Condo FAQs, Frequently Asked Questions about Condos in Ottawa

What is a Condo (Condominium)?

A Condominium does not refer to a style of dwelling but a form of ownership. With a Condominium you own the space within your walls, floors and ceiling with a common ownership interest in the common areas, which are shared by all owners.

Which is a better investment, Condos or single family homes?

Using appreciation as a measure, Condominiums in most Ottawa areas have been just as profitable as an investment as single-family homes in the last five years. And in some local markets, Condos appreciated even more, according to some experts.

While single-family homes have been the preferred investment by home buyers, changing demographics are helping make condos more popular, especially among singles, seniors, empty nesters and first-time buyers in the 613 area. Also, the Condominium community has worked hard in the last few number of years to overcome image problems brought on by homeowners association and developer disputes, as well as all too frequent construction-defect litigation.

Are Condos a good investment?

While condos never had the kind of very long-term appreciation experienced by single-family homes, Condos in the 613 real estate market most ultimately have not lost value, say some experts. And with high prices in many Ottawa neighbourhoods and more and more single homebuyers in the market than ever before, the market for condos is strong. As with any home purchase, you should do your homework about the neighborhood or development before you buy. In the case of Condominiums, it is important to read the past six months of homeowners association minutes to see how effective the board is and to learn about any possibly detracting issues (such as protracted litigation with the developer). The 613 Condominium communities have worked hard in the last few years to overcome image problems brought on by disputes and lawsuits in other real estate markets. Local associations are becoming more sophisticated about property management and taking steps to prevent legal problems and disputes.

What is a good process to find a Condo?

The best process is to enlist the services of a real estate agent who specializes in the type of housing you are looking for. An agent will know all current listings and non public listings. They will also aid in the decision making process. The number one reason to use an agent is that it will cost you nothing! They receive their commission from the seller.

What determines the value of a Condo?

The value of a Condo or any other real estate is determined by the ultimate buyer. A seller can place any price they want for their real estate, if nobody makes an offer then that is a pretty good indicated the price is too high. Listed below are factors that will affect value. Factors that affect value: • Location in the city • Location in the neighborhood • Condo building • Location within the building • Views and closeness to top floor • Parking • Square footage • Number of bathrooms • Decorating

What are the most important elements to look at when buying a Condo?

Number one, will you really be happy there. Spend some time in the building, walk around the building, visit local businesses and hangouts, and walk around the neighborhood. Make sure you receive Condo docs and review them. Get copies of minute of board meetings to see what issues are important and being discussed. Talk to some residents to get their opinions.

What is the process for buying a Condo in a building that is not built yet?

Developers will have different procedures, make sure you check and find out what their procedures are. Typically units are first reserved with the right to cancel within a certain time frame. The first thing to do is sign up for notification when units will be available for reservation. Make sure you check the plans and specifications.

How does the Condo Board Function?

An association or Condo board is the group that runs and manages the affairs of the Condo building. Learn everything you can about the homeowners association before you buy into a development governed by one. The association's financial, political and legal conditions are very important to your investment and quality of life. When run properly, homeowners associations maintain the common grounds and keep civility in the complex. If you follow the rules, the association should not intrude on your privacy or cost you too much in association dues. Poorly managed associations can drag down property values and make living there difficult for residents. Start by studying the association's covenants, codes and restrictions, or CC&Rs, and find out if you can live by them. For example, if the rules prohibit loud music after a certain hour and you like to play your CDs late at night, this may not be the place for you. Don't move in thinking you can get away with violating the rules or change them later because you may find yourself in turmoil with determined neighbors firmly in control of the association board. Have your attorney find out all you can about the association's finances. Beyond reviewing the budget, talk to the association treasurer and find out if dues are expected to increase and if any special assessments are planned. Ask if special inspections have revealed problems with roofs or plumbing that may cause a dues hike or special assessment later on. Call and meet with the association president.

How much are Condo Fees?

Condo fees are the fees you pay to live in a particular Condo building. Fees are normally paid monthly and are not negotiable. If you do not pay the association can take legal action and enforce a lien on your unit.

What are standard amenities are typically included in the association fee?

Condominiums usually include more utilities in their fees and have more shared amenities. Some of the factors that may impact the fees include the age and condition of the buildings, the number of units to share the costs, and adequate reserve accounts for long term maintenance. With each association being different, here is list of what might be included: *Garbage removal, *Landscaping, *Outside building maintenance, *Replacement reserve accounts, *Pool maintenance, *Elevator service, *Legal costs, *Staff salaries, *Caretaker's unit Heat, -Air conditioning, -Building insurance, -Electricity, -Sewer and water, -Snow removal, -Lawn care, -Professional Management, -Accounting services, Townhomes and single residential residence usually have few to none, while Condominium amenities might include: *Indoor or outdoor pool, *Party room, *Exercise room, *Whirlpool, *Sauna, *Guest room, *Game room, *Playground, *Golf putting green, *BBQ area, *Security system, *Storage lockers,

What are rules for pets?

Any provision in a tenancy agreement that forbids animals (frequently referred to as the no pet provision) is in violation of the Act. In other words, a pet provision in a tenancy agreement is void. However, exceptions do apply; e.g., provisions in the Ontario Human Rights Code and pet restrictions in Condominiums (subject to certain qualifications). A Condominium declaration may contain enforceable provisions (such as a no pet provision) relating to the occupation and use of units and common areas. Any tenant or landlord wishing detailed information or currently involved in a dispute concerning animals is strongly advised to contact the Landlord and Tenant Board and/or seek expert advice. The landlord may make application for an order to terminate the tenancy and evict the tenant under selected circumstances concerning animals example, where the animal causes substantial interference with reasonable enjoyment, causes a serious allergic reaction, or the animal is inherently dangerous.
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