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Condo Scene: The ABCs of condo living, part five


Is a pool important to you? How do you plan to use it and will the one in the condo you’re considering meet your needs?

In the final part of this A to Z series on buying your new condo, we tackle letters S to Z.


What is the security like in your building? Does it hinder or help? Consider things like: Do you have a concierge? How does visitor parking work, if applicable? Does the building use fobs or keys to admit residents to common areas? This one is important if you are lugging packages, as fobs are easier to use in a pinch.

Status certificate

When you purchase, your lawyer will search the status certificate of the condo to gain insight into the financial status of the condo unit and the corporation. This alerts you to any upcoming changes in condo fees or special assessments (which are less likely on a new condo than a resale one). Also useful information: How much is in the reserve fund should a special assessment be called for?

Swimming pool

Does your condo have a pool and, if so, do you intend to use it? Don’t waste your money paying for amenities you will never use. When thinking condo pools, don’t forget to find out length and depth. If you will be using the pool for laps, a lap pool is ideal. Keep in mind that if there are many children or grandchildren in the building, you may have trouble swimming laps regularly.


What are they? One downside of buying a new condo: If it hasn’t been registered yet, you won’t know the taxes. This is especially problematic if you have a mortgage. At that stage, condo fees are also ballpark figures.


Some areas you might consider upgrading are closet interiors, door hinges and knobs and mouldings. These slight changes can make all the difference in terms of condo feel, but make sure you don’t spend too much if you are planning on reselling in the near future.


What is on the horizon? Consider how your views might be impacted by future construction. This is hard to determine, but one thing that will give you insight into future changes is the existence of parkland. You might want to check with the city to see if lower surrounding buildings can be demolished or if they have historical value.

Window washing

Windows are often considered common elements in condos and as such it is the condo board’s responsibility to clean them. Typically, windows will be cleaned once a year in spring. When this occurs, don’t forget to keep abreast of the schedule and keep your blinds shut, or risk being startled when a strange face pops up outside your living room.

Xylophones (and other instruments)

Do you play? If so, does your condo restrict this? Many condos allow music and other noise until a certain hour of the day. Others might restrict your musicality. If this will be a problem, find out if there is another location where you might practise.


If you have children, you may want a condo with a pool and outdoor play area. Be sure to check out local parks and public spaces surrounding your condo development or choose a condo with plenty of outdoor common spaces where children can play.


What more can be said than going home to a wonderful condo you love. Use your condo sense to create a Zen living environment by following my A to Z’s for condo living.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 27 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Christie’s International Real Estate. Reach her through


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