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While people in the market for a condo often spend a long time researching things like building amenities and monthly fees, deciding where you want to live is even more important.

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When looking at the real estate listings, be sure to focus on neighborhoods that are important to you. What neighborhood do you want to live in? Do you have a short list if your first choice is unavailable? What are the crime statistics like? What is the average income? Where are the closest transportation hubs? When choosing a neighborhood for your new condo, there are so many things to take into consideration. Visiting the neighborhood during the day and night is a great place to start. Are you comfortable?

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Can you picture yourself walking down the streets? Along with spending time on the ground, you can also access facts and statistics from websites, forums, and government portals. You can also talk to real estate experts. Safety is an important consideration for most people, with crime statistics readily available for locations in Canada and the United States.

It's also important to look into geography.

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While hills can add character, you may not want to walk up a steep hill to get home every day. Are there parks close by?

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Are there dog parks close by, in case you have or consider having a furry friend. Have you thought about air quality and noise pollution? Closely related to neighborhood are considerations surrounding proximity and commuting.

While people have vastly different needs when it comes to where they want to live, everyone wants to live close to certain amenities or attractions. If you're working, it's important to analyze your commute time and how this will affect your lifestyle. If you have kids, you need to check out the quality of the local schools and how far they are away. If you like eating out or going to the theater, you need to do some research.

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One of the best ways to compare locations is based on the Walk Score , a website and app that rates potential home locations based on their proximity to attractions and amenities such as grocery stores and restaurants. Regardless of where you want to live, it's important to compare and contrast various neighborhoods and homes based on the things that are important to you.

Along with the type of condo, the price, and the location, it's crucial to look into the building amenities. The availability of amenities has a huge impact on your monthly fees and your lifestyle, with common examples including pools, gyms, fitness centers, tennis courts, common areas, holistic wellness features, technology and connectivity, and parking. Access to specific amenities can transform your life, which is why so many people are prepared to pay more for condos with extras.

To make sure you are within your price range, you have to do extensive research. Condo developers are paying close attention to how they structure amenities to meet the needs of condo buyers. While each additional amenity raises condo board fees, there is a sweet spot where developers can satisfy the needs of potential residents without pricing themselves out of the market.

Traditional amenities such as pools and gyms are not enough in isolation, with developers increasingly paying attention to technology and wellness trends. Technology and building connectivity have become an integral part of many modern lifestyles. From advanced fiber optic Internet through to robotic cleaning and electric vehicle charging stations, forward-thinking developers are paying close attention to how they integrate technology throughout a building.

Smart devices and appliances are a big part of this movement, with condo owners able to control lighting, security systems, and domestic appliances even when they're away from the building. Health and fitness amenities have always played an important role in condo buildings, with developments often featuring swimming pools, gyms, and tennis courts. Along with these traditional amenities, there is a growing market for yoga studios, meditation rooms, and community spaces designed to accommodate visiting massage therapists.

Communal spaces are also becoming more important, from large entertainment areas through to niche meeting rooms, children's playrooms, and wine tasting rooms. Whatever you need from your condo, it's important to compare buildings based on their amenities along with their location and price. The existence of common elements defines a condo building, with the existence of monthly maintenance fees to support these elements an important responsibility that needs to be addressed.

When looking into condos and homes, it's important to compare monthly fees amounts and structures. HOA fees can vary considerably based on building quality, amenities, building size and building age. More amenities typically means higher fees, with older and smaller buildings also more expensive due to higher maintenance costs and less people to share respectively.

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The existence of staff can also increase fees dramatically, so if the building has a pool cleaner or gardener, it's important to take this into account. Before signing a condo contract, it's important to look into what services the fees are designed to cover and how often the fees are increased. For example, while all building fees cover amenities, some may also cover things like services and parking. Along with the cost of regular maintenance fees, which are generally paid monthly and quarterly, it's also important to look into the contingency fund and what it can be used for.

While regular fees take care of building upkeep and most maintenance tasks, large-scale jobs such as replacing the roof may require additional funds. If the HOA's reserves aren't enough to pay for large expenses, the association may charge an extra assessment that can run into thousands of dollars. Due to economies of scale, special assessments are normally smaller for large communities and higher for smaller communities.

Along with the fees, it's crucial to look into the rules and regulations set up by the condo board. These rules can vary considerably from building to building, which is why it's so important to do your homework. For example, you may not be able to paint your front door a certain color, park a certain type of vehicle in the driveway, or hang your washing on the balcony.

Condo boards often post their rules and regulations online, with your real estate agent able to track down specific documents if asked. You may also wish to assess the environmental practices of the HOA, meet some of your potential neighbors, and get a copy of the minutes from the last meeting to get a good grasp of what you can expect when you move into the building. Before you can purchase a new or used condo, you need to get approved for a mortgage.

There are lots of things to consider before you can get approval, with most lenders looking at the relationship that exists between your deposit amount, income, debt levels, and credit score. There are additional hurdles to overcome if you want to purchase a condo, with the condo association also needing to qualify in order for your mortgage to be approved. Because condos involve a hybrid form of ownership, both the individual apartment owner and the condo board need to be approved by the lender.

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In Canada, the situation is very similar, with lenders looking into each condo board with a fine-toothed comb. While you still need to pass a mortgage stress test yourself, it's also important that your building is up to scratch. Because the financial stability of a condo project depends on the financial health of an entire building, lenders may view condo loans as a more complex and potentially riskier investment than a single house. Condos are often more affordable that standard houses, especially in densely populated urban areas.

However, it's important to account for monthly maintenance fees along with the initial sale price. Like any real estate purchase, condo prices vary considerably according to location, size, building age, and amenities. Condo owners are subject to condo association rules and regulations.

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  • Living in a condo means abiding by the rules and regulations set out by the HOA or condo board. There is likely to be a master insurance policy, monthly maintenance fees, and lifestyle rules such as noise restrictions and limits on how you can renovate your apartment.

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    It's important to check your obligations before signing a contract. Living in a condo can improve your quality of life. People often move to a condo to improve their lifestyle. While this means different things to different people, you may be able to live in a more central location and have greater access to recreational amenities. The lack of external building maintenance can also help to free up your weekends. Condo living is all about community. Before buying a condo, it often makes sense to meet your neighbors and attend a HOA meeting to see if you're a good fit. Buying a condo still requires a real estate agent.

    There are many different types of condos that you can purchase, from pre-constructed units through to newly built condos and used condos. While you can purchase units directly from the developer in many cases, consulting with an expert realtor is the best way to compare condos and meet the obligations of your purchase agreement. Listings Cities Blog Calculators Financing. Condos for sale: what to look for when buying. What is a Condo?

    Types of condos There are numerous types of condos available to purchase, including new or pre-construction condos, renovation condos, and re-sale condos. Condo characteristics Before buying a condo, it's important to understand condo characteristics and how condo ownership differs from a conventional real estate purchase. Individual unit When you buy a condo, you own the apartment unit itself.

    Common areas The common areas of a condo building are what differentiates it from a conventional real estate purchase. Taxes and insurance For tax purposes, each individual condo unit is individually assessed and taxed, including its share of common elements. Condo board fees The existence of common property in addition to private property is the single element that defines a condominium.

    Different types of condos Condos come in all shapes and sizes , with different types of buildings having a huge effect on the initial purchase cost and the ongoing fee structure.