While more and more Torontonians are embracing condo life, the population is still divided on the condos vs. houses debate. The truth is that while there are plenty of advantages to living in a condo, it isn’t for everyone and there are important factors to consider before you make the move.
If you live in a condo, the chances are that you will have less space in your unit compared to a house. Many condo dwellers get around this with clever storage tactics, and many see the communal areas as an extension of their unit. However, others like having more private space.
Condo owners are required to pay monthly condo fees which pay for amenities as well as the upkeep of all common areas. The amount paid and the amenities vary vastly between buildings, so it’s an important factor to consider before you buy. For many people, the amenities are a huge advantage of living in a condo, and they’re happy to pay the fees as it’s much cheaper than installing the same amenities in a house. As the cost is divided between all of the owners, it’s a small price to pay for a swimming pool, fitness suite, or whatever the amenities may be. However, if you won’t use the amenities then you will still be required to pay for them, and this could be frustrating.
Another factor to consider is that condo corporations have rules that you would be expected to follow, and there are punishments for not following them. They may determine whether or not you can rent out your property, what pets you can have, noise levels, and smoking, amongst other factors. They may also determine how you can design visible parts of your unit such as windows and doors. The rules vary in different buildings, so you may find that you can live with the rules in some but not others.
You should also consider the social setting – you will have a lot of neighbors living very close by. For many condo dwellers, this is something that they love, as they can meet a lot of new people with similar interests. For example, some families in condos love meeting other families in the same building and they can babysit for each other's children and all make new friends. However, if you prefer a quieter, more private life, condos may not be for you.
For many people, the main advantage of condo life is that it's better for their budget. In general, condos are cheaper than houses, and maintenance is covered by monthly condo fees, so you won’t have to suddenly spend thousands of dollars unexpectedly when something important breaks. You should also consider whether you really value the other perks of condo life, for example, condos are often located closer to workplaces and conveniences, saving you time and money on commuting. Condo dwellers also spend less time and money on maintenance and repairs, compared to those who live in houses. If this is something you value, then condo life is definitely worth considering, however many people are happy to spend the extra time and money to live in a house.