What is a Condominium?

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A condominium, often abbreviated as "condo," is a type of real estate ownership that combines elements of both individual ownership and shared ownership. In a condominium, individual units within a building or complex are privately owned by the occupants, while common areas and facilities are owned and managed collectively by the condominium association or homeowners' association.

Most people consider condominiums to be apartment style suites but condominiums can also be townhomes, single family homes, warehouses and professional offices.

Key Features of a Condominium

Individual Ownership: Condo owners have legal ownership of their specific unit or apartment. They can typically sell, rent, or mortgage their unit.

Shared Common Areas: Common areas such as hallways, lobbies, swimming pools, gyms, parking lots and other facilities are shared among all the unit owners and are maintained and managed by the condominium association.

Condo Association: The condominium association is typically governed by a board of unit owners, who are responsible for making decisions about the common areas, setting rules and regulations for the community, and collecting fees (often referred to as condo fees or association dues) from individual unit owners to cover maintenance and repairs.

Rules and Regulations: Condominiums often have specific rules and regulations that residents must adhere to, covering matters like noise levels, pet policies, and exterior appearance, to ensure a harmonious living environment.

Maintenance and Repairs: The condo association is responsible for maintaining and repairing common areas and structures, while individual owners are responsible for the maintenance of their own units.

Fees: Unit owners pay monthly or annual fees to the condo association, which are used to cover the costs of maintenance, repairs, insurance and other shared expenses.

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Condominiums are popular in urban areas and can offer a more affordable way to own a home while still benefiting from shared amenities and services. Condo living can be an attractive option for individuals or families who want the benefits of homeownership without the full responsibility of maintaining common areas and facilities.

It's essential for potential condo buyers to understand the rules, fees, and governance structure of the condominium association before making a purchase, as these can vary from one condominium to another. When you purchase a condominium you are buying a portion of the assets of that condominium corporation as well as a portion of the liabilities so it is critically important to determine what liabilities are or may become due. Buyers of condominiums in Edmonton should hire a professional to review a complete package of condominium documents including financial statements, meeting minutes, bylaws and more to determine the overall health of the structures and financials of the corporation. These documents are normally provided by the condo seller as a condition of the offer to purchase.

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