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Condo Scene: The ABCs of condo living, part three



You may spend more time in the lobby than you think you will so make sure it meets your approval.

In the third part of this series on things to consider from A to Z when buying your new condo, we tackle letters J to O.

Janitorial services

Find out how often common areas will be vacuumed, particularly if you have allergies or will live in a condo with pets that might shed. Those with a sensitivity to cleaning products may also consider the possibility that cleaning will irritate their skin, eyes or noses.


Yes, kids and condos do mix. If you have a child in a condo that is open concept, you might want to limit how open concept it is. Depending on your condo’s acoustics, it may be challenging for your child to concentrate on homework while others watch TV. Creating hideaway desk areas such as ones that disappear behind curtains or into alcoves can be a great way to contain homework clutter.

If you are not kid-friendly, it’s likely not a big deal, but you can find out who the other residents are and what the average age is. If your condo has a pool, this is probably where you’ll find the kids.


Good fences may make good neighbours, but that saying doesn’t apply to condo living where elevator and mail trips become social events. Instead of staying mum, a simple “hello” and a smile can go a long way. Pets and babies also make great icebreakers.


Do you want that million-dollar view, or will you be happier if you can take the stairs instead of the elevator? There are a variety of things to think about when choosing the floor you will live on. Safety considerations (can someone climb in from outside?), evacuation plans, views, few or slow elevators and price are all things to take into account when deciding if you want to level up.


You think now that you won’t spend any time in the lobby and its esthetic appeal and layout will not affect you at all, but that might not be the case. You will meet guests in the lobby, retrieve your mail and pass through at least a couple of times a day so at least ensure that the design is functional and the space clean. The style and design can affect your resale value.


Do you have one or two? What are your locker’s dimensions and where is it located? These are things to think about. Most likely you will use your locker for year-round storage, possibly switching items out seasonally. Find out if it will be a long haul to your storage locker and determine if its layout will accommodate your needs.


Where do you get the mail? If you are out when a package is delivered, is there a concierge who can collect it for you? For many people, this is not a concern but if you work from home and use a courier service, this might be something to think about.


Your condo corporation might hire a management company. They’re the ones who would deal with complaints, prepare budgets and status certificates and act as an adviser to the board.


Be careful where you buy your condo in terms of building and unit location. If your unit is adjacent to the floor’s garbage chute or elevator, or faces onto a busy street, find out how the unit will be insulated to ensure peace and quiet.

Be cognizant that sound often travels through condo front doors, meaning that even if you can’t hear each other when you’re in your respective units, you can likely overhear things in the corridor through the front door.

Open doors

Be aware of a few common ways strangers can enter a secure building: through open houses hosted by real estate agents; when residents hold the door open for a stranger out of kindness; and when you enter through the parking level garage door.

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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