Styles of Calgary Condos
In addition to many different kinds of Condominium Ownership, there are different styles of condos available for purchase. When most people think of a condo they immediately think of an apartment-style unit in a downtown high rise, but there are many different styles of condos to be found in different communities throughout a city.
All of these types of homes will include some type of shared, condominium ownership.
High Rise Condo Buildings
These styles of condos are usually (but not always) found in the denser urban cores of most cities, and are multi-storey buildings of more than six floors that contain multiple units. In major urban centres, these high rise buildings can be upwards of 30 or 40 floors, or even higher depending on the location and the building. These styles of condos tend to offer nicer views from higher floors, and condo fees tend to be (but are not always) higher than low rise buildings.
Because these condos are usually located in downtown urban areas, they often are located within close walking distance to amenities such as shops and grocery stores. They are also more likely than low rise condos to have in-building facilities such as gyms, pools, elevator service, garage parking and added security features. These types of condos usually also have onsite management available in the building during the day because of the high number of residents.
With high rise condominiums, most of your walls in addition to your floor and ceiling will be shared with other units. Different buildings have different types and standards for sound proofing, but in general these styles of condos offer the least amount of privacy.
Low Rise Condo Buildings
Typically multi-storey buildings of two to six floors, low rise condominiums are typically found in a city's central residential neighbourhoods that are mid-density and usually include a mix of single family house style homes and walk up low rise condo buildings. Each floor will have multiple units, and often there are open-air parking lots instead of underground parking options. These often (but not always) have lower condo fees than high rise buildings.
These kinds of condominiums are usually located closer to major shopping and grocery services than suburban neighbourhoods, and usually offer fewer in-building facilities than high rise condominiums do. Because of the smaller number of residents, it is less likely the Condo Corporation and Board of Directors will have hired a property manager, and there may not be building management available on site on a daily basis.
As with high rise condominiums, most of your walls — and your floors and ceilings — will be shared. These styles of condominiums offer more privacy than high rise buildings, but less than other types of housing.
Townhouses or Row Houses
A townhouse or row house complex is a set of one- or two-storey single family homes joined horizontally by common walls. Generally townhouse owners own both their unit and the section of land beneath it, so townhouse units cannot be stacked vertically. Owners of townhouses generally pay property taxes for their individual units, but still pay fees to a Homeowners Association that manages the common areas including exterior walls, roofs, landscaping and other shared elements.
Owners of townhouses generally have to adhere to strict rules when it comes to the exterior of their home, and may not be able to make any changes to these features at all depending on the rules and bylaws of the Homeowners Association. In some cases, even yards are considered common ares, and landscaping or gardening elements may be managed by the Board of Directors rather than by individual owners.
Townhouses provide more privacy than either high or low rise condos, but less than single family homes. Many people enjoy the house-like atmosphere paired with low maintenance that townhouses offer.
Private & Gated Communities
From the outside, private and gated communities may not appear any different than standard streets of single-family homes, but these developments always have some common space that is shared among home owners within the development. Some of these communities may be open, some may be surrounded by walls but have open street access, while others may have gates across entry streets that require passes or codes for entry.
In these communities, each unit is usually comprised of a single family home style house and the plot of land it sits on. Each homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of their building and the property surrounding it, but will still pay fees for upkeep of common areas such as private community pools, recreational facilities, streets, signage, walls and gateways. These communities almost always have Architectural Controls on the external appearance of the homes, and in some cases may have rules governing parking, landscaping, and the presence of children's toys or bicycles in the yard. Some may provide maintenance or insurance packages.