employee.
2. Security in condominiums
The chance of being burglarized in a condominium is certainly reduced due to the proximity of the apartments and the presence of many common areas. Moreover, if an outsider enters the building, he or she will probably be spotted by your neighbors. Unfortunately, burglaries are more frequent in single-family homes, mainly because they offer more privacy, leaving the field open to burglars.
On the other hand, if you live in a single-family home and you want to increase your security, you have to install a security system (armored door, secure locks, surveillance camera, motion detector). This type of installation is very expensive and often involves taking out a subscription with a surveillance company. In a condominium, your security will be ensured without you having to think about it, since all costs related to the building's security are included in the condominium fees.
3. Access to on-site amenities
Newly built condominiums offer much more than just housing. Sauna, spa, pool, gym, hair salon or indoor parking may be provided in the buildings. Some are connected to underground galleries, making it easy to access shops and services.
Moreover, frequenting the same places as one's neighbors strengthens ties and helps build lasting relationships. This is a great advantage for single or elderly people, as it helps break their isolation.
4. The housing tax will be lower compared to a single-family home
Since property taxes are calculated based on the value of your home and a single-family home costs on average twice as much as a condominium, you will pay less in property taxes by living in a condominium.
The drawbacks of buying a condominium
1. Condominium fees
We spoke earlier about the pros of living in a condominium such as maintenance, repairs and security. You can expect to pay for these advantages in the form of condominium fees. You have to know that in a condominium you pay for the services you use and even for those you do not use.
For instance, you will still be charged for elevator maintenance and repairs, even if you live on the first floor. The same goes for parking maintenance fees, even if you don't have a car. Depending on the status of your building, you will need to budget for condominium fees. Moreover, the issue of condominium fees will be important to discuss during apartment visits.
2. Neighborhood problems
Neighborhood problems and the abusive use of common areas are the most frequent problems in a condominium. Not to mention unpaid bills which can put all co-owners in a delicate position, as some owners do not manage to pay their charges.
Such problems tend to increase when it comes to renovation work in the building, since co-owners do not always agree on the contractor's choice, estimates, or quality of work carried out.
3. Renovating a condo apartment or house
You may have no problems with your condominium until deciding to undertake residential renovations. Even if renovations are conducted inside the dwelling, they are likely to cause noise, impacting the comfort of the inhabitants.
To carry out renovations in a condominium, you will need to apply for a renovation permit from the municipality, but you will also need to obtain the consent of the condominium syndic. If you live in a single-family home, you don't need to obtain the agreement of your neighbors, as the agreement of the municipality is sufficient.
4. Noise and lack of privacy
In Quebec, building soundproofing is reputed to be poor. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear people complain about their noisy neighbors. If you are particularly sensitive to noise, then buying a condominium may not be the best option. Whether upstairs, downstairs, to the left or to the right, there will always be a neighbor preventing you from enjoying your tranquility.
Are you planning to buy a property? Consult our Practical Guide to Buying a Property, which guides you through the process.
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