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Choosing the right condo

Gina Hillis

Gina Hillis, Broker with Hillis Group Realty, is a well-established and highly experienced real estate professional with a strong reputation for custo...

Gina Hillis, Broker with Hillis Group Realty, is a well-established and highly experienced real estate professional with a strong reputation for custo...

Feb 7 6 minutes read

What you need to know before jumping in

When we think ‘condo’ we often think high-rise buildings, but condos can come in all shapes and sizes. The word condominium is actually derived from the Latin ‘con’ (meaning together), and ‘dominium’ (meaning right of ownership). The word condominium has less to do with the type of building, and more to do with the "type of ownership". When you own a condo, you own a percentage of a whole which is documented in the declaration of the ownership. That being said, Mississauga and Oakville condos offer many options to choose from.  What type are you looking for?  Ask yourself these questions to find out what kind of"condominium" is right for you:

What type of building do you prefer?

Condos can be apartments, lofts, townhomes or even detached houses. Some are available on one level and two levels. What type of building would you be happiest in?  Do you want a balcony? Would you like to have your own private green space? Do you like living on the main floor? Do you consider having an amazing view, a priority? Do you have a pet or would you prefer a condo which restricts pets? Do you require parking and if so underground or ground level parking? Is space a priority? Most newer condo designs built today, don't include dining rooms to house a dining suite.  Is an ensuite locker room important or can it be located elsewhere in the condo? Does the condo offer ensuite laundry?

Where do you want to be situated?

How important is location for you? Do you need to be close to work, or your childrens schools? Remember that older condo buildings tend to be situated in more established neighbourhoods while new builds are usually found in previously non-residential areas. This means that there might not be schools, entertainment options or stores conveniently close by. Is transit or the GO train accessibility a priority?

What amenities are you looking for?

Do you like having a pool, sauna and party room? Today's amenities can include work/business spaces separate from your living space. They can include a library and relaxing lounge. Some we have come across even have a dog washing station where condos are dog friendly. Some condos offer a workshop to spread out your projects.  More and more condos are geared to Adult Lifestyle offering a variety of events, workshops and social gatherings.  Often cable can be included in the maintenance fees. Or are you a no-frills type of person that would rather save money with lower maintenance fees? Take a good look at what amenities a condo has to offer and decide whether it is something you would want to use (and ultimately pay for, on a monthly basis).

What are the maintenance fees?

Condos can offer no-hassle living, but that means that you are paying for someone else to take care of the things you would normally be responsible for as a homeowner. When looking at a condo, make sure you understand the fees associated with it and know what these fees are covering. Remember that a newer condo might have lower maintenance costs in the beginning but as the building gets older, these fees will rise. Amenities and shared spaces are also an indicator of how much maintenance fees will be – if you are not looking for a gym or a pool, you could be looking at a lower cost.

Are you okay with living in a high-rise?

If you are looking at a new build, you are likely looking at a high-rise condo. Being on a top floor can be great because it may come with an amazing view of the city, but it also means having to wait every day for an elevator. It can potentially take you several minutes to get yourself downstairs and outside. This is especially important if you have pets, or if you plan on leaving your apartment several times a day. If you are not comfortable with heights it might also be a good idea to seek out a unit on a lower level. 

Are you looking for an older condo or a new build option?

There are pros and cons to both options.

Older buildings tend to have more space and are likely to be located in more established neighbourhoods.

The downside is that they come with higher maintenance fees, less amenities and can be outdated. New builds are more modern and sleek with excellent amenities but are often built in previously non-residential areas. This means that they may be surrounded by the construction of other newer condos for a few years and may lack stores, schools and businesses nearby. Older buildings also tend to have a greater ratio of owner-occupied units while newer builds are often bought up by investors.

Whether you are looking for a new build, or an established building, it is important to work alongside a Realtor® who can help you choose a property based on your needs and preferences. A professional who is experienced and knowledgeable of reputable property management companies and deciphering condominium financial statements.  Unfortunately there are good, bad and the ugly.  If you are considering a condominium in Mississauga or Oakville – you have a lot of options! If you are just beginning to think about moving to a condo, feel free to call me at 647-690-1699 to help narrow down your search and assist you with your options. 

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