Things to consider when deciding between buying a Condo vs a Non Condo property.

We work with a log of first time buyers, many have a limited budget but want to buy instead of renting. How do they decide which is right for them, a condo or a non-condo property?

First, what is the difference? A condo property will be part of a condo association and has condo fees each month. The condo association is responsible for certain things on the property and those are outlined in the condo documents. For a townhouse or apartment style condo it’s common to have all exterior elements of the building covered, snow and garbage removal, landscaping and a few more items, but for this piece, these are the one’s most relevant to first time buyers.

When you purchase a non-condo townhouse for example you are fully responsible for all exterior items including siding, windows, fencing, snow removal, roof, decks, etc.

If you are concerned about cash surprises as a new homeowner, it may be worth considering purchasing a condo, where some of your expenses can be predictably managed. You know up front your condo fee and are assured that it covers all exterior building expenses. Your out of pocket cash needs will not include any general property upkeep for the exterior. This is an real option for those buyer’s whose budget restricts then to an older non-condo property where upkeep items will need attention (and money).

Be Careful: make sure that you have a full Condo Document Review completed by a professional service so that you are sure that the Condo Association has a healthy reserve fund and that there have been no structural issues identified.

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Dorian Frere