Many buyers looking for a lifestyle change wonder what it would be like to live in a condo.
But how do you decide if condo ownership is right for you? If you're in doubt, I suggest a classic categorizing of pros and cons. Here are some.
Pro: First of all, new condos are just as advertised - new; offering great design and the promise of a carefree lifestyle. Perhaps more importantly, they're a clean environment in which to practise your new lifestyle. The biggest pro is that it's a freeing change for homeowners.
Con: You first need to edit your stuff before you move and that can be both physically and psychologically difficult. Clean, fresh palette vs. dirty hands and angst.
TIME ON YOUR HANDS
Pro: A new condo holds forth the promise of having more time to do the things you want and spending less time on the things you have to do. No more lawn mowing, begging the plumber to fit you in or complaining when someone forgets to plow your driveway. All big pros.
Con: This "free" time comes at a cost, mainly the condo fees that cover many of the items you have to arrange yourself if your home is not a condo. It's a bit like leasing a car - you may be paying a bit more but at least it's a predictable expense.
And don't forget the special assessment. Of course, special assessments occur in single-family-dwelling ownership - roofs, furnaces and air conditioners need replacing, window seals fail - but in the condo experience the individual owner has only modest input into the special assessment process. There's no "let's just make do without air conditioning until next year" in a condo.
But the carefree lifestyle - that's what it's all about. This is a major pro. The associated con will generally not be a deal breaker.
A new condo is a great opportunity to consult with a feng shui specialist and balance out your unbalanced lifestyle. Though some pooh-pooh feng shui, the concept involves space, its utilization and the effect on one's well-being.
If you think this is a good idea, it might be well to have the feng shui expert evaluate the condo before purchase as it may have serious "flaws" that can be difficult (read expensive) or even impossible to correct.
FIX THE FLAWS
Perhaps the biggest pro of condo living is the opportunity to correct the flaws in your previous residences - little things that annoyed you like low ceilings, a single sink in the bathroom or kitchen counters that were too high or low.
Perhaps you have overlooked neighbours' backyards for too long. Find a condo with spectacular city or water views. The con may be that too late you realize regular contact with your neighbours across a fence is more important to you than a spectacular view.
If your old home was not as bright as you liked, many condos offer lots of light. If you crave fresh design, find a developer who recognizes the importance of hiring top experts in architecture and design and has translated their work into a spectacular space. Such expertise might not be affordable for many homeowners, but condo owners can benefit from it.
SAVE ON GAS
Your new condo will probably be located smack in the middle of an urban centre or highly populated area. This means there will likely be ample opportunities for dining and entertainment within a short walk. Additionally, there will probably be easy access to public transportation. You may find yourself driving less and saving more.
Easy entertaining may sound like an oxymoron but condo living makes this a reality. Party kitchens and dining rooms along with formal gardens and games rooms are made to extend your living space beyond the confines of your own condo unit. Additionally, social opportunities are made easy as you'll often run into neighbours in the elevators and hallways.
There are as many pros as there are cons for living the condo lifestyle. When deciding if condo living is right for you, check your pros and cons list to make the right choice.