Pros and Cons of Condominium Ownership

Living in a condominium in Edmonton offers a sense of community living. Whether you are taking out the trash, working out in the exercise room, relaxing in the lobby or picking up your mail, there will be ample opportunities to engage with your neighbours.

Edmonton Condominiums Image

Pros of Condominium Ownership

No Maintenance. The biggest benefits of condo living are that other people do the maintenance for you. They cut the grass, maintain the common areas including elevators, amenities, windows, doors, and shingles No grass to mow or snow to shovel with the exception of detached condos and townhouse style condominiums.

Cost. Condominiums are less expensive than buying a comparable house in Edmonton. Obviously, the cost of a condo versus the cost of a house depends on the location. Property values in Edmonton vary in each neighbourhood. But typically, you'll spend less on a condo, " Maintaining a single-family house can be expensive. It is your responsibility to keep your home in living standard conditions. When purchasing the first home, going brand new is a smart choice.

Security. Most apartment condos offer gated or locked entries, with special keys or electronic fobs. If you live alone, or security is a concern for you, this can be a major perk. In addition, you’re living in close proximity to other people and in an emergency, this will be helpful.

Amenities. Exercise rooms, Guest suites, swimming pools, underground parking, and courtyards. Many condo communities offer residents amenities that are out of reach for the average homeowner.

Cons of Condominium Ownership

Homeowners Association Fees. Of course, there is a few to live in a condominium. It costs money to maintain a large building. When you buy a condo, you essentially become a business partner in that community. You pay a condominium fee each month (on top of your mortgage) which goes towards the upkeep of the property, as well as future investments. This fee can vary from a few hundred dollars upwards. It will depend on the current condition of the complex, how well the monies have been managed and future expenses.

Less Privacy. You will be meeting your neighbours. Some condominium complexes in Edmonton offer in-house managers and know everyone by name. Depending on how well your complex is built, your neighbour may even know what time you get home every day. Expect to have someone looking at you when you are out on your balcony or sitting in the front yard. Socialites love this!

Less Freedom. Depending on your condominium complex, you may or may not be allowed to have pets, have Bar-be-ques on the balcony, change the flooring to hardwood, have guests stay for long periods of time or rent out your unit. Read the by-laws before purchasing.

Levies and Special Assessments: In Edmonton, Condos have been hit hard by the recession, the oversupply and there are plenty of issues with a few Edmonton condominiums, whereas some builders missed adding building materials during construction, such as water vapours. Also as more people struggle to make ends meet, more condo owners are dropping out of paying their condo fees. This can increase the cost of what you will be paying each month.

Things to inquire on prior to purchasing a condominium

  • Reserve Fund Study
  • Are condo fees reasonable
  • Bi-laws - are you allowed pets?
  • Financials - Is the complex in the red
  • Professionally or Self Managed
  • AGM - Annual General Meeting
  • Any upcoming special assessment

Today, several banks will request to review these documents prior to releasing your financing. Also, have your lawyer review these documents if you are not comfortable with the lingo.

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Should I get title insurance in place of a real property report?

If possible, it is still best to have a current Real Property Report with compliance when buying or selling a home to ensure all property buildings are within the municipality guidelines. If an RPR is not an option, title insurance is a good substitute.

Alberta Real Property Reports Image

Title insurance without a Real Property Report and compliance is acceptable to most major mortgage lenders and will often provide coverage for the lender for known defects. Unlike other insurance products, there is only one premium paid at the time of closing which provides coverage to the owner throughout their ownership of the property. It also offers a wide range of protection for issues that are not covered by an RPR and compliance.

Alberta Real Estate Title Insurance Image

Title Insurance Benefits include

  • Intervening registrations – Anything registered on the title between the time the lawyer submits to the Land Titles Office and the time of actual registration.
  • Unknown Liens, encumbrances, tax arrears or defects in the title to a property.
  • Unknown special assessments on condos that were implemented prior to closing.
  • If an RPR or compliance is not obtained, it covers any defects that would have been revealed by an accurate up-to-date RPR and compliance.
  • The forced removal of an existing structure with the exception of a boundary wall or fence where there is only limited coverage
  • Forced compliance with work orders or deficiencies on an existing building permit.
  • Loss of priority due to matters such as construction liens, agreements on a title, and other mortgages.
  • Another party claims an interest in the property.
  • Protection against title defects or encumbrances that were unknown or undiscovered at the time of closing.
  • Protection against identity theft, mortgage fraud, and fraud against the title.
  • Cost savings. Typically, the cost for title insurance is far less than the cost of an RPR and compliance and is available on short notice

Drawbacks of Title Insurance

  • It is an insurance product. This means when an issue arises, it may not be covered by the policy and if there is coverage the insurer can decide the method used to solve the issue which may not be the preferred choice of the insured party.
  • There is a lack of disclosure and certainty, especially for the buyer, at the time of closing. If an issue is discovered later, it is more difficult to pursue the seller for a fix after closing.
  • There is no coverage for known defects, except for some coverage for the lender only.
  • There must be some form of enforcement or government action to trigger coverage in most cases.  For example, the previous owner did renovations that do not meet the requirements of the building permit or development permit. The title insurance will only pay for the cost to fix these deficiencies if there is some form of enforcement and not simply due to the deficiencies.
  • It does not guarantee that all structures will remain in the current state. For example, if the municipality mandates the alteration or destruction of a certain structure, the title insurance company may pay for the cost of appealing that decision however they cannot guarantee a favourable result.
  • The coverage of Title Insurance is for the buyer only (not the seller).
  • If a buyer or their lawyer purchases a lender only policy that is sufficient to close the deal however the buyer still has no title insurance protection. /li>
  • There is no specific protection or coverage for the seller. If a claim is made and the title insurance company determines it is the seller who created the deficiency, the title insurance company can pursue the seller for recovery of the costs they have paid.
  • In most instances, title insurance only defers the need to deal with a particular issue. It does not solve it. The issues will still be there when the property is resold.
  • Title insurance cannot be passed onto a new owner. Every new owner must purchase their own policy.


For more information on real property reports and the effects on the resale of your residential dwellings and a free Edmonton Home Evaluation, contact one of Remax Elite REALTORS®

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Communities for Edmonton Dog Lovers

Edmonton has over 40 dog park and off-leash areas where your best friend can run and play without having you on the other end of the leash. You too can get physical and emotional benefits from exercise and by socializing with other dog owners. 



My top 3 places to live for Edmonton dog owners are near


  • Buena Vista - Great Meadow: A large off-leash dog park near the valley zoo, north of Laurier Park and south of Melton Ravine in the Glenora area. The Buena Vista Dog Park features an open off-leash area, access to the river valley for those dogs who love to swim, park benches, ample parking and river valley trails with maps for walking and cycling. Note* No smoking or vaping tobacco or cannabis in this park.
  • Hermitage Point South located between 129 Avenue and 137 Avenue, 22 Street and the River Valley in northeast Edmonton. It features plenty of natural walking trails, picnic sites, Ambassador, portable toilets, seasonal summer fishing and a large off-leash dog area. Our Edmonton Ambassadors at the Hermitage Park Dog Park help improve the quality of our off-leash areas, and enhance the user experience for human and canine visitors by encouraging positive interactions, and creating a culture of community at the park. Homes near the Hermitage Point South Dog Park are very reasonably priced. Check them out!
  • Terwillegar Dog Park in southwest Edmonton accessible via Rabbit Hill in the Riverbend District. Although the Terwillegar Dog Park is a multi-use area, it is most popular for pet lovers with larger canines. This park also has a 262-metre-long footbridge that links the park to Oleskiw River Valley Park on the north side of the river, perfect for long strolls with your best friend.
For other dog parks near you, visit Edmonton's off-leash dog parks
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CAN YOU AFFORD TO SELL YOUR HOME

The Edmonton real estate market is soft and house prices have been dormat for the last decade. Before you sell your home, do your homework and estimate your closing costs to ensure you have enough money to make your move. There is nothing worse than sitting with your lawyer and not having enough funds to close your sale.

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When a home is sold, the seller incurs various closing costs in addition to paying out the remaining balance on their mortgage and payout penalties. Typical closing costs for a seller may include any property taxes which are in arrears, encumbrances, the cost of a real property report with compliance and/or title insurance, any permits which were not obtained earlier, real estate commissions, any provincial, GST revenue, agricultural or business taxes, liens and legal fees. If the property is a condominium, the seller may also have costs of condominium documents, unpaid condo fees, levies and the estoppel certificate. When selling a house, the seller's costs vary from a few thousand to several thousand.

Since our Edmonton economy is not in the best shape and buyers have become nervous about making large purchases, there are several ways to maximize the value in your home without major renovations including staging and a little bit of home maintance. Pricing your home correctly in todays Edmonton Real estate market is crucial and timing is also a factor. Read more on your community absorption rate.

If you are not sure if you have enough equity in your home, contact one of our real estate experts for a free home evaluation.

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How real estate agents help home buyers when buying

There are several reasons why buyers prefer to work with real estate agents when buying a home, even when a buyer has sold their existing home via "For Sale by Owner". The few of these reasons include knowledge of the ever-changing markets, expertise in both negotiations and communities, experience and exclusive real estate tools.

Great Edmonton Real Estate Agents Image

A large portion of Canadian Real Estate Agents has earned their ABR (Accredited Buyers Representation) designation, which means, these REALTORS® have completed the education needed to service buyers with a higher standard. REALTORS® who are representing buyers expect to get paid for their services at some point in time. It is usually within a few weeks of the buyer taking possession of their new home. In the province of Alberta and to ensure real estate agents' are compensated for their services, a mandated agreement by RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta) will need to be signed. It explains how much, the term of the agreement, what services will be provided and other relevant information.

If you have questions - ASK. Never sign anything you do not fully understand. Real Estate Agents deal with forms on a daily basis, and most of us can explain listing and purchase agreements without even looking at them. A good REALTOR® should have gone through each agreement and address questions or concerns you may have had. Near the bottom of both the Buyers Agreement and Sellers Agreement, there is an acknowledgement clause prior to signature placement. In an Exclusive Buyer Representative Agreement, it states...

  • 14.1 You acknowledge that:
  • (a) you have read this agreement.
  • (b) you have received and read the Guide.
  • (c) this agreement creates a sole agency relationship with us, as the Guide describes.
  • (d) you had the opportunity to get independent advice from a lawyer before signing this agreement.
  • (e) this agreement accurately sets out what we and you agree to.

Which means you can obtain legal prior to signing or you may want to take the agreement home to read over more thoroughly. These agreements are not rocket science, but knowing what you are signing is important.

  • REAL ESTATE TIP#1: "The Guide" is referring to the Consumer Relation Guide which explains how the professional relationship including fiduciary duties and the real estate agency will interact with each other.
  • REAL ESTATE TIP#2: Buyers Real Estate Agents, normally do not charge an extra fee above what is offered by a seller, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Have a real estate question? We are here to help. Contact us anytime

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