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Real Estate Tips
Condominium Living Is It For Me
Condominium ownership is very common in many countries in Europe and Hong Kong and big cities such as New York. However this concept has just started to get more recognition in Calgary as we move in to more density in the cities and our average price is climbing to meet the prices in major centers across Canada. The Number of Calgary Townhouses for Sale continues to increase.
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When you buy a condominium you are buying a certain lifestyle. This is not for every one. You may be the kind of person who likes to work around the house or you have a very busy life style and you are always in and out of the city or country. You could be single, a couple, or retired and not want the responsibility of snow shoveling or maintaining the property but you need to know how condominiums are run, your responsibilities as an owner, and the responsibilities of the board of directors.
Seniors /Adult Buildings:
There are more and more senior’s complexes cropping up, as the yuppie generation is getting older and has the ability to afford a life style of choice. The selection is getting better as we get older, we have apartments for seniors located in the outskirts of the city.
We have adult buildings also located near or in the center of town for the working class. Some complexes do not allow pets and some complexes do not allow children. Some senior’s complexes may also provide a bus service for seniors to shopping centers and other locations of interest to owners.
As the city grows and it takes longer to commute from out skirts of city to central business district, people will adopt this life style in order to save traveling time. In New York people have a condominium near their place of work and go home on the weekends to spend time with family. The average time people spend traveling to and from work in New York and now Toronto also is approximately three to four hours every day. To have three extra hours of free time every day is considered lifestyle.
Condo Fees Explained for Calgary Townhouses for Sale
First-time condominium (condo) buyers purchasing Calgary Townhouses for sale are sometimes confused by the monthly maintenance fee that condo buildings charge. Combined with property taxes and your mortgage payments, they can add up to a hefty percentage of your total housing costs. But what is a condo maintenance fee and what does it cover? And how does it compare to the costs of owning a house?
“Condo maintenance fees are your percentage share of the costs to run the building or complex as a whole. Unlike rent, they are not a profit source for the management; in fact, each building is registered as a non-profit corporation.”
Generally, these fees correspond to the individual maintenance and Repair bills you pay on a home, along with maintenance work such as Window Cleaning, Snow Removal, House cleaning, Landscaping, Insurance, and so on (all on the common areas). Fees are calculated according to the size of your unit – a two-bedroom’s fees are higher than a studio’s, for instance – and are re-calibrated each year, up or down, according to the building’s annual operating budget.
A certain portion is also set aside as part of a “Reserve Fund” (contingency fee), or which every condo association must maintain by law. The reserve fund covers any special costs incurred as part of building upkeep, such as a new roof or repairs to heating or plumbing equipment.
The maintenance fees for townhouses within a complex are usually slightly lower. Often townhouses have their utilities separately metered, so these are not included in the fee; but townhouse owners still pay a share for maintenance of common areas, security and other general costs.
Beyond these basics, there’s a wide variation in the features each individual condo building offers, and the fees vary accordingly. One building might offer beefed-up security, concierge service and underground parking; another might have a fully equipped gym or pool with trainers and classes; or you may have access to special perks like a rooftop patio or guest suite. All of these are reflected in the monthly fee, and in some cases are optional.
One last area to consider is a category known as “special assessments.” These are one-time fees for repairs not covered by the contingency fee, and can be substantial, especially with older buildings and conversions; once the bill is paid off, the maintenance fee will drop accordingly.
We believe one of the most important things you should do when considering a condo is to ascertain what the monthly maintenance fee covers, so you’re comparing apples with apples when deciding between two buildings. Consider whether the extra features are worth it to you, or conversely, whether your budget can handle paying separately for things that are not included. “One option I always do recommend if it’s offered, however, is a parking space, even if you don’t drive,” she says, “since you can rent it out and earn some income from it.” This is particularly true downtown.
Typically when purchasing Calgary Townhouses for Sale overall, the costs of condo buying, including maintenance fees, often work out to roughly the same as owning a house the same size, location and price. Would you rather have your own garden, or never have to shovel your sidewalk again? Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle choice, rather than a financial one.