Basic Info About Condos
Condominium living is an attractive and popular housing option for many people. Condos are often less expensive than single-family homes, and they offer a lifestyle where a good portion of regular home maintenance and repair headaches are taken care of.
Security in condominiums is often greater than that found in detached homes. Having a 24 hour a day concierge service, security cameras in hallways, lobbies, and garages, plus the ability to travel without needing to worry about maintaining the appearance of being home are all major benefits of condo living.
In addition, many condos offer elaborate entertainment and recreational facilities that surpass what any single family home could possibly have.
However, there are significant differences between condo living and living in a freehold property.
What is a Condominium?
A “condominium” actually refers to a form of ownership. Condominiums are often thought of as units in high-rise residential buildings, but they can also be:
- stacked townhouses
- single-detached houses
- vacant land
If you are going to buy a condominium, there are three options available to you. You can buy a new-build condo, a resale condo or a conversion condo.
New condominiums are units that have not been previously occupied. Purchasers often buy these new condominiums from the builder, when they are still in the planning stage, when they are under construction, or when they are just completed.
For many buyers, they’re an attractive option because the finished product is fresh and new. Purchasers are often given the chance to customize their units.
Resale condominiums are units that have already been occupied, typically in an existing building. Resale condos are being sold by the current owner. One of the advantages of purchasing an existing condominium is that you get to see the unit in real life before you make an offer to purchase.
Conversion condominiums are units in a building that was previously used for something else. For example, many loft-style condominiums are converted from former commercial or industrial buildings. Conversions also refer to when former rental apartments are converted to condos.
Owning a condominium differs from owning a conventional home in several key ways. Differences include:
What Exactly do you Own?
When you purchase a condominium, you own a private dwelling called a “unit.” Your unit is registered in your name. You have ownership of this unit, and you can also have ownership of your parking spot and locker, but you also share ownership of the “common elements” of the building.
**see note below
Common elements are other portions of the building that you share and jointly own with other owners. They can include lobbies, hallways, elevators, recreational facilities such as swimming pools and gyms, party rooms, guest rooms, outdoor walkways and landscaped areas.
Some common elements may be outside the boundaries of your own unit, but are for your sole or exclusive use. Balconies, parking spaces, bicycle and storage lockers are common examples of this.
** parking spots, lockers, and bicycle spots can be either owned or an exclusive use common element
What are Condo Maintenance Fees?
In addition to paying for your unit with cash and/or a mortgage loan, you are also required to pay a monthly condo fee which in Canada is typically called a “maintenance fee“.
The maintenance fee covers the regular upkeep and maintenance of common elements, whether you use them or not. The maintenance fee usually also includes the condo corporation’s insurance policies, some utilities, salaries for concierge and maintenance personnel, and services such as snow removal.
In addition to regular ongoing expenses, a portion of the monthly maintenance fees is also put into a type of savings account called a reserve fund. The reserve fund is there to cover the cost of future maintenance and repairs.
Ontario requres that each condo corporation regularly conducts a reserve fund study. This study is a detailed blueprint of what funds will be required for future repairs. Reserve fund studies are conducted by an engineer or other professional, and they include an examination of all building components, an analysis of when repair and replacement are to be expected, and an estimate of these future costs.
Condominium fees are often adjusted to meet the rising costs for goods and services and the state of the building’s reserve fund.
Condos have Rules
Each condominium has a set of rules that govern what residents can or cannot do. Some restrict the number of people who can occupy a unit, and some restrict the number of rentals in the building, especially short-term rentals.
Every building has a policy regarding pets. While most condos will accept pets, many have restrictions to the number or pets per unit, and the maximum size allowed. Buyers are encouraged to find out the rules of pets for any condo, before making an offer.
Finally, be aware that many condo underground parking garages prohibit oversize vehicles, such as large trucks and RVs.
Condos in Mississauga
Condos were originally introduced in Mississauga in the late 1970’s, and today there are hundreds of condominiums to be found in the city. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on highrise apartment condominiums
The area with the highest concentration of highrise condos is in the Square One City Centre area. Here you will find over 50 highrise buildings with condo apartments.
Condo apartments are also growing in popularity in other parts of the city. There are significant new build condos in Central Erin Mills, the Hurontario corridor, Port Credit, and Clarkson. Check out our detailed pages on these areas, coming soon!
Mississauga Valley Condos
Port Credit Condos
We hope you have enjoyed our short overview of condominium living. There are pros and cons to any housing lifestyle, but it’s safe to say that condos are a very popular choice for many people.