BY MARILYN WILSON, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN NOVEMBER 16, 2012
Since I’ve been writing this column, I’ve had lots of people asking me questions about various aspects of condo living. So I’ve put together this FAQ — some of them are questions that are, in fact, frequently asked and others just make good condo sense.
THE INFERNAL DIN
Q:I can’t seem to sleep because of the constant humming noise coming from one of the vents in my bathroom. I have asked the condo corporation to look at this and they say they cannot find anything. What can I do?
A:Any kind of repetitive noise like humming (or even the age-old dripping tap) can be a nuisance. Usually you’ll forget about it during the day when there are other sounds likes phones ringing but, every night, there it is like an old friend.
I suggest using your iPhone or some other device to record the noise that bothers you. Then, place a piece of masking tape or a sticky note on the place the noise seems to be coming from. This saves a great deal of guessing time for an inspector. It may also help to ask around and find out if your neighbours have the same problem.
Q:There is a really strong smell of chemical cleaner in the elevator and the hallway that leads to our condo unit. I am allergic to these products so they especially bother me, however, my friends have noticed this, too.
A:The first step to solving this problem is doing your homework. Ask the cleaning crew what products they use. Once you’ve figured this out, you can approach the condo corporation and ask them if they have approved these products. If not, give them a list of environmentally safe products to put them on the right scent.
THE LONG-TERM VISITOR
Q:We bought our condo so that we can travel. Our friend will be staying in our condo during our six-month vacation. While we are thrilled to have a live-in house sitter, there is one catch: We only have one parking spot and are leaving our car behind. How do we get around the condo corp. charging us for daily parking?
A:I suggest you try to find another snow bird who has also flown the coop. If so, try to rent his or her parking spot for six months. Otherwise, you might need to store your vehicle to free up your spot for your guest. One place you can try is Premium Vehicle Storage (pvsottawa.com).
THE INCONVENIENCED TENANT
Q:They found a leak in the condo above us and intend to make repairs through our kitchen ceiling. This means we cannot use the kitchen for a minimum of three to five weeks. Does this merit compensation for the inconvenience?
A:Repairs can be very irritating, especially to condos. Sometimes you can move into a new building and flaws can be found soon after, costing you time, money and sleepless mornings of drilling. If you find yourself in a bind like this, ask your insurance agent about your coverage. If this is not covered in your own insurance policy, perhaps it is covered under the condo corporation’s insurance, which is a separate policy.
Q:We purchased a pre-sale condo and during the winter months it is very cold by the windows. We chose the unit for the gorgeous views afforded by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, however, we cannot sit near the windows in winter and this makes our condo feel much smaller. We are disappointed as we thought the heat would be consistently distributed throughout the unit. What should we do?
A:There is nothing like a draft in winter. But don’t worry; there are ways to heat up your unit. California shutters, curtains, drapes, panels or Hunter Douglas blinds that operate from floor-to-ceiling can help curb the chill. You can also see if the heat vents may be redirected or adjusted to solve the problem.
SUNNY SIDE UP
Q:Is the south side of a building too hot? I like the light but I do not want the temperature to always be off in the condo. What is the best side to choose in a pre-sale condo?
A:Who doesn’t like a bright, sun-filled kitchen to brunch in? Sounds great, but you don’t want to be able to cook an egg on the counter due to copious amounts of heat. Sun-filled condos are desirable but sometimes the sun is just too strong and condos heat up. There is no answer to this except that the decision is based on personal choice. Check out the views, the light and plan to invest in special window treatments if required. You can always adjust the sun entering your space, however, some condos have no sun so make sure you think about the natural light source entering your condo before you sign on the dotted line.
Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 23 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through dreamproperties.com or follow her on Twitter@marilyn_wilson.
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