Meet Marilyn
Contact Marilyn
Marilyn in the Media
Gallery of Solds
Client Login

Marilyn in the Media

The Ottawa Citizen

Condo Scene: The ABCs of condo living, part four


Got your eye on a penthouse? Many condo buildings will have more than one floor of penthouses.
  1. This is the first slide

In the fourth part of this series on things to consider from A to Z when buying your new condo, we tackle letters P to R.


How many spots will you get? If you’re buying a new condo, you will likely pay dearly for your parking spots but when you go to resell, you may absorb the cost of those spots. That being said, resale condo buyers expect at least one and often two parking spots to be included in the sale.

You may have just one car, but consider buying two spots if you can so you can rent one to someone else in the building. This can be a great way of ensuring resale value as it can be hard to secure a second spot down the road.

Some parking considerations:

Safety: How is the lighting? Will you feel safe coming home alone late at night, if need be?

Location: How far is your spot from the elevator? You’ll often be hauling groceries or other purchases from your car. Will you need a trolley that you either buy or borrow from the concierge to bring your purchases upstairs?

Extras: Car lovers might consider asking if they can install a lift in their parking spot. This would depend on condo board regulations and the garage’s ceiling height, but can mean not having to find somewhere else to store a convertible or sports car in the winter.


How does your unit relate to others? Do you look directly across at someone’s bedroom? Don’t forget angles; you can sometimes see up or down into someone’s unit across the way. Angled blinds can be useful to let light in while retaining privacy but, when using them, be mindful of those angles.

And when it comes to access to your unit, check your condo’s declaration, bylaws and rules to find out if a property manager has to give you notice to enter your condo.


Many condos in Ottawa have multiple penthouses — not just ones on the top floor. The Rideau, built by Minto at Lansdowne, has more than one floor of penthouses, for example. If you purchase pre-construction, you may want to see if you can negotiate with the developer to raise your penthouse ceiling, provided your unit is on the top floor. Penthouse prestige also comes in the form of large terraces and high square footage.


Make sure the developer has quality construction. Research its reputation and ask owners in former buildings how they like the quality. Even better, ask renters who don’t have a financial stake in the building but have experienced the perks and perils of construction.


These days, in addition to long-term renters, condo dwellers may have to deal with short-term renters, depending on how their building’s regulations are written. A recent CBC article outlined how this has become a huge problem for many Edmonton condos, where renters who may be there for just a day or as long as a month threaten many owners’ senses of a secure building.

One of the most important facets of condo security is knowing who comes in and out of the building. Visitors threaten this sense of security, as owners and concierges will not recognize them, but may let them in anyway. The more short-term visitors there are — especially ones not accompanied by residents — the harder to track and the greater the threat to your building’s security.

Some condos preclude residents from short-term rentals or rental units altogether. This often means less owners who are purchasing as an investment and more full-time residents.


According to’s section on condo owner rights and responsibilities (a must-visit for any condo owner or would-be owner), restrictions can include pet size or number, colour of window treatments and types of renovations within your unit. Some buildings, for example, prevent owners from storing bikes on their balconies.

Next time: Finishing off the condo ABCs with letters S to Z.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 27 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Christie’s International Real Estate. Reach her through

Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


Back to top