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What are the pros and cons of living in a condo? (so you know if it fits your lifestyle)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


July 29, 2019 - Karl Yeh

Wondering if condo living is right for you? In this episode, we discuss the pros and cons of living in a condo. We explore how noise travels through a condo and how it impacts you. We also review what to look for when research your condo preferences and how customizable is your condo. 

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What we discussed:

Hi everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyers School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts. And remember if this is your first time on this channel, when you get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription [00:00:30] button below. Hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

What are the pros and cons of living in a condo?

So today I'm joined by Karen McDonald, Community Manager with Brookfield Residential. And what we're going to talk about today is the pros and cons of living in a condo.

So Karen, what are some, I guess let's start off with some pros.

What are some pros in terms of living in a condo?

Karen McDonald:            

Well, you would have your maintenance free your lifestyle of course and single level living.

Karl Yeh:                             

When you say maintenance free, obviously you don't maintain, but there is a price [00:01:00] for that.

Karen McDonald:            

Of course. Yeah.

With anything, that's maintenance free, you would pay condo fees and in that depending on what type of building you live in, it would be your landscaping, all of the snow removal, maintenance fees, reserve fund in the building.

It could include some common utilities as well too.

If you're in a condo, that's pretty typical. It could include some fees if you have amenities in the building as well too. [00:01:30]

So any number of those things would be included in your condo fees.

Karl Yeh:                             

Okay, so let's keep on the track with some pros. So obviously maintenance free living.

Karen McDonald:            

Yes. Yeah, single level living for our apartment style living as well too.

If you're looking for a town home, a lot of them have attached garages.

So having that attached garage parking and the lock and leave aspect of everything, just being able to travel and know that you're secure, your home is secure in that [00:02:00] not open to people knowing you're away with the lawn overgrowing or mail piling up, anything like that.

Karl Yeh:                             

So how about the cons?

Karen McDonald:            

Well, the cons would be, again, very personal, but it is multifamily living.

You're attached to other people.

And so living with other people could cause some issues depending on the type of building and sound attenuation could be something that you'll have to deal with and consider when you're [00:02:30] buying.

So knowing if you're in an apartment, are you on the top floor so you only have people below you and maybe to the sides.

Townhomes , whether you interior home, you have two people on the sides and really knowing how it's built.

Understanding the impact of noise

Karen McDonald:            

So knowing how construction is, what kind of materials are best used for reducing that sound transfer between homes.

And I guess the biggest thing is what is your level [00:03:00] of acceptance of noise?

There's a lot of people because in any kind of multifamily home, even if you're in a single family home and there are zero lot lines, they're very, very small distance apart.

You'd probably hear your neighbor in a single family home, but considering that you're attached and you have shared walls, there's going to be some sound transfer regardless.

Karl Yeh:                             

I remember now I was renting.

Yes, that was the case because I was, I don't know, playing video games or whatever too loud and [00:03:30] my neighbor would always come by and be like, [crosstalk 00:00:03:31], "Hey can you turn that down?" Yeah. Turn it down.

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. I think that that's what you have to determine as well too.

If you live like a mouse and you're very quiet, you like absolute silence, you're going to want to take into consideration where that home is say within a condo. Is it on the top floor? Probably best.

So you have the least amount of neighbors possible. It's just the same as at a town home.

Could be an end home.

Karl Yeh:                             

From a sound perspective, what are some if you [00:04:00] don't like that much noise, you're saying the top floor because I think the only person that you'd probably hear is the people in the bottom.

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. Likely. Yeah.

And probably there's a lot more of the impact noise, the stomping that you would hear in any kind of building as well too, because that deep base kind of is harder to kind of build against.

I'm talking, it's not just wood buildings, it's also concrete buildings. Concrete is porous. It can travel through. Sound can do [00:04:30] that.

So I think it's just determining your level of acceptance of that and what you're willing to accept.

Now considering that it's not always going to be the case because a lot of builders take that into consideration.

They're going to choose the best type of flooring that's good for any kind of reverberating sound. They're going to choose the best kind of insulation in between homes as well too.

So they're going to do their best to reduce that sound transfer.

But it is a factor. It will happen [00:05:00] whether it's somebody that's banging on their walls, maybe hanging pictures, somebody that's playing video games.

Karl Yeh:                              Yeah.

Karen McDonald:            

Forever and has it cranked up. That might be an issue as well too. So take that in consideration that there will be some sound transfer, hopefully very little.

Researching your condo lifestyle 

Karl Yeh:                             

How would you be able to research some of those?

So whether it's sound, whether it's positioned, whether it's where you want to to be in or whether if you like the east or the west or the sun coming [00:05:30] in at a certain direction.

Is there any way you can do a little bit of research on your part before you actually make that decision to purchase?

Karen McDonald:            

Yeah. Well, the internet.

It's filled with all sorts of information that you can research on your own too to know what kind of ... so when you're talking to a builder you can say, "Well, is this vinyl plank flooring or is it laminate flooring? Is it hardwood?" Hardwood has a high reverberation.

Same with laminate.

You're going to hear that echo, right?

And so that's why a lot of the times [00:06:00] vinyl plank is used because it's better for sound attenuation. It has some underlay in it as well too.



Karen McDonald:            

So doing your research, knowing what they're building with and how that's going to affect the noise. There's ample information for you to look up.

Condo customization

Karl Yeh:                             

I think one of the pros and cons that we also want to touch on I guess is the ability to customize. So if you're the type of person who doesn't really want to customize very much, right? You [00:06:30] lock it and leave it kind of thing.

I think a condo would be perfect.

That would be a pro for you, but it could also be a con for somebody who's like, "Well I want to take this wall out or I want to add this room," or anything like that. Right?

Karen McDonald:            

A lot of the times within within condos, townhomes, we have to stick to this framework.

Within this square box, this is what we can do with it. Now, some builders they can move things around.

A lot of at times in big buildings you have support [00:07:00] structure that needs to stay in place.

So that's why builders come up with a number of different floor plans that will hopefully suit what you're looking for so that you don't have to do a lot of moving around with walls or anything.

Some builders are a lot more agreeable to moving walls and doing that kind of thing, but there are some restrictions.

It's not like a custom single family home where you can kind of move things around just as you want to because you're attached to other people again, so that has to affect other people [00:07:30] and safety structure is first and foremost.

Karl Yeh:                             

Perfect. Do you have anything else to add in terms of pros and cons of living in a condo?

Karen McDonald:            

I think it's really, again, it's where you're at in life. Where are you? Where are you living right now? Are you renting? You need to get out and move into something that's your own or you don't need as much space in your single family home.

It's such a personal decision. Just know what you're able to compromise on [00:08:00] and it may not be that much.

You may find something that's exactly what you're looking for, but barring, endless budget and money, you have the world to work with, there'll be some compromise. Just be willing to factor that in as well too.

Question of the day

Karl Yeh:                             

Great. Well, the question of the day I have for you is

Do you live in a condo and why? What are some of the pros and cons that you've found?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Karl Yeh:                             

So if you want to know more about living in a condo, actually buying a [00:08:30] condo, checking out our video playlist here, as well as our playlists on all the things that you need to know ab fees, check about here, and don't forget to subscribe to keep learning from the experts. I'll see you in our next video.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home buying related questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts.  

About Karen McDonald:

This is my 12th year with Brookfield Residential.  I have been involved in 8 sites now with 7 in multi-family and 1 Single Family.  I received my certification as a New Home Sales Professional from PHBIA in 2008. 

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