Is Living In a Condo Right For Me?



Whether you’ve never purchased a home before or are a well seasoned expert, we think that being well informed with the most current information is the best thing you can do for yourself when looking to buy a new home. If you’re in the market for a something in downtown Toronto, chances are you’re going to be looking at a lot of condos, yet many people still don’t really know exactly what a condo is or what owning one means for them.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a little guide to condo ownership – based on the information from the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services website.

This is Part One:

“Is Living In a Condo Right For Me?”

The Basics

If you’re like many people, you probably think of a condo as a single unit within a larger building, quite indistinguishable from an apartment. But, as the Ministry of Consumer Services puts it, “The term ‘condominium’ actually refers to a form of real estate ownership”. This means that condominiums can be apartment buildings, townhomes, semi-detached and even fully detached houses.

Condominiums are run collectively and are self-governing, with rules regulating their operation and business affairs. The unit owners make up the condo corporation, electing the corporation’s board of directors. This corporation manages property, finances, records, and all other related matters.

As a condo owner, you own more than your single unit. The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services website states, “With most condominiums, you own your individual unit and share in the ownership of the common elements and the costs of the corporation. Common elements can include things like hallways, elevators, fitness facilities and grounds.“

It is important to note that the property management can and may charge you additional fees, on top of your monthly fees, to cover unexpected repairs or shortfalls in the property finances.

How do I know if a condo is right for me?

If you’re trying to narrow down your choices and figure out whether a condo is the right fit for you, ask yourself these questions from the Ministry of Consumer Services. If you can answer, “Yes” to most, you may be on the right track:

1. Do I like the communal aspect of condominium living?

As mentioned before, as a condo owner, you will have to be okay working with others to run the condominium.

2. Do I have enough financial resources?

Make yourself aware of the possibility of unexpected, but typical, fee increases. You should be confident that you’ll be able to handle these increases.

3. Am I prepared to contribute to how the condominium is run and governed?

As a condo owner you have a responsibility to attend meetings and vote on various issues.

4. Do I understand the responsibilities of owning a condo?

Take time to understand your rights and responsibilities as a condo owner before making a purchase.

5. Am I looking for amenities?

Many condominiums have on-site amenities, such as pools, fitness rooms or grounds-keeping. The more amenities, the higher the fees, but if you’re living a busy lifestyle and would benefit from these amenities, a condo might be perfect.

Taking the time to understand what condo ownership means, and to ask yourself the important questions, can save a lot of headache down the line. It can also help to set you up for successful and enjoyable home ownership. Stay tuned for the next part of our series, coming soon!

At Signature Electric, we have electricians who specialize in condos and are more than able to help condo owners and building managers with any energy-related needs they may have. Check out our list of condo electrician services!

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