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When you purchase a condominium suite, you own your own suite and the exclusive use of the balcony or terrace if you have one. You also own a percentage interest of all the common elements in the building such as the lobby, pool, gym, party room, large outdoor terrace, theatre room and the like. The square footage of your suite is used to determine what your individual percentage it, and your maintenance fee is calculated from that. In essence, you share the exclusive use of the amenities and responsibility for their upkeep with the other residents of the building.
Condominiums are nearly always managed by a professional management company that is accountable to the condo board of directors. As a resident, you can run for the board if you'd like to take an active role in making decisions about your home. Among the corporation's duties are administering the reserve fund, which is there to cover any expenses incurred in the upkeep, repair, improvements and landscaping of the building to ensure that everything is kept in tiptop shape.
This is really the major difference between condominium ownership and traditional low-rise ownership. When you own a single-family home or even a semi or townhome with no condominium component, you look after all these things yourself. One of the major reasons for choosing to live in a condo is the carefree lifestyle of not having to worry about repairs and maintenance.
The condominium corporation also sets up and enforces rules and regulations for the building that help preserve a high quality of life for residents. These rules also protect your investment. An example is a restriction on the colours and types of window treatments permitted, which protects the exterior aesthetics of the building. This is another great example of how these rules are made in your best interest. When you own a condo suite, you have the same rights as a low-rise owner, in the sense that you can mortgage your home, sell it or lease it. Condominium regulations prevent people from renting to different people for short periods of time and essentially using the suite as a hotel.
Generally no exotic pets are allowed and balconies are to be kept clear of storage, so that your image to the outside world is kept pretty. The set-up of the condominium corporation and condo documents ensures consideration and co-operation in keeping the building as safe and as well maintained as possible, as well as assuring that your rights as an owner are upheld. And speaking of rights, if you purchase your new condo from a builder who is registered with Tarion Warranty Corporation, you also enjoy all the benefits and protection of the new home warranty.
When you purchase a condo, you buy into an exciting and convenient way of life. If you have already bought a condominium suite or you are shopping for one, you already understand the draw of having things like a party room, swimming pool, library, theatre room and the like under your roof, without the hassle of having to take care of them. It's a true luxury to know that someone else is mowing your lawn, keeping the gardens watered and weeded, cleaning the lobby and amenity spaces, repairing faulty equipment, etc. The amenities are an extension of your living space, and the fact that they are being maintained for you means that you have more time to enjoy them!
Personally I continue to have fond memories of my first condo purchase, which as at Queens Quay and Harbour Sq. Directly on the Toronto Harbourfrount. I have fond memories of boardwalk strolls late at night and peacefully watching sail boats sail by. In fact I appreciated the Toronto Harbourfront lifestyle so much that my second investment in Toronto Real Estate was across the street in a new condominium project called Waterclub Condos located at York and Queens Quay. Whether you are entering the Real Estate market or making a lifestyle decision condos are definitely something to consider.
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