My partner and I want to retire and downsize. Neither of us has ever lived in a condominium. What should we be looking for in terms of amenities?

Downsizing may provide you and your partner with some added cash to help fund your retirement. However, you would be wise to speak with a financial adviser or estate planner to establish a plan that will support your needs and lifestyle preferences.

That you are thinking about amenities tells me that you are off to a good start in identifying the condominium lifestyle that will cater to you and your partner’s specific needs and preferences.

While most people think of a condo as a highrise multi-unit complex, “condo” can also refer to townhouses, semi-detached and even detached homes. The common denominator across all types of condos is that residents share the cost of amenities and upkeep, and may enjoy shared access to uniquely available recreation facilities and services.

You may even consider retirement residences, many of which offer independent suites with optional ad-on hospitality, wellness and nursing services. You may find the assistance of a salesperson seasoned in negotiating such transactions invaluable in making your selection.

Overall, developers and condo facility managers continue to raise the game with amenities and services offered to residents, ranging from housekeeping, valet parking, swimming pools and squash courts to high-end cigar lounges and tea rooms, boutique doggy daycares, community gardens, on-site yoga sanctuaries and everything in between.

Keep in mind that maintenance fees often accompany such lifestyle perks. It is worth giving some hard thought to which amenities you would use before taking on maintenance fees for amenities you may never use. If your preference is to live somewhere a little more low-key, a salesperson can help you find that, too.

I suggest you have an open conversation with your salesperson to provide a good sense of the type of lifestyle you and your partner want. This way, they can provide you with recommendations based on the lifestyle preferences and support requirements that are important to you and fit within your budget.

Once you’ve found a property that interests you, ask your salesperson about any specific rules, restrictions and maintenance inclusions and omissions. The last thing anyone wants is to receive an unexpected bill for a building repair that they thought was covered by their property management.

It’s also important that your salesperson request a status certificate, confirm the property taxes and the accuracy of the maintenance fees. Also have your real estate lawyer review the condominium status certificate, finances and reserve fund prior to finalizing a purchase.

By working closely with a salesperson experienced in working with downsizers like yourselves, I am confident that you will find the perfect setting for your new condo life that suits your retirement goals.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

 

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Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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