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Downsizing to a condo makes a lot of sense. No grass to cut. No exterior maintenance. Fewer rooms to clean. More time to enjoy leisure activities. This all sounds great, but don’t make this decision lightly. Moving from a suburban home to a condo can be a culture shock, even for the most flexible individual.

Knowing what to expect and how to deal with issues and problems that may arise in your new community can make a difference in how quickly (and happily) you adjust to this new lifestyle. While there are obvious adjustments that many people expect, here are two more things that you should consider when preparing to downsize to a condo: lawn and dogs.

Lawn

Coming from a suburban home, you may be accustomed to having lots of nice landscaping and flowers. Of course, condo communities provide landscaping service, but if you are the least bit particular about how your yard looks, you’ll have to compromise on the quality of lawn maintenance that you will receive. The landscaping is likely to be very basic and the grass a bit patchy.

The lawn service will not necessarily maintain every area around your condo, but some places have good compromises regarding lawn rules and regulations. You can check these details even before the developer starts constructing, if it’s a new condominium, or if you’re getting a different arrangement, like some of the pre-construction condos in Mississaugua, you can discuss the lawn with the seller.

Dogs

Most condo communities have restrictions on the number and size of dogs that you may own. There are very few communities that actually prohibit owning a dog. If you are not a dog owner (and perhaps don’t even want to be around dogs) you need to be aware that you will be living in very close proximity to dogs.

There are no private yards in a condo community. Your outdoor entertainment areas (deck and patio) will be right next to your neighbor’s. If your neighbor has a dog, that dog will be outside from time to time (probably doing his ‘business’ before your very eyes). If the dog is a barker, you will hear him, even when he is inside his owner’s condo.

Fortunately, most condo communities have strict regulations concerning the behavior of dogs and their owners. Find out what the condo community policies are and what options you have if dogs become a problem for you. In fact, most communities levy fines against dog owners if they fail to follow the policies. Even if you don’t like dogs, they will be only a minor inconvenience for you if you are aware of the rules and procedures to follow if there are problems.

If you are a dog owner, you have a responsibility and obligation to see that your pet does not interfere with your neighbors’ right to peacefully enjoy their homes. Remember that you will be living in very close proximity to your neighbors. Not everyone loves dogs as much as you do, so don’t expect your neighbors to enjoy your pet. Here are two very important facts to keep in mind: If your dog has had free reign of a large suburban yard prior to moving into your condo, he will probably miss that freedom, as he will not be allowed to run free in a condo community. If your dog is a large breed, he needs space, and that is something that you simply do not have when you live in a condo community.

In all condo communities, there are many regulations governing dogs, and it is your responsibility to know what those are. Fines can be imposed for violations. Ignorance is not innocence. Your dog may not bark on a regular basis, inside OR outside. You may not tether your dog anywhere outside. Your dog must be on a leash whenever it is outside of your condo. You must clean up after your dog. Some condo communities even have specified dog potty areas (but you still have to clean up after your pet!). Before moving your dog into a condo community, think long and hard about how that lifestyle will affect you and your pet. And, most of all, make sure you know the rules.