by Denis Doucet
What you’ll learn
Are your retirement days just around the corner? Do you own a home with a mortgage that is almost completely paid off? Are you fed up of mowing the lawn each weekend and dedicating hours to repairing fences, plumbing and the patio? Maybe a condo is right for you!
However, living in a condo also comes with responsibilities and may not be for everyone. The sheer list of rules in certain condominium complexes keep many potential buyers at bay.
If you are about to retire, you probably want to have more time to yourself and less on your house’s upkeep. You may be considering downsizing to a smaller home—or even a condo. However, with condos, all those great benefits, such as an indoor pool, elevators, garbage chutes, hallway maintenance and snow removal, come at a price. This means that although you paid off your condo thanks to the money you made off the sale of your house, you still have to pay condo fees.
Apart from minimal maintenance, condo life also has many other advantages, such as safety. Most condo buildings have surveillance systems or building access cards. This is particularly reassuring for people living alone or who travel extensively throughout the year.
It is easier to establish and maintain a budget when you live in a condo; unexpected expenses tend to happen less and all condo owners share common costs. Of course, living in a condo does not entirely eliminate unpleasant surprises, but it does afford security. Moreover, a condo costs less to heat or air condition than a house.
Have you decided you want to live in a condo? Now, all you have to do is decide if you want to buy or rent. The first reflex for people who have owned houses all their lives is to buy. It’s understandable: you want to remain the owner of your home.
However, when choosing to buy or rent, remember that it’s more a question of freedom and level of responsibility—not money. When you rent, you have more freedom. Unexpected and recurring costs are taken care of by the owner. When you own a condo, on the other hand, you have more control over your home. If you have been an owner all your life, it may be difficult for you to rent again and wait after the owner for all of your requests.
If you decide to buy, don’t forget that even though your condo will increase in value over time, you are putting the brakes on your equity. However, if the sale of your house generated a lot more money than the price of your condo, this shouldn’t be an issue.
As you can see, you have to take into account several factors before making your decision. There is no one right answer. Think about your needs and objectives in life. Have a happy retirement!