Condo Townhouses for Sale in Kitchener-Waterloo
The Kitchener-Waterloo region is home to plenty of different choices when it comes to the world of home ownership. While most first-time buyers think of a basic detached single-family home as the simplest and best first step, that might not always be the case.
Townhouses are becoming a popular starting point, and condo townhouses in particular are coming into the spotlight in recent years. As an alternative to apartment living or the commitment of purchasing a full home, couples and small families have taken to condo townhouses as a great compromise.
Townhouses are not necessarily one single type of property, but the general idea is a connection of similar structures and likely mirrored floor plans in each unit.
They are most simply understood as multi-floor residences that can share a roof and walls with neighboring matching homes on one or both sides. Unlike apartment buildings, each unit has its own private entrance from the outside.
The entrances will usually open up onto a public road, or next to one. Condominium or “condo” townhouses are defined by the units comprising a full building or complex where each unit’s living space is individually owned.
They usually cost more than apartments, but are less of an expense than semi-detached or detached homes, or owning an entire townhome inside-out.
Because of that middle ground, the affordability makes condo towns easy to get into as a buyer. Condo townhouses have several other positive factors that make them appealing in real estate, too.
Condominium townhouses have a reputation as a wise choice because they tend to appreciate in value, just like all real estate. Their price point also is a big draw as buyers are always in the market for affordable housing.
Investors also target condo townhouses because of how they collect rental income month-to-month since most condos are rented on long-term contracts. It provides both income security and peace of mind since tenants will contractually be sticking around for a while, and so will their payments.
Maybe the biggest positive to condo townhouses is that as an owner, repairs and maintenance are one less hassle to worry about. Condo townhouse complexes are usually managed by a management company (sometimes also referred to as a Homeowner’s Association/HOA).
This is a group of people that own townhouses within that particular building, and as a committee, they take responsibility for the building as a whole. They are tasked with different jobs and responsibilities throughout the property such as upkeep of insurance coverage, maintenance, emergency repairs, building security, and landscaping.
While the HOA covers the footwork, the actual expense is covered through fee collection from tenants. Depending on the makeup of the complex this money might not just be used specifically for maintenance or upkeep, but also for other perks of condo living.
It might give tenants access to shared communal spaces like a courtyard or playground, walking paths, pool, gym, and other amenities that the HOA will be responsible for supervising and maintaining.
So for those residents who prefer not to spend time, effort, or money to shovel snowy walkways, mow lawns, or skim and clean swimming pools, the advantages are clear.
Additionally, condo fees that cover maintenance will save owners from the cost, time, and hassle of basic maintenance and repairs such as carpeting, window seals, damaged roofing, plumbing, and heating, or other ongoing issues that are part and parcel of home ownership.
These fees are typically known as condo fees or association fees, and unlike emergency repairs, you know exactly when the cost is coming and when you’ll have to pay it.
They are either due monthly or annually and are usually calculated through different factors including the size of the unit in square footage, the size of the building complex itself, and amount of amenities that need ongoing attention.
All these positive features of condo townhouses do present a few disadvantages, however. While an upside to a condo townhouse is that unlike apartment living you will have access to a basement and a yard, another downside is that they will both be smaller in size than what would come with a detached or semi-detached single-family home.
There is of course a downside to having an HOA with so much control over everything that happens on the property, as well. Tenants don’t have the ability to make changes or adjustments to the exterior of the unit, since that is the jurisdiction of condo management.
So if a resident feels interested in adding new siding, fencing, or a coat of paint somewhere, they’ll have a few hoops to jump through first. It is strongly recommended that buyers thoroughly understand the regulations and rules of any properties governed by an HOA, so they and their renters know exactly what they’re getting into.
In addition to structural changes on the exterior, there could be many other restrictions for tenants. Those might include parking requirements like dashboard parking passes or specific parking areas, not allowing pets in the unit or restrictions on hours of use for shared spaces.
And even above the Homeowners Association, there can be outside assessments from the Condominium Authority of Ontario that might lead to further changes, expenses, or rules and regulations.
Overall, the condo townhouse presents both positives and negatives. A lack of autonomy in some areas gives less decision-making and flexibility but makes the outstanding cost, stress, and process of those things someone else’s problem to deal with.
Even though HOAs can present some strict rules, they are usually done to protect the long-term viability of the property. For all their ups and downs, condo townhouses are still a great home ownership opportunity in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
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