BY MARILYN WILSON, POSTMEDIA NEWS April 12, 2014
While condo units are often used as primary homes, they can also be investments or vacation spots. Let’s take a look at uses for the extra condo, by which I mean a unit that is not your primary residence, but rather one that has a secondary function.
The Custom Condo: Many people move from larger homes to condos as a way of changing their lifestyles. Perhaps they intend to downsize or simply want to forgo shovelling snow. They may even want to travel more often and keep a condo to make this an easier feat.
Buyers shopping in new developments may choose to purchase two units and combine them to expand their square footage. This is a possible custom upgrade when purchasing a condo in a future development – like opting for granite over linoleum, but on a larger scale.
If you are looking at the penthouse, you can also find out if the developer can increase the size vertically in addition to horizontally by increasing your ceiling height. Such are the advantages of purchasing a pre-construction condo. The Part-Time Condo: A lot of people choose to move or travel more after their children have left the roost. Condo living is especially useful if you intend to spend winters in a warmer climate. It enables you to keep a low-maintenance space where you can leave your things out and ready for your return.
Of course, someone in this situation can also purchase a time share. However, this necessitates storing things when out of town, adding expense and hassle.
Another option is to purchase a room in a condo hotel suite. This means owning a hotel room that you yourself can use, usually for a limited time throughout the year.
Keeping a part-time condo can also be especially useful if you plan on returning to a destination again and again.
In a sense, it becomes your cottage, or second dwelling. For example, I have clients who recently moved abroad but are interested in keeping a condo in Ottawa. This is simply because they know they will return often to visit friends here.
When determining if you should purchase a condo as a second residence, consider the costs of hotels and – if you plan to rent a car or bring your own – public parking. ¦¦The Investment Condo: Perhaps you are interested in downsizing at a later date or simply want an investment with a monthly payout (through rental income). If so, then the investment condo may be a wise decision for you.
If you intend to move to a certain city but have not spent a ton of time living there as a local, you might consider purchasing a second home there rather than going all out with a pricey and disruptive move.
To make this more equitable in the short term, you can rent out the unit by week (as a vacation rental) or with a long-term lease. Naturally, you can also do this with a condo unit closer to home.
Whether your condo is your primary residence or a second home, it can bring you into an easier, more convenient way of living or travelling. Map out the condo scene in Canada and beyond using these creative ways of incorporating the condo lifestyle into your life.
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