From Nancy Robertson’s Journal of a Condo Purchase and Renovation (Facebook)
I have decided to make a move. From a house to a condo. It wasn’t an easy decision but as with most decisions, one decision leads to another. In my case, our family’s 100 year old cottage
needs so much work that the best decision is to tear down and build new. I live on my own. It makes no sense to have two homes to look after. And I needed to take some money off the
table if I was going to be able to fulfill this dream. One decision led to the next, and here I am.
The very first step is to find a condo you want to live in. Not as easy as one would expect. Things to consider: where do you want to live; what size of condo do you need; what building(s) do you like; what floor do you want to be on/what direction do you want to face; what is the parking like; is there a storage locker; what condo facilities do you want/what condo facilities are available/how updated are they; how willing are you to do some updating/renovating on the unit that is for sale; how old is the building you are interested in; how financially stable is the condo? Notice that I don’t even mention a budget. This is a crucial aspect to consider of course, but many of these other items are just as important to people.
At the start of your search, you should see everything and have a realtor who knows the buildings/market well. Condos are much smaller than homes. Even if you rarely go to your basement, there is a lot of stuff that gets stored there. Condos don’t have basements. Or a garage, where another mountain of stuff is ‘stored’. Or a garden shed. Everyone is shocked at how small condos truly are. If you are moving from a home, you MUST consider and plan for this change.
Condo living is a different lifestyle. There is no garden to putter around or weed, no snow to shovel. There is underground parking, elevators, people, shared spaces, noises nearby. It takes a little bit of getting used to. Everyone who loves living in a condo will tell you that they love that they can lock the door and leave. If you have a second home, or you like to travel, a condo allows you to have a pied-a-terre! And of course, if it is time to take some money off the table, right-sizing to a condo can work to accomplish this.
As an investment, a condo may not increase as quickly as a home with land, but historically, this real estate type has increased in value. We are starting to run out of land for single family homes. Big cities such as New York, London, Paris and even Toronto see families starting to make ‘apartment’ living a reality. Developers have to be made to understand that there is a demand for this alternative lifestyle for all ages and demographics. As land becomes more and more scarce, this kind of intensification is and can be a very appealing lifestyle. But not at the 500 square feet size that seems to be the developers’ favourite at the moment.
Condo is 1,452 square feet plus a small balcony, tandem parking for 2 vehicles, small locker House is 2,616 sq ft, plus a single car garage, garden shed, large deck, 65’ x 130’ lot