Ah, condo living: The urbanite’s dream. You can say goodbye to costly home repairs, put away your lawnmower for good, and laugh triumphantly at the fact that your snow-shoveling days are long behind you. (Take that, Jones family.)

But if you’re planning to buy a condo for your children or grandchildren, or to rent to students, you’ll want to carefully consider whether buying a unit in an age-restricted building is a good idea. Here are just a few things you’ll need to take into account.

Condos in Age-Restricted Buildings Are Worth Less Money and Harder to Sell

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, an age restriction can reduce the number of potential buyers for your condo unit by as much as 30 percent. That means you’ll have a considerably more difficult time selling a condo in an age-restricted building if you decide to move, and you’ll get 20 percent less money from a sale – that’s as much as a $50,000 difference in market value.

Buying in an age-restricted building can also make it harder to get a mortgage.

In the event that you go into default, your bank will try to sell the property in order to recoup its money – which is harder with a limited buyer pool. Age-restricted buildings are also harder to rent. If you’re buying an investment property, you’ll need to consider the fact that you’ll likely have a more limited range of tenants to choose from.

If You Have a Child, You’ll Have to Move

In November of 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported the story of Thandi Schweitzer and Debra Rousseau, who bought a two-bedroom condo in Vancouver in 2006. Their building bylaws dictated that all tenants must be at least 19 years old. So when they had a baby, it took the strata council all of two months to issue a bylaw enforcement notice. (So much for the traditional baby shower balloons and teddy bears.) The strata council gave the couple six months’ notice that they would be fined $200 per week. The strata corporation also threatened legal action against the couple, as in BC there is no law against age discrimination in strata properties.

Schweitzer and Rousseau’s story is a sad one, but there is a lesson to take from it. Before you buy, consider whether an age-restricted building is the ideal option for your needs.

If you plan to start a family in the near future, or if you plan to sell soon, stay out of age-restricted buildings. Contact Kirk Chamberlain at (778) 476-7778 or visit kirkchamberlain.ca to learn more about what to look for in a condo.

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