Types, Styles – and how to choose the one that’s right for you

The Telegram (St. John’s) - Home Buyers' Guide - - METRO REGION -

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.

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