For most people, a condo is a condo. They see no difference between condos for in Toronto and those sold at time shares on the Florida Coast. But all condos are not created equal. There are differences in price, in location, in amenities, and in style that mean buyers actually have choices when it comes to condo living. So if a condo is your only option in the area you want to buy in, don't despair of ending up with a cookie cutter box. Look for one that suits you. Here are some ways condos differ.
When you start looking at condos in downtown Chicago, you will quickly notice that they seem to fall into two categories - standard, which resemble apartments and are fairly basic, and luxury, which contain all the best and most expensive fittings and fixtures. Whether or not you choose a luxury condo depends largely on your budget, but if you're really set on marble counters and a sunroom, you can always live in a neighborhood a little further from the city center.
Most Tokyo condos in the city center are located in high rise buildings because they're the best return on investment for condo developers. However, in cities and neighborhoods where land isn't quite so scarce, you can find low rise condo developments and even condo townhouses that have a more community feel to them. Whether you choose high or low rise, then, will depend on how far outside of the most populated neighborhoods you're willing to live.
Within the same downtown block, there might be five or six condo high rises that look almost identical from the outside. However, on the inside you'll see what sets Fifth Avenue condos apart from Detroit condos and vice versa: the building's amenities. Most buildings have a workout room and a common room these days, but in order to outdo their competitors, some developers are including bonuses such as movie theaters, shops, rooftop gardens, laundry services, underground parking, and pedways connecting them to office towers nearby.
And finally, condos differ in the type of contract you're signing. When you buy an Ontario condo, you're buying your unit for ever or at least until you resell it, while in a vacation spot like Orlando you might only be buying the right to use it for two weeks. All condos come with some obligations to the condo community, whether it be a fee for maintaining common spaces, a list of rules a mile long, or a spot on a council that makes decisions on behalf of everyone who lives in the building. So make sure you're okay with your obligations to the condo community before you buy into it.