This is a re-issue of a blog-entry I did back in March 2008. With condos in high demand, I thought it might be a good time to re-issue an old favorite.
Condominiums have been steadily gaining in popularity in the past few years in Winnipeg. At least part of this is due to the fact that while buyers have a tough time finding a nice house under $150,000, condos are still available in this price range.
Whether you are a first-time home buyer, or an 'empty-nester', there is a condo which will fit your needs. Here is an overview of available choices and the differences between them:
Apartment-style: These are usually 3 stories tall or more, and are defined by having one general entrance way leading to a lobby or hallways, from where the individual suites branch off. Taller condos are most often built with concrete floors, which aids in the noise-reduction. Ideally, you would want a balcony so you can sit outside and have some fresh air. Most have window a/c units, but the nicer, more expensive ones have central air. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all of them have in-suite laundry, which is a nice option to have. They usually come with a parking spot, with underground spots commanding a higher price. These types of condos can sometimes still be found around the $100,000 mark for a 1-bedroom, and $125,000 and up for a 2 BR, depending on the options. Luxury condos of 1400 sq ft and more can run significantly more, depending on location.
Townhouse-style: These are usually one and 2 story buildings, with each unit having its own entrance. Most of these are wooden-frame construction, the downside being that you could hear your neighbor's stereo (or amorous escapades). These normally have an outdoor parking stall, window a/c and usually have in-suite laundry. An average 2 BR of about 900 sq feet will run you around $130,000, again depending on location.
Side-by-sides: Most of these are of newer construction, and can range in price and size. Being newer buildings (usually built within the past 10 years), they also come with more options, such as c/air, attached garages, full basements and other amenities. Privacy is increased in that you only share one wall with a neighbor, and most of the newer ones have fairly good sound insulation between the walls. Prices range from around $200,000 and up.
Detached Condos: These are what I call the 'best of both worlds". Essentially they are stand-alone buildings, completely detached, but offering all the benefits of condo-living. You have your own home, usually with all the options including attached garages etc, but no yard-work, snow-shoveling or other maintenance required. These types of condos are rare, and therefore pricey. They usually start around the $250,000 mark and run into the half-million dollar range.
Well, there we have the basic types and styles. I hope you enjoyed, and will come back in a couple of days for Part 2, which will go into the legalities, restrictions and benefits of owning a condo, along with explanations on "Reserve Fund", "Condo Fee Inclusions" and "By-Laws" of condos.
If you have any questions along the way, please don't hesitate to comment here.
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