Many consumers, and some real estate professionals even, do not fully understand what exactly a condo is. For many, when they hear the word 'Condo' they automatically think of rows of crappy old townhouses like these ones shown here. These are actually townhouses and not Lethbridge condos.
These townhouse units may or may not be condos.
Others, when they think of 'Condos', quickly imagine converted apartment buildings.
Many older apartment building have been converted, but not all of them are condos. Lethbridge has many old apartments which have now been converted into condominiums. There are lots of these units available and the prices are low.
So let me help explain to you what a 'Condo' actually is.
Condominiumization is a form of ownership. It is not a style of building. That is the most important thing to remember.
The wiki on condo says:
" A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate (usually of an apartment house) is individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights associated with the individual ownership and controlled by the association of owners that jointly represent ownership of the whole piece."
Condominiums may be apartment style, townhouses, duplex units, 4 plex units, fully detached units, etc. Virtually any type of property may be conodminiumized. The style of the buildings is not relevant.
Condominiumization is a form of ownership in which more than one dwelling shares common space with another. Each individual dwelling has its own private living space, but also has shared space or common area. This common area may be the land, parking lot, banquet room, swimming pool, etc. All of the dwelling units own their proportionate share of the common areas.
For example, if you own a Lethbridge condo unit (the type does not matter) that is one of 40 units in total condominium, you typically own your dwelling space plus 1/40th of the common areas. Collectively, the 40 owners make maintenance and management decisions which affect all 40 owners. Often, they elect a smaller group of owners called a 'condo board' who makes the decisions for the whole group. As an owner, you are entitled to serve on this board, and are also subject to its decisions. It therefore is an important part of the entire condominium.
The condo board establishes a 'condo fee' which it assesses to all owners. This fee pays for the combined maintentance of the common space, common costs such as utilities, and also banks money into a condo reserve fund. This fund is basically a slush fund to prepare for future expenses. Some owners complain about the fee, but it is truly in their interest that this fee is collected and arranged. Fees which are too low or too high can cause problems, and a well run board is important in this matter. In Lethbridge condominiums I have not yet heard of a terribly managed condo board, however it is inevitable that it will occur at some time.
Lethbridge is home to a wide variety of condos. We have townhoues both new and old, apartment style units that are both new and old, specialized Seniors condos in a variety of styles including apartment as well as duplex stle. We even have resort style luxury condos in select locations including Paradise Canyon Lethbridge. If you are thinking of buying a condo, it is extremely important to have a realtor who understands the legalities of a Lethbridge condo. Robert May of Rainbow Realty (403-330-3039) is available for advance consultation to discuss if condo ownership is right for you.