- Is exterior décor important to you? If so, keep in mind condo rules may limit your ability to add decorative touches such as painting, changing your door or using certain types of window coverings.
- Do you have a pet? Many condos have by-laws which state owners can't have animals.
- Does outdoor dining play a big role in your summer plans? Many condos have outlawed the use of barbeques and have strict rules about patio furniture.
- Do you value your independence? A part of condominium living is managing the business of the condominium. Although mostly dealt with by a board with minimum involvement of the owners, the Board may make decisions that affect the owners' lifestyle or pocketbook.
"While condominiums are a great alternative to detached houses for many homebuyers, lifestyle needs are an important aspect to consider," says Leclair. "Some people may prefer the low-maintenance style of living, but the restrictions it imposes may not suit everyone. Be sure to review the fine-print with your lawyer."
A useful resource for homebuyers is the TitlePLUS Real Simple Real Estate Guide, a website that provides information on what lawyers do and how to avoid fraud, as well as mortgage calculators, a locate-a-lawyer feature and other tools. It is available for free at http://www.titleplus.ca/.