Almost 6 years ago on our second date Matt and I met for desserts & drinks at the Bauer Kitchener in Uptown Waterloo. After eating we decided to go for a walk and we ended up Downtown Kitchener at Victoria Park. We stopped halfway somewhere to get some Arizona Iced Teas. As we were drinking and chatting up a storm we walked by Kaufman Lofts. We both stopped and looked up at the building and virtually shouted out at the same time that we wanted to live there. We joked that maybe one day we would both live there...separately. Who knew only a year later we would be married and living in our first little dream home together!
Kaufman was always a hub to us, a place where we wanted to live and explore our local city, culture, food, entertainment and everything else it had to offer us. We are both very family oriented so even though we are drawn to urban areas and would likely thrive in a much larger city far away, we decided to establish our roots close to our families + core circle of friends. We often get asked what condo life is really like so we wanted to put together a little list of our favourite "perks" from 5 years of condo life. We also have some photos of our unit below for friends and family who simply live too far to check it out in person. Enjoy!
Someone else does the work! If anything needs to get done (shovelling, lightbulb changes, window cleanings etc) condo fees absorb that care. We are not huge "green thumb" people quite yet so it's been nice to not have to worry about backyard cleanup, gardening, and other responsibilities.
Lifestyle: We were fortunate to get along really well with our neighbours and were at similar life places and spaces with most of them. Many were also drawn to our city culture. If we were out testing a new local eatery or using the local climbing gym we almost always encountered a neighbour or familiar face.
Friendly Neighbours: We were blessed with awesome neighbours in both buildings. Everywhere we went people seemed to be looking to make friends or engage in random chats while coming and going. Our building culture was super pet-friendly too. Almost all of our best friends in the building had pets in place of children so we fit right in! Lots of puppy playdates outside, sharing tips on all the best local dog parks, some of our friends were even hardcore enough to recommend the best doggy daycares in case we ever needed it.
Quick Commute: When we first moved in I worked in the Sportsworld area of Kitchener and Matt worked in the Beechwood area of Waterloo. My commute was just up the highway and I could do most days with decent traffic in 12 minutes (yes my speed was likely a factor as well but I didn't get any tickets). Matt's commute didn't really have a great highway route but only took him about 10 minutes. The best commute for me was a few years later when I worked across the street. 3 minutes from my front door to my work door. Awesome!
Restaurants & Coffee Shops: Only steps away from our front door were a variety of great places so if we were too lazy to make food we always had back-up. Our favourite close spots include The Guanaquita (fresh El Salvadorian food), 271 West (fresh handmade pastas), Matter of Taste Coffee Bar, and Cafe Pyrus (fresh, local, and organic food & drinks). Thankfully our new home will still be quite close to all of them...just a slightly longer walk (or bike ride).
Security: I always felt so incredibly safe when home alone. You know you're safe when you can watch Criminal Minds at night when your husband works late/closes. If I had to take the dog out at night all areas were well lit too. Matt is rarely away overnight for work but even those times too I knew our building security was awesome and we had solid reliable neighbours too in the event of an emergency.
Amenities: Since our building is a refurbished shoe factory the amenities are nothing over the top like they are in most new condos these days. We had a cool meeting room and party room. We never actually booked either during our time there but our favourite feature was definitely the rooftop patio!
Relationship Builder: Living in a smaller space can make or break a relationship. When you have high ceilings but "open concept" sliding doors that don't reach your ceilings there really is no escaping each other. It was both physically and emotionally impossible for us to go to bed fighting and we really grew together as couple in so many fun ways.
Minimalist Mindset: Another hidden perk is not being able to stash junk and accumulate "stuff". There wasn't much extra room for random items so 5 years of condo life has taught us great habits as we move into our next full size house. Clutter is no fun for anyone and really doesn't serve a purpose. I would like our lifestyle to continue on the path to minimalism as much as possible.
Rental Opportunity: Downtown real estate is worth hanging onto these days so we are so happy to be able to keep Kaufman as a rental unit with some other investor partners! We have our first tenant on a 1 year lease but if you're interested after that feel free to contact me anytime! firstname.lastname@example.org