June Smith - www.CondosAndTownhomes.ca 25 Years Condo & Townhome Sales



Condo Questions & Answers


Here are some frequently asked questions about condos.  Check back often as new questions and answers are added.  If you have a question that isn't answered here, please call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email june@junesmith.ca


1. What Is A Condominium?


2. What Do I Own When I Buy a Condominium?

3. When is the Best Time to Sell a Condo or Townhome?

4. What Types of Condomiuiums Are There?

5. How are Condo's Regulated and Managed?



1. What Is a Condominium?

A “condominium” typically refers to a form of legal ownership, as opposed to a style of construction. Condominiums are most often thought of as high-rise residential buildings, but this form of ownership can also apply to townhouse complexes, individual houses and low-rise residential buildings.

Condominiums consist of two parts. The first part is a collection of private dwellings called “units”. Each unit is owned by and registered in the name of the purchaser of the unit.

The second part consists of the common elements of the building that may include lobbies, hallways, elevators, recreational facilities, walkways, gardens, etc. Common elements may also include structural elements and mechanical and electrical services. The ownership of these common elements is shared amongst the individual unit owners, as is the cost for their operation, maintenance and ongoing replacement.

Each unit owner has an undivided interest in the common elements of the building. This ownership interest is often referred to as a “unit factor”. The unit factor for any particular unit will generally be calculated in proportion to the value that the unit has in relation to the total value of all of the units in the condominium corporation. The unit factor will tell you what your ownership percentage is in the common elements and will be used in calculating the monthly fees that you must pay towards their upkeep and renewal.

June Smith is an Award winning Sales Representative with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp. and has been selling condos and townhomes in the Oakville market for over 15 years. If you would like to know more about condos and townhomes, call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email june@junesmith.ca

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Condominium Buyer’s Guide, 2002. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the consent of CMHC. All other uses and reproductions of this material are expressly prohibited.


2. What Do I Own When I Buy a Condominium?

When you buy a condominium, you own your unit, as well as a percentage of the common property elements allocated to the unit. The boundaries of each individual unit and the percentage of common elements you own may vary from condominium to condominium, depending on how they are specified in the condominium's governing documents. Sometimes, the unit boundary can be at the backside of the interior drywall of the unit’s dividing walls. Alternatively, the unit boundary can be the centre line of the unit’s walls. The boundaries of your condominium unit are an important consideration at the time of purchase— particularly if alterations and renovations are a potential part of your purchase plan.

The unit typically includes any equipment, systems, finishes, etc. that are contained only in the individual unit. The right to use one or more parking spots and storage areas may be included. While you may have exclusive access to parking spot or storage area, you seldom actually own the space itself. For a freehold condominium, the unit may be the entire house including the exterior walls, the roof and in some cases, the land surrounding the structure. Prior to making a purchase, you may wish to hire a professional surveyor to review the site plan for the condominium corporation so you know exactly where you unit’s boundaries lay.

Components of building systems that serve more than one unit, such as structural elements and mechanical and electrical services, are often considered part of the common property elements, particularly when they are located outside of the unit boundaries specified in the condominium’s governing documents.

There may be some parts of the condominium complex that are called “exclusive use common property elements.” They are outside the unit boundaries, but are for the exclusive use of the owner of a particular unit. Balconies, parking spaces, storage lockers, driveways and front or rear lawn areas are common examples of exclusive use common property elements. It is important to be aware of any exclusive use common property elements before you make an offer to purchase a condominium. While these spaces are exclusive to your use, there may be restrictions on how and when you use them. For instance, you many not be able to park a boat, RV or commercial vehicle in your assigned parking spot. There may also be restrictions on what you can place on your balcony.

June Smith is an Award winning Sales Representative with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp. and has been selling condos and townhomes in the Oakville market for over 15 years. If you would like to know more about condos and townhomes, call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email june@junesmith.ca

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Condominium Buyer’s Guide, 2002. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the consent of CMHC. All other uses and reproductions of this material are expressly prohibited.


3. When is the Best Time to Sell a Condo or Townhome?

Timing is everything - and it can make the difference between a quick sale for top dollar and being on the market longer - and eventually selling for a lower price.

While condos and townhomes follow general market trends, they do have a market timing of their own. Specific complexes, price ranges, neighbourhoods and areas can even have their own trends.

I have noted many market timing subtleties in this segment over the years. For example, entry level townhome sales can be very strong in the summer months while the rest of the market is taking a breather. Generally, I think, first time buyers like to look and buy when the weather is good and often they are not pressured to be settled in by September for the start of school as is the case for many families purchasing detached homes. People buying detached homes tend to buy in the Spring for Summer move-in dates.

The upscale townhome market can take on yet another timing cycle. The market for upscale townhomes is generated from retirees downsizing and professional couples and singles. Demand for this type of housing can be higher after the peak in detached home sales in the Spring and Fall.

Condo apartment sales tend to peak in late Spring/early Summer just after the peak in sales of detached homes - no doubt a result of people downsizing. At many times throughout the year in the Oakville market, condo apartment sales seem lower than one would expect, but sales in this segment are really restricted by the number of available units for sale. There always seems to be stronger demand for Oakville condos than supply.

While these are general trends and guidelines, it is best to seek the help of an Agent that specializes in your particular property type, price range and area. Other market factors are always at work to shape the cycles each and every year. Unusual market forces can change trends at any point in time. An Agent who keeps abreast of these factors can give the best advice on market timing for your particular condo or townhome development. You don’t want to list after the peak market cycle has passed and have to wait for the next wave.

June Smith is an Award winning Sales Representative with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp. and has been selling condos and townhomes in the Oakville market for over 15 years.  If you would like to know more about selling a condo or townhome, call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email June at june@junesmith.ca


4. What Types of Condominiums Are There?

Residential condominiums can be high-rise or low-rise (under four storeys), town or row houses, duplexes (one unit over another), triplexes (stack of three units), single detached houses, stacked townhouses or freehold plots. There are even mixed-use condominiums that are partly residential and partly commercial buildings. They come in various sizes with diverse features and they can be found in almost every price range.

What Does Freehold Condominium Mean?

The biggest difference between a freehold condominium and a regular condominium is what is included as part of the unit. With a freehold condominium, you own the plot of land and any structure on that land such as a house or townhouse. You are normally responsible for the care and upkeep of the entire house, including the exterior walls and roof, as well as the lawn, garden, driveway and garage.

With a freehold condominium, the common property elements might include access roads to the units, recreational facilities, visitor parking area or a park with a playground. These items may be the responsibility of the condominium corporation. All unit owners pay a monthly condominium fee toward their upkeep.

With a regular townhouse or house condominium, the unit typically consists of the interior of the house itself, while the exterior of the house and the plot of land on which the unit sits are considered part of the common elements. This means that repair and maintenance of items like exterior walls, windows, lawns, gardens and driveways may be the responsibility of the condominium corporation.

In a freehold condominium, you usually have more freedom to make improvements, such as landscaping features, to the unit. However, there are usually provisions that give the condominium corporation some control over owners modifying the unit, such as determining when the roof will be repaired, and what colour the shingles must be. So if you want to change the colour of your door or build a deck in your backyard, you may have to ask for permission from the Board of Directors.

June Smith is an Award winning Sales Representative with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp. and has been selling condos and townhomes in the Oakville market for over 15 years. If you would like to know more about condos and townhomes, call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email june@junesmith.ca

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Condominium Buyer’s Guide, 2002. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the consent of CMHC. All other uses and reproductions of this material are expressly prohibited.


5. How are Condo's Regulated and Managed?

The creation of a condominium is regulated by provincial condominium legislation and municipal guidelines. It can be created in many different ways. In some provinces, a developer, or other interested party, may register a declaration to create a condominium, while in others, an application may be made to have title issued for the units pursuant to an "approved plan of condominium."

The operation of condominiums is governed by provincial legislation and the condominium corporation's own declaration, by-laws and rules.

Once a condominium corporation has been established, each condominium has a Board of Directors that is elected by, and generally made up of, the unit owners. The Board is responsible for administration and management of the condominium corporation, including policy and finances, as well as decisions about the maintenance and repair of the common property. Some decisions will directly affect your use of common property elements. Unit owners are usually entitled to one vote for each unit they own for each position on the Board of Directors.

The Property Manager handles the day-to-day running of the condominium, such as hiring of staff, maintenance and repairs. The Property Manager is under contract to the condominium corporation. A representative from the property management company usually attends board meetings. Some condominiums may not have a Property Manager. These are sometimes referred to as self-managed condominiums. The Board of Directors, with the help of volunteers, will assume responsibility for the day-to-day management in these cases.

June Smith is an Award winning Sales Representative with Re/Max Aboutowne Realty Corp. and has been selling condos and townhomes in the Oakville market for over 15 years. If you would like to know more about condos and townhomes, call June Smith at 905-842-7000 or email june@junesmith.ca

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Condominium Buyer’s Guide, 2002. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the consent of CMHC. All other uses and reproductions of this material are expressly prohibited.

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