Types, Styles – and how to choose the one that’s right for you
There are almost as many types of condos as there are kinds of people who want to live in them. Residential condominiums can range from high- and low-rise apartment buildings to townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, single detached homes, freehold plots or even mixeduse condominiums that include retail or commercial space. They can also feature a wide variety of amenities designed to suit almost any budget or lifestyle.
If you’re in the market for a condo, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips to help you make sure your new home meets your needs, preferences and price range:
Be aware of what is, and what is not, included in the purchase price. For instance, are amenities such as pools and parking available? Are finishes within the units included? Are utilities (gas, electricity and water charges) covered in the monthly condominium fees? These questions must be considered when comparing the overall costs of different condominiums.
Investigate the condo’s set of rules, regulations and by-laws. These can range from restrictions on the number of unit occupants to limits on pets, noise and parking. These rules are designed to ensure that the condominium is properly operated and maintained, that the rights of each owner are protected and that the living environment stays peaceful and harmonious. Make sure to read a copy of them before you make any decisions. This information should be readily available from the seller, property manager, Board of Directors or the condominium's governing documents.
Know the unit’s boundaries, which may vary considerably from one condo to another. In some condominiums, the boundaries of your unit could end behind the interior drywall of the dividing walls. In others, it might only go as far as the wall's centre line. For a freehold or bare or vacant land condo, the individual unit encompasses the entire house, including the exterior walls, roof and even the land surrounding it. Make sure you understand exactly where your unit’s boundaries begin and end, especially if you're planning to carry out any alterations or renovations.
Determine whether your condominium includes some “exclusive use common property elements.” These are areas such as balconies, parking spaces, storage lockers, driveways and front or rear lawns. While these spaces are for your exclusive use, there may be restrictions on how and when you can use them. For example, you may not be able to park a boat, RV or commercial vehicle in your assigned parking spot, or there may be restrictions on what you can place on your balcony.