With countless benefits, many homebuyers are attracted to condominium living. A condo community is likely to have desirable amenities, well-maintained homes, and strong neighbourhood pride. However, not all residents are informed on how to best take advantage of these value-adds and create a more enjoyable condo living experience. Read on to learn ways you can enhance community living and help your condo be successful.
1. Learn the basic terminology.
One of the keys to having a successful living experience in a managed community is understanding the role of the condominium corporation and the part you play as a resident. Knowing the basic terminology used within a condo will allow you to easily comprehend operations and processes. Here are some terms you should know:
- Condo - Short for Condominium Corporation, it’s an established non-profit entity to operate and maintain a community.
- Condo Board - The board of directors consists of volunteers elected by the owners to act and make decisions on behalf of the condo owners. There are typically four officer positions, including the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
- Governing Documents - A collection of rules, articles of incorporation, and by-laws by which the condo operates.
- Management Company - A third-party company often contracted to help professionally manage the community.
- Condo Manager - The designated person from the management company who works directly with your community and board.
2. Volunteer and get involved.
When homeowners are involved in the community and engage with fellow members, they tend to have a more rewarding experience. As a homeowner, your opinions, participation, and input matter and can even affect board member decisions. If you’re looking for ways to become involved, here are some ideas:
- Attend owner meetings
- Promote and participate in social events
- Volunteer for committees
- Provide your opinion when asked for feedback
- Make suggestions on how to improve the community
- Ask questions and hold board members accountable
3. Learn about fees and condo finances.
Paying fees is part of living in a condo community. These fees enable the corporation to support projects, make improvements, and maintain neighbourhood amenities. However, it’s essential that you understand how your money is being used. Attend owner meetings, stay up to date with your community’s newsletter, and ask questions. The more you know about the corporation’s finances, the more you’ll see how your dues impact the budget.
In addition to monthly dues, other fees that may apply to condo residents include special assessments. Special assessments are extra fees that may be charged to cover budget shortfalls or unexpected expenses, like an increase in insurance or a surprise repair bill for a pool or clubhouse. Understanding these fees and their purpose will help you recognize your condo’s needs and funding priorities and appreciate how your contributions support the community.
4. Understand rules and avoid violations.
To keep the community looking and functioning at its best, a condo community usually has several regulations that residents must abide by. Typically, these rules are designed to support the neighbourhood, increase home values, and make the community a safer, more enjoyable place to live.
As a condo owner, it’s important to understand these rules and expect the board to enforce them equally. Revisit your governing documents, which you should have received upon buying a home, and familiarize yourself with your condo’s rules and community guidelines.
5. Use the amenities.
Many residents agree that amenities are the most significant benefit of being a condo owner. The features of a community meant to promote ease and well-being, amenities are designed to create a more relaxed lifestyle. Plus, your condo fees are what funds and maintains them, so it’s a good idea to make use of these offerings.
Some common amenities may include:
- Pool and jacuzzi
- Fitness center
- Business center
- Community-sponsored events
6. Meet your neighbours.
Connecting with your neighbours has never been more essential. Whether it’s a warm smile or a friendly wave, these gestures are the catalyst for developing meaningful relationships.
When you build a tight-knit community, it leads to fewer conflicts and creates a positive environment, open communication, and a supportive culture. Here are some ways to connect with your neighbours:
- Welcome new homeowners—a simple hello can go a long way!
- Attend community events together
- Chat at the mailbox
- Ask about changes or additions to your neighbour’s yard
- Share friendly seasonal gifts or goodies
7. Get to know board members and communicate with them.
Get to know the members of your elected board of directors. Reach out to the designated leaders of the community, directly if you have questions, suggestions, or simply want to make the most of your condo living experience. Their names and contact information might be found in a welcome packet, on the condo website, or in a community newsletter.
Your board of directors works on your behalf and strive to improve the quality of living for all residents. They want to hear from you. Take the time to connect with them and offer insight that may help create a supportive homeowner-board relationship. When the board and residents work together, everyone wins.
Living in a Condo: What’s Myth Versus Fact?
Both residents new to condo living and established homeowners can benefit from reading our article, “Living in a Condo: What’s Myth Versus Fact?” In it, you’ll learn some of the most common misconceptions about condo living and the realities that sometimes get overlooked.