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Expectation vs Reality: living in a condo

Last modified: 2021-10-19 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Amanda Harvey

Nowadays, condo living is about as commonplace as living in a home. Many are adopting this lifestyle for a variety of reasons: comfort, ease, affordability and so forth.

Of course, if you’ve never lived in a condo yourself, you may not be aware of what living in this type of dwelling actually means in terms of monthly expenses, maintenance costs, noise levels and parking spots. Yes, there’s plenty to know when it comes to the reality of buying and living in a condo!

For this reason, we’re here to offer a breakdown of what one may expect before moving into a condo as compared with what this venture will consist of.

Expectation vs reality: living in a condo

condo exterior_Expectation vs Reality: living in a condo_RenoQuotes.com

The cost of a condo vs the cost of a home 

Of course, the cost is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to purchasing a property. Any real estate you choose to buy is an investment and once you determine how much you’re willing to invest, you can then make an informed decision. Let’s discuss the specifics when it comes to the cost of a condo vs other types of properties. 

Expectation: Many believe that buying a condo is less expensive than purchasing a home.

Reality: The cost of a condo when compared with a house will vary greatly and be dependent on many factors. Although you’ll typically spend less on a condo than on a home, it’s important to consider factors such as location, size, property values in the area and so forth.

Experts do agree that a condo will be less expensive upfront than purchasing a home or detached property, and this is great for first-time buyers. However, as mentioned, this is dependent on the size and location of the condo.

It’s important to bear in mind that condos almost always include a monthly maintenance fee and additional costs for amenities such as security, building cleaning services and parking spots. Do factor these costs in and recognize that buying a condo doesn’t always mean you’re spending less.

The social aspects: a sense of community

You may be interested in living in a condo because you believe it offers an inherent sense of community. Many homeowners may say this about their neighbourhoods, but of course, living in a condo means being in close proximity to those around you. When we think about aspects such as noise and privacy, condo life could feel stifling. Let’s think about this a bit deeper:

Expectation: Living in a condo will offer you an active social life that you can’t get from living in a home. 

Reality: Structurally, condo life is more social, as you’re sharing space as well as amenities with your neighbours. Now, it’s nice to think that those living next door will soon become close friends. But of course, this can’t be guaranteed. It’s possible that your condo complex isn’t social, and your neighbours may choose to keep to themselves. Although there will almost always be some interaction between units, as you’ll share walls, elevators and stairwells, this doesn’t necessitate becoming friends with or even getting to know your neighbours.

Also, depending on what stage of life you’re in, you may be hoping for a quiet home environment or maybe you’re younger and looking for more of a party lifestyle. There are many different kinds of social and your young neighbours staying up until 3 AM every night may not be what you’re hoping for in a community setting.

For this reason, visit the space before purchasing, talk to your potential neighbours as well as the board and get a sense of what type of environment you’ll be living in.

condo exterior_Expectation vs Reality: living in a condo_RenoQuotes.com

Maintenance

It’s possible to believe that one of the perks of living in a condo is never having to worry about maintaining spaces, appliances or amenities. If your plumbing suddenly stops working or a snowstorm rolls in, there’s someone else to rely on. But is this actually the reality of living in a condo? Let’s consider it.

Expectation: Living in a condo means never having to shovel snow, rake leaves or deal with any sort of maintenance issues again!

Reality: While never again having to worry about weather conditions or digging your car out of a heaping snow pile may be very appealing, living in a condo doesn’t guarantee that this will happen. In many cases, it’s true that landscape and exterior property maintenance is taken care of by way of your condo fees.

However, if your building doesn’t come equipped with a garage, you may still end up digging your car out. It’s further important to mention that the priorities of your condo board may differ from yours and what is maintained around the property may not be in line with your wants, needs and desires. 

Not only this, but for those hoping to have access to greenspace or to grow a garden of their own, this may not be possible when living in a condo. Prior to making the choice to invest in a space, it’s important to consider what will be taken care of as well as decisions or desires you won’t have any control over.

condo interior_Expectation vs Reality: living in a condo_RenoQuotes.com

Investment

Lastly, let’s discuss the difference between investing in a condo and investing in a house; are there any? 

Expectation: A condo is an excellent investment for future leasing potential.

Reality: For many, buying a condo is the first venture into owning real estate. Of course, if you’re simply buying a condo for its potential resale, do bear in mind that condo prices are often dependent on the neighbourhood and thus, may not go up in price if the neighbourhood somehow becomes less desirable. In some instances, a condo can even decrease in value over time. 

It’s crucial to figure out if the condo you’re interested in is worth its value. This can be done in a few ways. First, look at both the state of the condo as well as the surrounding neighbourhood. Then, make sure that the condo fees that you’ll be paying are appropriate for the services offered. Next, look at other real estate purchases within the condo market in the same area that you’re interested in. These factors will give you a better idea as to whether or not the condo you’re buying will actually be a good investment. 

Curious about renovating a condo when you’ve made the big purchase? Read our article on the subject!

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