Condominium development in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) area has really grown. Today there are many condominiums available, ranging from your basic apartment to your million dollar luxury waterfront oasis. With land at such a premium on the Halifax peninsula as well as Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville, Eastern Passage and many other communities within HRM condos make homeownership a reality for those individuals wishing to live downtown, near downtown or within proximity of all amenities in the many neighborhoods in our community. They're a great solution for people who are looking to downsize after owning a house, those looking to invest in real estate but don't want the maintenance involved with owning a house, investors (in most cases a condo owner is permitted to rent their condo), singles and or first time home buyers.
Definition of a Condominium
A condominium is a type of housing tenure. Portions of the property are owned jointly and portions are owned individually.
Types of Condominiums
Attached Condominiums: This is the most common type of condominium. The building is a multi-unit dwelling in which there are a number of individually owned apartment units (or condo) and commonly owned public areas such as hallways, grounds and recreational areas.
Detached Condominiums: These are single-family dwellings with separate entrances. What differentiates these from houses is the exterior and grounds are not maintained by the homeowners.
Site Condominiums: These are like detached condominiums but the homeowners have greater control over the exterior appearance.
Buying a Condominium and how are they managed?
Buying a condominium is certainly more complex than a house because you are buying the interior space of where you live plus buying an interest in the building, its exterior, common areas, facilities, the parking lot etc. and all maintenance as well as the benefits of a collaborative purchase which requires people to manage it.
All condo owners have a say in how the condominium is managed. They are part of the condominium association or corporation which is governed by a board of directors elected by its members. Financial statements are very important. Each condominium has its own unique set of bylaws, rules and regulations. All condo owners are subject to these which include paying a monthly fee. It is very important to review these carefully either prior to or as a condition of the contract. There are some that will permit pets for instance and some that do not. Real estate professionals can access this information for you and/or check prior to you viewing a condo whether your specific wants can be met. Owners still pay property taxes to the municipality and receive an assessment of value on their own condo once a year. In some cases heat is included in your condo fees, water is usually included and electricity may or may not be. Check which utilities are included in the monthly condo fee so you are clear on expenses you will be incurring outside that fee.
We do recommend you hire an agent to work with you as well as educate you to ensure you are clear about expenses before and during your ownership along with the many other aspects that are involved with buying a condo. We do know and can recommend other professionals who are experienced with condominiums including but not limited to lawyers, inspectors and other investigative professionals that may be required during the process of the purchase. We acquire our knowledge by viewing and selling condominiums and through ongoing courses as well as getting information from other professionals in related fields. This is an advantage to you the buyer because this is what we do for a living so naturally we have that much more knowledge let alone the ability to find the answers quickly and efficiently from the right sources.
Good luck in your search!