After spending a month living in a condo (Airbnb) in downtown Vancouver I learned several lessons about what to look for in an urban condo when I eventually decide to move from my single family home.
Here they are:
First thing I would do is check to see how far away is the closest fire/police station and emergency hospital and if I am on an emergency route as sirens at all times of the day and night can get annoying. This is perhaps not as big a concern in modern buildings if they have good windows. Always good to double check what kinds of windows your condo has. We were near both a fire station and hospital which meant lots of sirens at all times of the day and night.
Speaking of noise, you probably don’t want to hear everything going on next door so getting an end unit or making sure the wall are sound proof is a great idea. Living on the top floor also has the benefit that there is nobody walking on your ceiling.
Next, I would look for where is the closest grocery store and is it one that I would be prepared to shop at regularly. Part of the fun of urban condo living is being able to walk as much as possible. In Vancouver, we had an urban IGA store that had everything we needed and the prices were good. We found the walk from our condo to the grocery store wasn’t much longer than the walk for the grocery store from the parking lot in many suburban malls.
I would definitely want to have in-suite laundry facilities. While I did learn to share in kindergarten, sharing washing machines and driers with others is not something I want to do at my age. Having some in suite storage is also a necessity, who want to go down to the parking garage all the time.
I didn’t think having a gym was important to me, but I was wrong. Our converted office to condo building had a gym in the basement that I found very convenient to use almost a daily basis.
Also, I don’t think I want to live right on a busy street even if it is a main street with lots of shops and people. It is just too noisy. Living a block or two away from the main street creates a much better residential experience.
Before you move into a condo or any new home for that matter you need to assess what you like to do most frequently.
If you have dog and walk it daily, being close to dog park is important.
If you like to hang out or work at a café, then being close to a good café is important.
If you like to use the library regularly like my Mom does than being close to a library is most important.
If you like live music than living in a community like Calgary’s Inglewood would make the most sense.
I am a big fan of staying in Airbnbs while on vacation as a means of testing out what you REALLY need before downsizing to a condo, or buying a condo as your first home.
Note: An edited version of this blog was published in the June issue of Condo Living Magazine.