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ABC's of Condominium Living by Lynn Tribbling


Condominiums traditionally have had a special appeal to cost-sensitive buyers first appearing in Toronto in the 1960's as part of a C.M.H.C. initiative to provide affordable housing. First-time buyers, young couples, single people, especially women, and empty-nesters in search of life-after-kids, are drawn to condo living. For example, buyers-on-a-budget can realistically hope to find a small bit of luxury at a choice address, a penny-pincher's penthouse, for say, $350,000. Whereas, a decent detached home in the core, would be well over $500,000. In fact, homes in prime GTA areas typically sell for $1,000,000 in today's hot real estate market. Luxury condos in downtown Toronto are currently selling for about $500-$700 per sq. ft. These prices are bargains by international standards which range between $2000-$3000 U.S. psf..


Unlike apartment living or single family housing neighbourhoods, management of condominiums is participatory and democratic in spirit. So if you do not like certain things about your living environment, you can petition the Board of Directors, even run for election in order to have you opinions respected. You are an owner. Owners decide how things are managed, and what the rules should be. You are the boss (most of the time). You are the boss and have legal control over your situatoin...most of the time.


Perhaps the most appealing feature of condominium living is the delightful prospect of not having to worry about day-to-day maintenance drudgery associated with a house. Yes, you pay a fee, but someone else worries about: grass-cutting, snow-removal, garbage-disposal, roof repairs, broken windows, major plumbing, electrical, and heating problems, deliveries, visitors, security etc. Just imagine, some buildings have private shuttle buses, in-house aesthetic services, dry-cleaning pick up, valet parking, dog-walking services, personal trainers. Some even mail your mail for you, and have handsome 24 hour concierges who act as resident psychotherapists.You are free to travel or stay at home and surrender to lethargy. What sybaritic bliss!


Many condominium developments are situated in destination locations , in close proximity to business, entertainment, recreation and cultural centres which are the magnets of the dynamic urban lifestyle. Whereas new homes are typically located further away from the city core where land prices are cheaper. The convenience of not having to commute to everything that is important in your life is an obvious plus for condo owners. Some do not even feel they need a car, and gleefully trade gridlock and road-rage for the happy-hour and dinners on time.


In a recent survey the number one priority of property owners was security. Condominium corporations address this important safety concern with an arsenal of high-tech wizardry the cost of which would be out-of-reach for individual home owners. Most luxury buildings have front-desk security, underground video surveillance, perimeter cameras, and computer monitored entry pass cards. Some have sophisticated ensuite motion detectors, medical panic buttons, intrusion alarm panels, intercom, public address speakers. Also, it is mandatory that condos have up-to-date fire safety equipment which is inspected regulary. It is true, a man's home is his castle. But his condominium is his fortress. Instead of ramparts and sentinels we have state-of-the-art, wired lobbies and vigilant 24-hour concierges. Condos are not only care-free, they are worry-free.


What more could you possibly want? Condominiums offer everything: swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, gyms, exercise equipment, tennis, basketball, golf putting-greens, squash courts, running tracks, sun decks, BBQ areas, roof patios, observation lounges, libraries, tuck shops, business centres, meeting rooms, party rooms, media rooms, card rooms, hobby rooms, parcel rooms, billiard rooms, wine cellars, guest suites, private restaurants, piano bars, shuttle buses, landscaped arderns, catering kitchens, and one even offers you a temperature-controlled cigar locker! Holy smoke! Fitness, fraternity, fun. Perfect for the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famished.


Real estate has had its ups and downs, but over the long-term, generally proves to be a solid investment. Over the past few years, returns have been especially impressive for real estate investors. You make money two ways, not only from capital appreciation, but also from cash flow generated from rents. Condominiums are excellent income-producing investments. Your potential return is significanly greater than bank interest. Real estate comes with risks and nuisance factors inherent in being a landlord and is not for everyone. However, my own experience, having owned over 50 investment properties, has been mostly positive and rewarding. As my Mother always says: "You have to speculate to accumulate."

See my short informative video on Real Esate investing

Lynn Tribbling, Direct: (416) 252-2221 Office: (416) 391-3232. Sales Representative Right at Home Realty Inc. Brokerage.

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