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April 01, 2018

Condo Tales - Man-cave

A tale of two condos

Jim Zang

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I never thought it would happen to me.


I’m a condo owner. Times two.

It’s true I’ve written lots of stories about condo living, but mostly as told to me by others or, in some cases, just plain fiction. But, since January 20th, I’ve gained a whole new perspective. That’s the day I moved into my new condo — and so far, so good.

But there’s more to the story than that. Much more. And it gets a little confusing so you might want to read carefully, or even take notes along the way.

It started with my son and his wife. They owned a two-bedroom, 825-square-foot condo in the deep south burbs, but had their hearts (and paycheques) set on a new two-storey ‘forever’ home in Mahogany. And who can blame them? They’ve both got good, stable jobs and Hopewell’s Mahogany is Calgary’s most popular new lake community. So a down payment they did make, and up for sale their condo did go, last summer.

Unfortunately, with the condo market saturated with both new and re-sale product at the time, selling was a prospect easier said than done. In fact, after lowering the price several times over a six-month span, they were no closer to selling it than when they started — but a lot closer to the closing date for their new dream home.

Enter dear old Dad. I had promised them that if the condo didn’t sell by a certain date, I’d buy it at a certain price. It didn’t, so I did — and I became the proud owner of a nice new (just over a year old) condo in Cranston Ridge by Cardel Lifestyles.

But wait, there’s more!

I already sat on the title of my daughter’s one bedroom, 615-square-foot condo at Streetside’s Origins at Cranston, as a co-signer for her a couple of years ago. All of which makes me the owner of not one, but two condos in Cranston.

And here’s where it gets interesting.

My daughter and her husband would like to start a family, but are feeling cramped already with the two of them in their small suite. They tried to qualify for the mortgage on my son’s place, but fell just short. Enter dear old Dad again.

“Why don’t you guys rent my two-bedroom place off me,” I suggested, “and I’ll rent your one-bedroom flat off you? We’ll each keep paying the mortgage on our own places, and you’ll just owe me the difference, a couple hundred bucks tops, every month.”

So everybody wins. The son and his wife moved into their lovely new home. Daughter and her hubby are in the two-bedroom space they needed, without having to come up with the down payment.

And me, well, I’m living by myself, in my own place, for the first time in my life at age 56. With a good-sized storage space (approximately 6 x 8 feet) in the basement, I’ve really got all the space I need. Indeed, I’ve gone full man-cave, with oversized leather furniture, unique giant Coke can stereo, remote control trucks on display and, of course, my foosball table. I’ve even measured for a pool table, nothing smaller than 4 x 8 feet will do, but my buddy Marc at Acclaim Condo Management says I better clear it with the condo board first.

Sure, I might have been able to find something bigger for less money if I went a little further south, but it really was all about helping out the kids — because I can. As Brad Remington Homes’ vp of sales and marketing, Bryan Logel, told me in jest as I joined him on a tour of some of their spacious new Legacy Park suites, “You’re a great dad, Jim, but a lousy businessman.”

And I can live with that.

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