F. B. writes:
My husband and I are new condo owners. We love the condominium concept but get confused as to what we need to do to take full advantage of this new experience in our lives now that we are also newly retired. Do you have any suggestions?
Double congratulations! First on your retirement and secondly on your recent purchase. Taking advantage of the opportunities that condo living provide can be quite rewarding. Your question crosses the mind of many new owners. These are my three top suggestions.
Get to know your neighbourhood
Since you now own a share of a corporation, I believe that it is important for you to become familiar with your governing documents. In MB these are the Declaration, the Bylaws, the Rules and the Policies of your condo community. Once you know how the development is governed, you will feel much more comfortable. You may have to sift through legal jargon with which you may not be familiar. Do not despair, your neighbours, members of the board and the property manager can help you out. There are also many resources on the internet; be careful that the information you gather applies in your jurisdiction. In Canada, each province has its own legislation that condo corporations need to follow. While their provisions may be similar, the devil is in the details.
Get to know your neighbours
Get to know your neighbours soon after you move in. The longer you wait, the more challenging it becomes. Afterall, we all approach change with a bit of fear of the unknown, and the reluctance to introduce ourselves to strangers. I wish you the benefit of having moved into a welcoming place. It will make the feeling of belonging to a community much more pleasant. If the residents have organized activities, jump in as soon as possible. Getting to know people in a casual setting makes it easier.
Finally, my secret tip. Get involved with the running of the condo corporation by becoming a member of the board or volunteer to organize the social life of the building. You indicated that you are retired. This suggests that you have a lot of experience to contribute to your new community. Getting involved is the best way to avoid isolation or feeling out of the loop.