Buying a condominium: weigh the pros and cons

Buying a condominium: weigh the pros and cons

24 November 2023

If you are considering buying an apartment in Collioure or elsewhere in France, you may be wondering: individual or condominium? Paradise Immobilier, your local guide, is here to help you untangle the threads of this decision.

Co-ownership is a form of housing in which a building is divided into several lots, with each owner holding a separate part. Today, more and more people are opting for condominiums because of their advantages.

One of the strong points is the more affordable purchase price compared with a single-family home. This option offers appreciable affordability, enabling buyers to settle in an attractive location like Collioure without straining their budget. But the cost of maintaining common areas can be a significant additional expense.

We will explain everything to you.

What is a condominium?

What is a condominium? Definition | Paradise Real Estate

In simple terms, a condominium is shared ownership of a building, usually divided into several units such as apartments, houses, or commercial premises.

There are two main types of condominium:

  • Vertical condominiums are characterized by superimposed units, as in an apartment building.
  • Conversely, horizontal condominiums extend across the floor, often found in residential complexes where each owner has his or her own plot.

The operation of a condominium is based on a well-defined structure. The syndic is responsible for the day-to-day management of the condominium. The syndicate council, made up of elected co-owners, plays an active role in making important decisions. And the Annual General Meeting (AG) brings together all co-owners to discuss key issues and make collective decisions.

The advantages of buying a condominium

Investing in a condominium is much more than just buying a property; it offers several tangible benefits that redefine the concept of ownership.

  • Cost-sharing: by sharing maintenance and renovation costs, homeowners significantly reduce their individual financial burden. This pooling creates economies of scale, enabling access to quality services without straining individual budgets.
  • Shared services and facilities: living in a condominium offers access to amenities such as swimming pools, gyms and green spaces. These amenities add a dimension of luxury to everyday life, creating an atmosphere of well-being and comfort.
  • Less individual responsibility: condominium ownership eases the burden of individual responsibility. All repairs and regular maintenance are delegated to the syndic, freeing owners from the daily hassles associated with a single-family home.
  • Increased safety: safety is a priority in condominiums. With collective security systems in place, mutual monitoring creates a safe and reassuring environment.
  • Social and community life: the social and community life that comes with condominium ownership can create strong bonds between residents. This community atmosphere can be a real asset, providing a friendly, pleasant atmosphere.

The disadvantages of buying a condominium

While buying into a condominium offers a range of advantages, it is not without its drawbacks. Here are just a few examples:

  • Condominium fees: although these charges may cover maintenance and services, they can often reach substantial amounts. What's more, in the event of unanticipated work, additional costs may be incurred.
  • Strict co-ownership rules: collective decisions, while essential for the well-being of the community, can sometimes run counter to individual preferences. The obligation to respect collective decisions can limit individual freedom and create tensions.
  • Risks of mismanagement: management errors by the syndic can have a direct impact on the value of the property, while internal conflicts can emerge within the condominium.
  • Less freedom: buying in a condominium can also mean compromising on the personalization of your home.
  • Litigation potential: disputes between owners, particularly concerning collective decisions or financial responsibilities, can lead to complex legal procedures and tensions within the condominium.

How to make the right choice when buying a condominium?

Here are a few practical tips to help you make the decision that best suits your lifestyle and expectations.

  • Assess your needs and priorities: think about your lifestyle, what's most important to you and what exactly you're looking for in your future home. If communal living and shared costs are attractive features, then buying in a condominium may be the ideal solution.
  • Examine the condominium documents: before diving into the purchase of a condominium, take the time to carefully examine the documents that govern it. Minutes, co-ownership regulations etc. All these elements will give you an overview of the rules and decisions taken collectively, so you can better anticipate constraints.
  • Consider the reserve fund: an often overlooked but indispensable aspect. A solid reserve fund helps to cover unforeseen expenses and ensures long-term financial stability.
  • Get professional advice: to guide you from A to Z, nothing beats expert advice. Paradise Immobilier supports you every step of the way.

Ultimately, co-ownership is a balance between collective benefits and shared responsibilities. Are you considering buying a condominium in Collioure ? Don't hesitate to contact Paradise Immobilier. Our advisors will help you find the right property for your needs and budget.

FAQs on buying condominiums

  1. Why invest in a condominium?
  • The purchase price is often more affordable than that of a single-family home,
  • The location is often central, with amenities close at hand,
  • Management of the common areas is shared with the other co-owners,
  • Condominiums generally have more sophisticated security systems than single-family homes (digicodes, badges, etc.). The risk of theft and burglary is reduced.
  1. What are the rules of co-ownership?

Co-ownership rules are defined in the co-ownership regulations. This document is a binding contract for all co-owners. It defines the rights and obligations of each party, in particular :

  • Use of common areas,
  • Maintenance and repair of common areas,
  • The works,
  • Condominium charges.
  1. How much does it cost to get out of a condominium?

The cost of exiting a condominium depends on a number of factors, including the value of the apartment, the condominium fees due and the selling costs.

In general, you should allow around 10% of the sale price to cover condominium exit costs.

  1. What are the condominium charges?

Condominium charges are used to finance the upkeep of the common areas, common services (caretaking, maintenance of green spaces, etc.) and work voted on at the general meeting. The amount of condominium charges varies according to the size of the condominium, the condition of the common areas and the work to be carried out.

  1. How to become a co-owner

To become a co-owner, you need to buy an apartment or house in a condominium. The purchase is made by notarial deed. The new owner then becomes a full co-owner and is subject to co-ownership rules.

  1. Who has to pay the co-ownership registration fees?

The costs of putting the property into co-ownership are borne by the owner of the property who wishes to put it into co-ownership. These include notary fees, registration fees and land registration fees.

  1. Is it possible not to have a trustee?

Yes, it's quite possible. In this case, the condominium is managed by a syndicate council. Management without a syndic is more burdensome for co-owners, but it can also be more economical.


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