As with anything of value, new homes are sometimes misunderstood. If you are looking at older condos because you believe some of the outdated myths, we’ve busted the most popular misconceptions so you can make an informed choice.
Myth 1: The condo corporation holds the insurance, so my things are unprotected
You are not unprotected when you buy a new condo. Yes, the condo corporation must have insurance for the building envelope and common areas, but each unit owner can get their own contents insurance. A broker will find the best condo insurance available for your needs (sometimes expensive items like art and wine collections need separate riders) and tailor the policy so you can replace or fix things that are damaged or stolen in your unit. You can also get liability coverage. This means, if someone were to slip and fall on your kitchen floor, your insurance could help with medical costs or therapy treatments.
Myth 2: New condos are generic. I can’t have my own style.
New builds are anything but generic! They come with finishing packages that each unit owner can choose among to ensure they get the colour palate and accessories (like door handles and cabinets) they like. Should these packages not be to your liking, just choose the most neutral one and add your touches after you move in. It is your unit – as long as your style doesn’t damage the structural integrity of the building or affect the building envelope, you can customize at will. You can’t, for example, take down a wall or put in a bay window, but you can paint, change up the cabinets, or even bring in a designer to source one-of-a-kind accessories.
Myth 3: Condos are for young couples, singletons, or seniors
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Modern, new condo builds feature a variety of unit styles including ones with multiple bedrooms and/or a den. Some units are 1,500 square feet, which is comparable to many single family homes in Canada. Condos are for anyone who wants home ownership minus the hassles of building envelope and yard maintenance.
Myth 4: Those higher condo fees for new builds are unnecessary
Those condo fees are exactly what enable unit holders to enjoy the condo lifestyle. Condo fees support the maintenance and the reserve fund. A reserve fund is money set aside for later capital expenses such as re-roofing the building or re-paving the parking lot. Older condos don’t always have enough set aside in their reserve fund. This is a huge issue, which we address in the next myth…
Myth 5: A special assessment is only a matter of time
There are times when an unforeseen event or lack of money in the reserve fund has condo corporations going to the unit owners for thousands of dollars to cover a shared cost. This is easily avoided in two ways. The condo corporation’s documents are public. Simply ask for them to see how the money, reserve fund, and maintenance are handled. New condo builds won’t have money in the reserve fund because the funds haven’t accumulated yet, but you’ll be able to see how the corporation plans to allocate the condo fees, and how fast the reserve fund will grow. Also, a well-managed condo is not usually caught off guard by big capital expenses. Remember, reserve fund studies were not legislated until the late 1990s, which is why some older condo complexes are sometimes short on funds when they need them the most. The second way to protect yourself is to simply pay a little more on your insurance for a special assessment rider. That way, if a special assessment is levied, the insurance company pays it.
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Distinctive Homes knows buying a new condo in Canmore is an investment of your time and money. We are very transparent and are happy to answer any questions you may have about new condo myths. Our properties are responsibly managed and operated so you and your family can enjoy years of the condo lifestyle hassle free