Buying a Condo by the Numbers: What do condo fees actually cover?

Monthly condo fees are paid above and beyond your purchase price, and are unique to the condo buying market. Simply put, condo fees cover the services and utilities of the condo building on a macro level, not just your unit. The amount can vary between condo corporations, as there is no standard rate in the Canadian condo industry. But generally, maintenance fees are calculated per square foot of the condo space, so the monthly costs depend on the size of the unit. Costs can also vary based on what utilities and amenities are available to residents. For example, a condo that only has a weight room should have lower maintenance fees than a condo that includes a gym, swimming pool, sauna, barbecue area, screening room, party room and meeting rooms. These amenities all require maintenance and staff to run them.

Most developments’ condo fees also cover utilities such as water and waste services. Some buildings even include heat, electricity, cable and Wi-Fi. A few other things that are covered that you may not have considered are the exterior building maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, and all common elements shared by residents.

What do monthly condo fees cover? Here’s a breakdown of common ways your maintenance fees are invested:

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What is a Studio Apartment?

f you are single and looking for the ideal place to call home, a studio apartment might be the perfect option for you. Also known as bachelor apartments or less commonly, efficiency apartments, these little units provide everything you need in a living area. Here is an overview of what a studio apartment is and the pros and cons of studio life.

What is a Studio Apartment?

The studio apartment offers the ultimate in urban spaces. It could even be the inspiration for the tiny house movement. It provides everything you need in one large room that is akin to the urban loft. You live, eat, and sleep in one central area with a separate room found where it’s needed – the bathroom. Your living room, bedroom, and kitchen area provide a cozy and practical living space ideal for today’s downsizing movement. (more…)

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Smart Ways to Spend Your Income Tax Refund

You’ve filed your taxes (or you’re planning to very soon) and you’re expecting an income tax refund. To some, this perceived windfall can be a sign to go on a spending binge.

According to Canada Revenue Agency, the average income tax refund for the 2018 tax year to date is $1,735 – about the cost of an all-inclusive vacation for one in the sunny south, a few nice dinners out, or a very decent shopping spree.

If you’re getting an income tax return, that means you’ve overpaid taxes and you’re simply getting some of that back. Stop treating your tax refund as “extra” cash. Here are some smart ways to put that tax refund to work.

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Buying a Condo by the Numbers: How to buy and finance your condo

These days, condominiums are an affordable alternative to purchasing a single-family home. As real estate prices continue to rise in many Canadian markets, purchasing a lower-priced condo makes for an attractive choice to those pursuing home ownership (perhaps, even for the first time). But buying a condo comes with its fair share of complexities just as single-family home ownership does! We’re sure you’ve heard all the stories – bidding wars, condo fees, closing costs, maintenance fees – there’s an awful lot to wrap your head around.

However, we strongly believe that when it comes to real estate, knowledge really is power. If you’re prepared and armed with insider know-how, you’ll enter the condo market a few giant leaps ahead.

First things first: know where your money is going. When you buy a condominium unit, you:

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The Difference Between Condos and Apartments

Understanding the difference between condos and apartments is important for both buyers and renters. The main difference between the two is that you can buy a condo, whereas an apartment is available strictly for rent. However, there is more to it than that. If you are asking yourself, “what is the difference between a condo and an apartment?” we’ve got all the answers here.   (more…)

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What Are Reverse Mortgages

Financing your home is probably one of the least fun aspects of home ownership. Nevertheless, it’s essential. And when it comes to a reverse mortgage, things get a little more interesting. With a reverse mortgage, you can take advantage of the value of your home without selling it. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Before you call your bank, here are all the facts about how reverse mortgages work. (more…)

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How to Create a Jungle Playroom Fit for a King-To-Be (360-Video Tour)

When designing Lauren and Amanda’s kids room, we kept the long-term needs of the family in mind and created a space that can grow and adapt as they do.Most of the fun elements in this space come in the form of a painted mountain motif, decor and accessories, all lower-investment items that are easy to swap out. Instead, we spent the budget on the more permanent features such as the floors, pot lighting and usable storage. The bench can be used for housing toys now, and perhaps movies later as the space morphs into a den or teen hangout. But for now, with soft blues, turquoise and plenty of plush surfaces and toys, it’s a jungle of variety fit for a king-to-be.

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Scott McGillivray’s 10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Pre-Construction

Scott McGillivray is a real estate expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.

Thinking of buying a pre-construction home? Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before taking the plunge. From the developer’s history to locking in mortgage rates, here are some of my top things you need to know before buying (and falling in love with) a pre-construction property. (more…)

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