Some realtors say condo funds could be better used as certain amenities remain largely empty
One of the perks of living in a condo are the amenities. From an indoor pool to round-the-clock concierge, there are certain comforts that come standard in most buildings. And as a wave of new condos continues to spill into the GTA, it’s no surprise that developers would try to out-do each other in terms of what they offer.
But what about those amenities the average pool of residents never asked for? These tend to be perks that are underused, and let’s face it — sometimes overrated. And most notably, at the cost to owners via their maintenance fees.
Our team asked Strata.ca realtors what they think are the amenities that add the least value. Some of their answers may surprise you!
‘Uncomfortable chairs, random books’
We’ve been told our entire lives that reading is good for the soul. So why is the condo library on this list?
Realtors say this kind of amenity is good in theory, but it’s always empty. Like, always.
“It’s usually a beautifully decorated room with uncomfortable chairs and random books shoved into an old-timey bookcase,” says Strata.ca agent, Osman Omaid. “One time I saw a Hunger Games novel with half the spine chewed up.”
Libraries may have been popular before e-books and podcasts came along. But in today’s tech-focused society, it appears people would rather do other things than sit in their condo library. Or maybe they’re going to actual libraries.
‘A hockey net would be more suitable'
By far this one was mentioned over and over by our agents. The golf simulator room is perhaps one of the most underused amenities, right up there with the condo library.
When compared to basketball or tennis courts, “it’s just not that dynamic,” says Strata realtor Cyrus Ghazvini. “I imagine a golf simulator machine is expensive to replace or fix if broken, so why not find a better use of funds and space?”
And as fellow agent Alex Hood puts it, “This is Canada, so a hockey net would be more suitable.”
Depends on the crowd...and COVID?
“I’ve had clients who were obsessed with the idea of having a tennis court, but they’re definitely underused,” says Francisco Hiebert, real estate agent at Strata.ca.
This is an amenity that got mixed reviews from realtors. A few agents swear the tennis courts they’ve seen are disheveled and empty. But others say courts are often booked 24/7.
“Some buildings love it, but it really depends on the crowd,” says Strata.ca realtor, Gilda Motamed, who notes that during the pandemic, most other amenities were closed.
“At the NXT Condos, for example, the courts have been booked from morning to night during COVID.”
Fellow realtor Sam Massoudi agrees, saying “I’m at NXT every Friday playing as a guest visitor, and it’s pretty busy, especially in summer months.”
General consensus: Makes no difference
Condos with pet spas and dog washing facilities are often located near dog parks, so they can attract a certain type of resident. 3018 Yonge Street in Midtown and the Tango Condos in Bayview Village both offer perks for pets. But our agents agree that unless you’re a pet owner, amenities for animals don’t make much of a difference.
You often see swimming pools in older condos. But these days, how often do you see residents swimming and lounging poolside?
Not that this is a scientific observation, but there’s actually a heated pool in my mother’s building, and every time I walk by it’s sitting empty. The only action you’ll ever see is the steam emanating from it.
Pools are among the most expensive amenities to maintain. These funds could almost certainly be put to better use.
‘A new generation of people aren’t cooking’
Here’s an amenity we didn’t expect to see on this list. But it appears the communal BBQ may not be as widely used in some condos.
According to Strata realtor Larry Medina, whose own condo board did some research on amenities, the BBQ was rarely used.
“I was shocked, but when we looked at the booking rates, they were nearly non-existent,” he says. “I think it’s because a new generation of people aren’t cooking as much as, say, our parents used to.”