A Few Concepts That Will Help You Get an Awesome Home when Moving to Montreal
Every year, Montreal receives thousands of new international students, young professionals, families and business people who move to this city to start a new life or who will stay here for long periods of time. Most of the newcomers to Canada don’t understand some basic but useful terms when it comes to getting their first place to live.
Whether it is a student dorm, a house, an apartment or a condo in Montreal, you will need to become familiar with some of the characteristics of the local real estate market.
What’s the difference between apartment and condo? In some countries there is no difference between these terms, because they usedto rent apartments in high rise buildings in their places of origin. In Montreal, when you refer to an apartment, it means that the entire building (regardless of the number of floors and units) is rented out to tenants, who pay their rent to either a unique building owner or a real estate administration agency.
Most of these buildings are over 30 years old and they may have been refurbished a couple of times. Unfortunately, the quality of these structures will depend on the landlord’s ability to maintain these properties up to date.
A positive aspect about these rental units is that most people in Montreal live in apartments and they are not responsible for any repair costs or property taxes.
On the other hand, when people talk about condos in Montreal, they are referring to buildings that have been built in the past 5 to 10 years or have been completely refurbished to sell all its units to new owners. Most of the people living in condos are the owners of the property, and they are responsible for taxes, condo fees, and other related expenses.
Some owners decide to rent their condos to individuals, in which case they will rent through a property management agency or a realtor. This type of housing deal is more personalized, and you have a better chance to negotiate your contract.
Other benefits of living in a condo include access to premium facilities, such as indoor pools, gym, underground access to supermarkets or drugstores, community patios or even have their own patio to entertain your loved ones. The newer the building, the more modern the facilities and the comfort, because these units are adapted to the latest energy saving regulations to include sound proof and weather insulation windows, heated bathroom floors, washer and drier in each unit, and as many other indulgences as your budget allows.
One thing these two modalities have in common is the denomination of units 1 ½, 2 ½, 3 ½, and so on. Don’t let them confuse you! The main number means the number of rooms in the unit, and the ½ represents the bathroom. So, if you are looking at a 1 ½, it means that it is 1 open space (kitchen, living room, bedroom, all in the same open space) plus 1 bathroom. This generally applies to apartments known as studios or bachelor. 2 ½ means 2 spaces plus bathroom, generally the kitchen area is separated from everything else by a half or full wall division; if it is a 3 ½, it generally means that both -the kitchen and the bedroom area- have a wall division from the living room area, and so on. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Welcome to Montreal and enjoy your stay! Once you get your dream apartment or condo, you will be ready to discover everything this city has to offer.