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Linda Palfi
CNC Properties
47033 Creekside, Calgary, Alberta
P: 403-998-7732
F: 403-592-8002

Condo types: from apartments to airports!


Contrary to popular belief, a condo has nothing to do with an apartment. Condominium describes how a home or other property is owned, not what kind of property it is. If an apartment is rented, it's simply an apartment. If you own it, it's an apartment-style condominium.


In fact, condominium as an ownership mechanism has been extended to industrial bays, to office suites, to entire floors of commercial buildings and even to airport hangars and homes built alongside the airplanes! It just means that you personally own a space-of land or within a building-and jointly own common property with others. In one case the common property includes an apartment building hallway, while next door it includes a driveway to bungalow homes. And out of town the common property could be a jointly-owned airport runway.


The key point is that condominium ownership has democratized ownership of property, making it possible for more people to own a home, a place of business or a recreational asset, than was previously possible. And with that ownership come the entrepreneurial possibilities to make a living, to own a home rather than to rent it, and to reap the rewards of increasing value over time.


To avoid confusion, we should use the term "condo" only with a description of what it is we actually own. I myself live in a condo apartment, while my brother lives in a condo townhouse. Your mom and dad might live in a condo villa, and your uncle may live in a condo single-family home within a bare-land condo development that includes condo airplane hangars and a runway that is shared.


In housing, we're all pretty clear on condo apartments. You own the space within the suite, while you share ownership of the building structure, the exterior cladding, the mechanical systems and the land. Townhouses are usually the same, ensuring that exterior maintenance is consistent. Be wary of "no condo fees" promotions. A rare few townhouse developments are not organized as condominiums, so every owner can do whatever he wants. Can you imagine what such places might look like in 10 years? A yellow one next to a purple one next to a red one?


Retirement villas are often built as bare-land condominiums. In other words, you privately own the building lot and the entire home on it, both inside the living unit and its outside, but you agree with all the owners to collectively maintain all building exteriors and the private yards, as well as the common, property. This saves money and creates a consistent appearance throughout the development.


Often built as duplexes, but also as larger groupings, this "villa" term describes a bungalow-style home that features all the needed facilities on the main level, including the parking. It commonly appeals to seniors who no longer want to deal with stairs, although most villas offer an unfinished basement, as well.


So don't tell people that you own "a condo", as that alone means little. Tell them you own a condo apartment, a condo villa or a bare-land condominium single-family house. Then again, you can tell them you made so much money in your business in a condo industrial bay that you can afford to fly in from your condo home and hanger beside your common-property condo airport runway!

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