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AARON MOHAMMED
BabbleBee
reply 320 vote 48
 

Do you use your condo balcony?

I just read this article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/decor/do-you-actually-use-your-condo-balcony/article12687774/

Brad Lamb calls balconies a "pain in the ass" and believes most people don't use them. Do you use yours?
29
General Chit-Chat
 
 
 
TIM MULLOWNEY
Buzzer
reply 22 vote 11
 
 
2 BEST REPLY
Agreed with @Ryan McGovern - I use mine almost every day in the spring and summer for grilling, eating, entertaining. Balconies in NYC are a rarity. Anyone that has one seems to have a lot more friends in the summer.
 
 
 
RYAN MCGOVERN
Senior Buzzer
reply 642 vote 117
 
 
1
While I can't see myself using it at all from November-April, in the Spring and Summer months I use it all the time.
 
 
MARK
Buzzer
reply 18 vote 11
 
 
Man complains about not using his 3000 sq. ft balcony, calls it a "pain in the ass". If this doesn't qualify as a first world problem, I don't know what does.

Back when I lived in a condo, I would only really use it in the summer. Obviously, being in a climate where half the year is either cold, snowy, or both, we don't get to fully utilize it. However, mine had a great view and was always nice to enjoy a meal, spend an evening with friends or just relax with a book.
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 171
 
 
Depends on how nice the patio is, the views, and how inviting it is.
 
 
MARCO DIFOTI
Senior Buzzer
reply 550 vote 45
 
 
Whether you use your balcony or not, it gives you the freedom to your own private outdoor space in the city. Which means, it appeals to more people on the resale, which means more demand, which means higher price.

So, if you can, buy a unit with a balcony.
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
I actually don't have a balcony in my suite and don't really miss it.... Personally...for me the biggest reason to have a balcony would be to BBQ but many of the condominiums don't allow that... My neighbour has a massive balcony and I've never once seen them on it.
 
 
ALLEN
Buzzer
reply 192 vote 54
 
 
1

I have mixed feelings about balconies.

I used my balcony in one of my previous condos all the time and loved it, but that was a relatively large 150 sq.ft. balcony that could easily accommodate an outdoor sofa set, a couple planters and a BBQ as it had agas line. It also had excellent unobstructed tree-top views. I used it all the time, it was great for entertaining and I sometime use the BBQ in the wintertime when it wasn’t too cold.
In another condo, I rarely used the balcony. Even though it had stunning unobstructed lake and city views from the 30th floor,the noise and dirt from the nearby Gardiner Expressway was a little too much to bear even at that height. The lack of a gas line for a BBQ really limit my use of my balcony and being at considerable height you become a little disconnected from the ground and it gets a little windy up there.

An issue I see with balconies is the premature deterioration of interior flooring as the concrete balcony floor slab continues into the interior with no thermal break or insulation. This causes condensation to form under the floors of the interior near these balconies. I have seen a lot of condos where the hardwood or laminate floors are warped or deteriorated within a foot of an exterior window wall. This may look like there has been a water leak atthe base of the window wall, but in fact it is due to condensation that forms underthe finish floor due to the cold concrete slab meeting the warm wood/laminate floors.
Due to this many condo units require floor repairs or replacement in as little as 4 years of being built.
Terraces are a better option, as the floor of the terrace is built up and provide a little more insulation and don’t directly continue into the interior of the unit creating a thermal bridge. I also like having thatstep up when going to out to my terrace.

With all those factors in mind, my next place I chose acondo that is not located near a freeway, has a generously sized terrace, an unobstructed view that is not too high up, and has a gas hook up for my BBQ.
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 171
 
 
@allen ....good point about the dirt! At my last condo, I felt like I was cleaning the outside furniture every other day. There was constantly a layer of think black dirt.

But, once clean, it was awesome.
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 171
 
 
I was just in New York last week, and was amazed by how few balconies there are, and more importantly the ones that I did see were totally underused.

I am talking about balconies and terraces overlooking The Hudson, with no furniture on them.
   
So, if so underused, do they actually increase the value of a condo?
 
 
ANDREW LAFLEUR
Buzzer
reply 119 vote 39
 
 
1
Balconies are a funny thing in that everyone pretty well insists on having them but hardly anyone uses them. 

I would say that builders typically add about $1-15k to the price of your average 600 sq ft condo if it had a balcony vs a similar suite without a balcony. In the resale market that number seems to hold up in my experience - a typical balcony of around 50-100 sq ft is worth about $15k. Also of note: if you have a really huge balcony it's not worth much more than if you have a really small balcony - people just want to have a place where they can envision sitting outside on a chair sipping a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette. It goes to selling the dream of condo ownership and high-rise urban living. Terraces are harder to pin a value on but more in the $20-25k range in my experience on average. 

Personally when I lived in an apartment at Yonge and Bloor I never used my balcony because it was absolutely filthy all the time and on the 3rd floor facing the garbage loading area of the building. But when I bought my first condo and it was a ground floor unit with a terrace I used it all the time and often had dinner parties out there. 

IMO the best looking buildings are those without balconies like the Ritz Carlton for example. Gives the exterior a more streamlined and refined look. but everyone criticizes buildings like that for omitting balconies in the design. L Tower is a beauty we can all agree and it only has a few suites with little tiny internal balconies that do not jut out past the exterior  window wall of the tower.
 
 
DARLENE
Buzzer
reply 44 vote 2
 
 
1
I find it quite strange when people don't use their balconies, because the balcony is quite a selling feature when looking for a condo. Why bother asking for a wonderful view if you don't take advantage of it on your balcony?
 
 
MAXWELL SCHWARTZ
Buzzer
reply 48 vote 4
 
 
Big plus for smokers too.
 
 
BRANDON CHERRINGTON
Buzzer
reply 30 vote 10
 
 

everybody is obviously different, however, on my morning walk (Which is a good 20 minutes) I can count on 2 hands the amount of people actually enjoying themselves on their balcony's. I pass well over 20 condo developments and probably see 100s of balconies.

 
 
BRANDON CHERRINGTON
Buzzer
reply 30 vote 10
 
 
1
The problem with balconies in cities is the fact that they're loud and attract a lot of debris from above. Not to mention various odours. I lived downtown and we were on the 3rd floor of a 32 storey high rise. I don't even want to mention the things we would find on our balcony as it would be inappropriate for this forum ;)
 
 
MAXWELL SCHWARTZ
Buzzer
reply 48 vote 4
 
 
I don't believe that a balcony would ever be a deal breaker, whereas not having one might be.
 
 
GORD SMART
BuzzStaff
reply 224 vote 37
 
 
It really spends where you live and what type of construction the condo is. Recently in Kelowna BC a huge fire was started because of a propane BBQ mishap on a balcony ... which subsequently caused a fire to the rest on the condo development. It was a low rise wood frame construction project.

In terms of usage, in cities like Vancouver, using a balcony 12 months a year (mild weather permits it) is a great option to being couped up inside a smaller condo unit all day. Whereas in Montreal where last year there were many days when snow and minus 25 was the norm in winter. Probably not too much fun to be outside on a balcony in that case. 

Balconies, like real estate, is about location, location, location .... Each project is very much different from another. No cookie cutter answer to the question of whether a condo balcony is a good or bad thing ...  In terms of the first question which started this thread ...do you use your balcony - the answer is ... depends what city, what location in the city, hi-rise/low rise, quiet area in the city/noisy area in the city ... etc ...
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 171
 
 
@Gord Smart ...that seems to be the common sense opinion, but I am under the belief that no matter where you are, if you have a balcony you are going to get a premium on your home.
 
 
ANONYMOUS
NewBee
reply 5 vote 1
 
 
1
I find that most people like balconies in condos, even if they don't use them much. It's nice to be able to step outside and get some fresh air in the spring and summer. Often it is viewed as an extension of the condo space and makes the area seem larger.
One can look out at it and even use it to place some plants etc.
I'm not a fan of balconies on higher floors, but I've never had anyone complain about them.
 
 
MARCO DIFOTI
Senior Buzzer
reply 550 vote 45
 
 
David Fleming just posted an article on BBQ'ing on balconies on his blog: http://www.torontorealtyblog.com/archives/barbecuing-is-a-privilege/9451

What do you think about BBQ'ing on condo balconies?

Personally, I am against it for the following reasons:
1. The smell: People cooking fish under your unit? Sure as hell, it is going to stink up your suite if you balcony door is open.
2. Dirty: the fumes and grease that comes off a BBQ is pretty dirty, and will make the building disgusting.
3. Rats: If these are not kept clean, the condo will become rat infested.    
 
 
STEPHEN MARLOW
Buzzer
reply 43 vote 6
 
 
I agree with @Ryan McGovern as well. My old place had a balcony and I would use it all the time. Especially for grilling.
 
 
ELIZABETH SAGARMINAGA
Buzzer
reply 84 vote 9
 
 
I do have a balcony and my is full of potted plants with lot of flowers. And I water it everyday. So in that sense I use it regularly.
 
 
JESSE BAKER
Buzzer
reply 16 vote 8
 
 
I think there is a big difference between covered and exposed balconies and this definitely effects usage, especially in colder climates. The down side to covered balconies is that they usually sacrifice interior square footage.

If the balcony is exposed to the floors above it, I would value it lower then a comparable apartment with a more private outdoor space.

In terms of location, I would use my balcony more often if it had a nice view. Then its not just about "getting fresh air" or cooking your food. I do agree with @Andrew LaFleur - buildings look better, cleaner, without them. However, unless I was buying in NYC, for example, I'm not sure I would buy a condo without one. Buyers are almost always willing to pay more for an outdoor space.
 
 
ELIZABETH SAGARMINAGA
Buzzer
reply 84 vote 9
 
 
My kids use the balcony as a reading nook during the summers. Also it is a great place for placing decorative plants. I love to stand outside and spend some time there when I need to unwind. My wife loves to hang some decorations in the balcony during Christmas. This is also the place where I have heart-to-heart talks with my younger son.
 
 
ARI MUJUNEN
NewBee
reply 1
 
 

Balconies are mostly underused because of exposure to wind, noise, dirt, pigeons etc.  There is a solution to these problems which will give you maximum enjoyment on the balcony. Beautiful frameless and fully retractable glass balcony enclosures are all over Europe and are also now available in North America. These provide protection from all of the nuisances mentioned and are great because the glass can be fully retracted on the great days of summer. Google "how to open lumon balcony glazing".

 
 
ZACKERY COTE
Buzzer
reply 34 vote 1
 
 
Yes I Do.
Most of the time an investor will go for a condo with a balcony. There are several reasons for it. They think in a long term prospective. As balconies give a luxurious feel to the condos. One can relax their self outside with moving too far or coming out of the apartment to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Now a day all the condos opt for a good luxury balcony. For example @Waterview Condominiums, they are designed in such a way that from the balcony you can see the Lake Ontario.

 
 
JAMES BOMBALES
NewBee
reply 2
 
 
I lived at Absolute World for a year and absolutely (pardon the pun) loved my wrap-around balcony. My only issue was the amount of high winds I had. I don't know if it had something to do with the curves of the towers but some days the balcony would be unusable because the winds were so strong.
 
 
JUMIE O.
Buzzer
reply 26 vote 6
 
 
To have a balcony or not - is a question every prospective owner or tenant often asks themselves and frankly speaking your perspective differ based on your age, your interests, the cost of the balcony as well as the location .

Yes i have to agree with @Andrew LaFleur, for condo's a fraction of your purchase price is for that balcony which you may use on avg. 40 % of the time given the climate we lived in and if builders were to truly disclose and offer balconies as an option, i'm sure folks would think twice and most would not pay the extra for a balcony.

If the condo has great common amenities like a roof top terrace, a courtyard, a BBQ area , a smoking area , a garden like or patio like setting, truth be told would you really miss your balcony.

A balcony is not a deal breaker for me personally.
 
 
MATTHEW DAVIDSON
NewBee
reply 4
 
 
Yes rightly said its answerdiffer from person to person and the reason of use .I love it because I can putsome plants there  and can read booksover there.
 
 
ROB PHILLIPS
NewBee
reply 7
 
 
I think that in condo most of the people do not use their balcony. But the condo balcony is the most fantastic object in urban areas.  People demand balcony to get outside, sit in the natural surroundings and spend some time there. I have put 2 chairs and one bicycle in my condo. The balcony is big enough to make a small fitness area. Me and my family used to spend time there, especially on weekends. I like to sit there very much.
 
 
 
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