Don’t buy a condo if:
There are five kinds of people who should not buy a condo. Rent one,
maybe, but never buy one.
Deviating or divergent. esp. from
normal social standards.
—Canadian Oxford Dictionary
The majority of owners in any given condo corporation will follow
certain social standards. These standards will differ from condo to
condo depending on the residents' ages, income levels and ethnic
Anyone who moves into a condo needs to fit in with these values.
A building full of seniors or families will not tolerate loud parties
late at night, marijuana or cigarette smoking in the staircases or a
"cool dude" who roller blades his way through the lobby, the mail room
and up the elevator.
In other buildings residents who stores bicycles on the balconies, have
a satellite dish bolted to the side of their unit or regularly park in
the visitor's parking will feel the board's wrath.
“Stubborn isn't a word I would use to
pigheaded is more appropriate.”
If a resident gets into a dispute with the board, it can become very
expensive if they do not change their behaviour but continue to butt
heads with either their neighbours, the board or both.
A condo is no place for people who have difficulties getting along with
If you hate rules
A few weeks ago, (Jan 2015), an owner—who was having difficulties with
her property manager—told me that living in her condo was like being
back in high school. There were dumb rules for everything.
Condos are full of rules and paperwork has to be filled out for many
requests. If you have a delivery coming, you need to sign a legal
document and give a cheque to book the elevator. You need to fill in a
form to use the theatre and leave ID before you can borrow the
billiards or ping pong equipment.
You may have restrictions on how many over-night visitor parking passes
you can have a month, how often you can use the basketball court and
what you can store on your balcony.
In some condos, your dog must be on a leash or you have to carry your
dog whenever you are in the common elements. In other condos, you can't
have pets. Many condos do not allow gas or charcoal barbecues on
Booking a guest suite is far more of a hassle than booking a
hotel room and almost as expensive. I advise most people to spend a few
extra bucks and book a room at a restaurant.
low family income
Condominiums are not cheap housing.
A purchaser needs to understand that the common element fees should
rise every year at least to keep up with the rate of inflation. You
will also need to be able have the money to maintain your own unit. You
will need to pay for unit
insurance and replace appliances.
You will need money in the bank to be able to absorb the cost of one or
more special assessments if they become necessary.
Work out the total costs of buying before you sign the purchase
agreement. The total operating costs should be no more than 30% of your net
If you will just be able to make the monthly payments, then buying the
unit is probably not a wise decision.
If you are looking for a bargain
Buying a used condo is like buying a used car. If a condo sounds like a
bargain, there is a reason for that. You get what you pay for.
You should never buy a unit in a neglected condo corporation as the
financial risks are just too great. A building that has been
poorly maintained is not an investment; it is a trap that may drive you
If you cannot understand what the status certificate and the attached
documents say, you need to pay someone to read them and explain them to
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