Lessons as a First-Time Condo Owner

Professionals who work in the condo industry often say they'd never buy a condo.  I was no different. A large part of my day is spent dealing with the problems faced by condos, such as disputes between neighbours, financial concerns, construction defects. I didn't want to spend my time at home dealing with the same issues. It has been about 10 weeks since I moved into my first condo and I've been pleasantly surprised! The community is great. The neighbourhood is wonderful. The condo is well managed. No disputes. No financial concerns. No defects. We love our new home! Being a condo owner has changed my perspective. I've learned a few lessons being an owner that I never would have learned as a condo lawyer. I thought I'd share them with you today.
  1. Sometimes it is easy to violate the rules. I read the documents before I purchased, again before I moved in, and after we moved in. And you know what? I still inadvertently violated a rule within the first week of moving in. Oops! Fortunately, it wasn't a major infraction and it was easily corrected.
  2. Topics that seem trivial are meaningful to the owners. I'll admit it. I've sat in on AGMs and thought "why are they arguing about this?" when the owners are debating something seemingly trivial, like the length of the grass or the watering schedule for the gardens. It never really sunk in before, but the condo is someone's home. The issues aren't trivial to them.
  3. It is easy to be indifferent. I regularly hear about condos without quorum at their AGMs or a vacancy on the board because no one will run. How can owners have so much apathy when it involves their largest asset? Turns out it is easier than I thought. I attended the AGM, but I wasn't about to run for a position on the board. Who has time for that?!? I would have been more inclined if it wasn't so well managed. Maybe directors shouldn't take offense when no one steps up. Maybe it is because they are doing a great job.
It has been an interesting ride so far. I look forward to learning more as I go on this condo adventure. I'd love to hear stories from other first-time condo owners.