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Calgary Condo Guide

With the rising costs of single family homes, and with changing lifestyles, more and more Calgary new home buyers are being attracted to Calgary condos. But there are some issues you might want to consider before deciding which way you want to go.

A Condominium is...

The word Condominium refers to a type of ownership, not a type of home. Many Calgary condo buyers are not aware of this. They see apartment units as condos but exclude townhomes. Even single family dwelling is a condominium if the owner is required to pay a monthly fee for the upkeep of the common elements. Calgary condominium projects include high-rise and low-rise apartments, townhouses, semi-detached and single detached homes. Even within the condominium definition there have evolved different types of ownership. You may live in a "bareland" condominium where you own and are responsible for the maintenance of the exterior of your unit. (This is usually with semi-detached of detached homes.) Apartment condominiums are different again; they most typically have a higher monthly fee because more services are covered, e.g. heating, cable TV. parking etc. With new condominiums, builders may attach their own marketing name to each of these types of dwellings such as "free dominium", "freehold condo town homes" and so on. There are many different types of condominium ownership and they are all represented in the Calgary condo for sale market.

Because with a condo you are purchasing more than the unit, (you are buying an ownership in the condominium corporation, you need to review the detail of the financial heath and lifestyle rules of the corporation prior to committing to the purchase of a unit. In Calgary Alberta, usually condominium purchases are made conditional to the Buyer receiving and approving the appropriate documents. This condo document package should include copies of the bylaws, the current budget, recent financial statements, insurance certificate, copies of the reserve study, if they have one, the management agreement, etc. Spend time reviewing the material, especially the financial information and the use and occupancy restrictions of the bylaws. The minutes of meetings may disclose an upcoming special assessment or that no pets are allowed, for instance.

Make sure you ask every question you can think of. Do you have to maintain your privacy area as you must in some Calgary condo complexes? What about parking? Additional storage space? Do people get along with each other and the board of managers? Do the fees seem comparable with other similar Calgary condominiums with similar services included? If they are too low, realize that they may soon be raised, or special assessments may be imminent.

If the building being considered is older, find out all you can about the age and condition of any of the expensive components. Ask for copies of engineer's reports on post tensioning, boilers, roof conditions, etc. Do the funds in the condo reserve appear to be adequate for future expenses? How high is the insurance deductible? Make sure that you are adequately informed before removing conditions.

With Calgary condo the home you purchase is actually referred to as a unit in the Condominium Act. The boundaries of the unit are different in each project. A description of the boundaries is contained in the declaration. The boundaries in some projects may include front and rear yards while in other projects the boundaries stop at the interior walls. The description will determine the common elements and likely affect the common element fees. Be sure to investigate these issues when looking at Calgary condos for sale.


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