For many people the word 'condo' means an apartment. But as development styles have evolved, the term condo or condominium can refer to any kind of property including detached homes, attached homes such as duplexes and townhomes and the typical apartment in Calgary. A condominium is a term that refers to legal ownership, not property style. Condominium ownership combines individual ownership of a living unit with shared ownership of the common property and shared participation in the condominium corporation.
Over the years some common condo examples include a complex of semi-detached duplexes such as villas or townhomes. Each owner owns their unit but shares common property such as the back greenspace, clubhouse, street, snow and lawn maintenance and other services. Often exterior maintenance is also part of the responsibility of the condo corporation. This concept appeals to those that enjoy owning their own home with the benefits of a lock and leave lifestyle without worrying who will cut the grass.
Another example is a street or community development where a number of detached homes are developed under a bareland condo structure. Each owner owns their home (their unit) and land, but share common property such as the road, snow maintenance, amenities, security, etc. All of the units (detached homes) form a condo corporation with set rules, responsibilities and condo fees.
A condominium structure, whether apartment, townhouse, duplex or detached dwelling, appeals to many. It is important to understand that when you purchase a condo that you purchase a unit and also a portion of the responsibility of the condo corporation. The value of similar units between different condo corporations can differ substantially even if the units seem similar due to the management and financial stability of the condo corporation.
As part of purchasing a condo, there are additional due diligence steps a buyer should take including a review of the condo documents.