It is often said that buying a condominium is buying a lifestyle. With all
of the new developments in and around Southern Ontario it is important to know
what kind of lifestyle you want and then work with an experienced realtor to
help you find what you need from a condominium. Condominium living is different
from owning or renting a single dwelling, town house or apartment, because
condos have a dual nature. Condo owners hold title to their units and share
responsibility for the operating costs of the balance of the property that makes
up the condominium.
There are obvious advantages to condominium ownership like having an
'instant' community and not having to maintain a yard or driveway. For seniors
especially, being part of this type of ‘community’ can be reassuring and provide
a strong social network. On the other hand, there are often restrictions on such
things as owning pets and having an outdoor barbeque. Moreover, each condominium
development has been built with a certain market in mind and the developers
strive to stay current with the needs of its future residents.
In many areas, whether in urban centers, suburban, or small towns there are
condominium developments designed to accommodate the needs of seniors and their
families. It is important to have a good idea of what is required for the
individual before buying a condo and make sure that the location is convenient
and comfortable for the person. Also, proximity to services and amenities may be
a priority for some, while a swimming pool and or outdoor space may be important
In as much as the type lifestyle desired is important to focus on while
contemplating a condo buy, it is also important to know how a condominium
In 2001, The Condominium Act in Ontario underwent extensive changes and the
condominium corporations had three years to implement the new policies. An
important new policy was with regards to the reserve fund study. Condominium
corporations must maintain reserve funds to pay for major repairs and
replacement of the common elements and assets. The reserve fund study, which is
done by independently certified individuals (engineering and accounting firms),
looks at the necessary repairs in the coming years and determines whether
there’s enough money in the fund to cover these costs. New studies must be
completed every three years.
The Condominium Act says that the existing condominiums, the fund must
become fully funded – that is, able to handle the coming expenses – within ten
years. New condos must complete the study within a year of registration and must
be fully funded by the end of the following year.
If you own a condo, it is important to have a copy of the reserve fund
study as this states the financial and structural integrity of your home.
Moreover, if you are planning to sell your unit, make sure you know what the
status of your own unit is. If you are looking to buy, make sure you and your
lawyer review the full set of documents provided by the management company of
the building and unit you are considering. Be sure to ask questions to your
lawyer, your Real Estate agent, the concierge and any other residents you may
know of in the building. Condos are good investments for the right buyers and
can provide easy, carefree living for seniors.