This is the Time to Buy!

There has never been a better time to buy a home in Ottawa and the surrounding areas. Given the increasing prices of many homes, a condo or a townhouse may be an affordable option for your family. If you are interested in looking for a new home, give me a call and I can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. 

What is a Condominium Corporation?

A condo corporation, for either a high rise or townhouse community, has the same business model. As an owner, you are like “a shareholder.” As a condo unit owner, you have purchased both an individual unit and an interest in the condo corporation’s common elements. You pay a monthly condo fee and are part of the condo corporation. As an owner, you will help elect this group to manage things like the budget and for services such as landscaping, seasonal yard work, repairs and maintenance. As an example, for a three-bedroom townhouse in Kanata valued at $430,000, the monthly fees are $465.00

High Rise Condominiums

We all see high-rise condos every day as we move around Ottawa. They can range from a small number of units to many hundred. A developer has built these buildings, and then when all the units are sold, they hand over the management to the elected condo board. The owner of a unit only owns that unit. They do not own the land on which the condo building has been built. This type of condo attracts people who do not want any maintenance responsibilities. The corporation looks after all the details. Maintenance fees always go up, and high fees can harm resale value. 

All of the owners are members of the condo corporation. When there are extensive repairs required, each member will be required to share the costs. A large multi-unit condo can see the expenses of many thousands of dollars. It will also be virtually impossible to sell the unit during this time because of the high costs that any new buyer would be responsible for. 

Townhouse Options

Condominiums

There are two types of townhouses: those that are part of a condo corporation, and those that are stand-alone, called freehold.  A townhouse condo has the same rules about fees as the high rise condos.  The problem with condo townhouses is that you cannot make any changes to your home, as you must follow the condo board rules. You can not paint the exterior or have a window air conditioner in your home. A condo townhouse community is only as good as its management company. Always do some research on the management company before buying a condo townhouse.

Major capital expenses, such as roads, can cost a lot of money. If the finances are not run well and the condo reserve fund is low, you will have to pay additional money in the form of a special assessment. You can be subject to any special assessment for emergency repairs, which can even include the road in front of your home.  Compared to freehold, condo townhouses are usually more affordable. Since condo fees are calculated into overall carrying costs, buyers can have less money to put on the mortgage.

 

Freehold Townhouses

Freehold townhouses are the same as a detached home, sometimes referred to as a row house. It is part of a community and generally on a municipal road, so there are no expensive road repairs. The owner is responsible for all maintenance and costs associated with the home and property. It is as close as you can get to detached home living. You also own the land your home sits on. You own both the outside and inside of your home. You make any changes you would like to.  

You can decorate or change your home as you see fit and not be on the hook for any condo fees or special assessments. The flip side is that you are responsible for all the repairs and maintenance yourself. Freehold townhomes are currently very popular with today’s home buyers.

What is Best for Your Family?

There are advantages and disadvantages to condo and freehold homes. Like many decisions in life, there are many factors, such as the following: 

Condos
  • Great for small families
  • Seniors and down-sizers may find a less stressful lifestyle 
  • Travellers who want to walk out the door and not worry
  • The building can have pools and other facilities
  • All the owners share the maintenance costs
  • The disadvantages include no control of the outside of your unit
  • Condo fees can be high and will only increase.
Freehold 
  • Best for young families who will move up in a few years
  • Good opportunities for investors
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Appreciate faster than condos 
  • Freedom to make changes to their homes
  • Can have a backyard
  • Freedom to own your own home without the higher cost of a detached  home
  • Lower fixed monthly  costs

The decision between a condo or freehold is a decision for your family. If you are downsizing or like to travel, a condo may be the best solution. For young families who want to have control of their home, then a freehold is advised. When you decide, you should call Abhishek Bhateja, and together you can move quickly.