Are you thinking about buying a condo? There are many benefits to condo life, but there are also lots of things to consider before making the leap. Don’t make any decisions on a unit before you ask yourself these important questions. Smartsizing to a Condo? Smartsizing to a Condo? 8 Things To Ask Yourself.
1. Purchase a New Build Condo?
So the main benefit of buying a condo in the pre-construction phase is the price. In general, new builds are often less expensive than resale units. (mostly due to the risk of construction delays). After the building is complete, new buyers will be paying much higher prices than what you initially paid in pre-construction. So your unit is already increasing in value before you’ve even moved in!
If you’re looking for a move-in ready home, a new build might be the best option. You’ll get to choose anything from the flooring to the door handles, and there are ample options for unit layouts. While it may take some time before you can move into your unit, everything will be exactly how you want it when you do. BuzzBuzzHome
While there are some great benefits to buying pre-construction, it’s also important to remember that it does have its drawbacks. You may be hit with interim occupancy fees between the time you move into the unit and the day you take ownership. While, these fees go to the builder as opposed to paying down your mortgage (and this arrangement can last for years). You also need to be prepared to live in a construction site for an undetermined amount of time (and even if you are given a completion date, the likelihood that the project will run late is still high). Additionally, your view could change based on what other construction is done in the future, especially if there are empty lots in the surrounding area. When one building goes up, more often follow. Before you sign on the dotted line be sure to understand additional costs at closing such as HST, assignment fees or possible capital gains levied by the taxman.
2. Purchase a resale Condo?
There are a lot of pros to buying resale. With a new build, your only frame of reference is the builder’s plans and your own imagination. By buying resale, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you take a tour of the condo. The building is finished and a condo board is already in place, so routines have already been established, and you can start using the amenities right away! And the biggest advantage to buying resale? The closing date is guaranteed, so you avoid all the guesswork and fees associated with a new build.
The downsides to buying resale? The prices are typically higher for units in a finished building, especially as there is a lot less choice in terms of units. You also may need to renovate to fit your taste, which can cost thousands of dollars.
3. Land Lease or Life Lease Condo?
When you choose to go ahead with a land lease, you own your home, but the land on which your home sits is leased (meaning rent is paid to the landowner). As the land isn’t included in the purchase price, the home will be noticeably more affordable. On the other hand, if you choose a life lease, you pay a lump sum to hold an interest in the property (usually for your lifetime or when you decide to move), but you do not own it. This option is becoming very popular among baby boomers when they choose to downsize. Ultimately, whatever you choose depends on your situation.
4. Where is the Condo Location?
Condos are usually built with convenience in mind, so there are likely grocery stores, coffee shops, and other staples in the surrounding area. While ease of access is always important, it’s also vital that you ask yourself these questions: Are there a lot of restaurants, parks, and shops in the area? Are other buildings with balconies close by? Major roadways? Ultimately, if you live in a high-traffic neighbourhood, it’s more likely that noise may become an issue.
While the location of the actual building is something you’ll need to consider, the location of your unit within the condo is just as important. It may seem handy to be near the garbage chute or the elevator, but it can also be loud (especially if you’re on the ground level). You also need to ask yourself what level you want to be on. The higher the floor, the better the view (but the higher the cost). Additionally, what direction does your primary window face? If you can find a unit with southwestern exposure, you’ll get a good amount of natural light without turning your unit into a sauna.
5. What ideally are your desired Condo Building Amenities?
This is the time to decide what you absolutely want from a future building. A concierge/security is a must-have for many condo buyers, but the rest is up to individual preference. Some condos offer a gym, rooftop terrace, pool, party room, yoga studio, guest suites, and even a car wash! Just remember that more amenities—while nice—mean more added expenses. Additionally, if you’re looking for a unit in an older building, fees may be higher to keep up with the added cost of repairs (especially when it comes to pools).
6. Who are the other Condo Residents?
Some people prefer to keep their distance from other residents, but if it’s community you’re looking for, remember to pay attention to how the residents of the building interact with each other. Are people friendly? Do they acknowledge each other in the halls and on the elevators? Are there clubs or activities that can help bring residents together? A larger building often translates to more distant residents, so if you’re looking for more of a community feel, it might be best to look for a smaller condo. Moreover pick a building culture that suits your style. For example some buidling are ideal for a young hip crowd while others are adult only. To be sure, take a seat in the lobby to see for yourself. Smartsizing to a Condo? 8 Things To Ask Yourself
7. Healthy Condo Corporation Status Certificate?
Being part of a Condominium Corporation means you are part owner of the whole property. Along with the other owners, the corporation has a profit and loss account. It’s important to get a copy of the status certificate from the property manager. This shows how much money has been saved for future expenses like roofs, windows, and elevator repairs. It’s always a good idea to have your lawyer look over the status certificate to be sure the condo is a good purchase decision. Further, get a copy of the Corporation bylaws to make sure there are no surprises when you move in!
8. Here are a few more questions to ask yourself:
• Where will your packages be kept?
• Is the concierge friendly? You’ll be dealing with them a lot, so it’s important that you can see yourself getting along with them.
• How many elevators are there? Is there a long wait time?
• What are the condo rules? What are their policies around pets and renovations?
• Is there a sufficient reserve fund?
• Is there visitor’s parking? If so, how many spots are there? If not, is there paid parking nearby?
• Does a parking spot come with your unit?
• Does your unit come with a private locker? Is it big enough?
• Is the building bike friendly?
• How is the cell service in the building? What about the unit?
• Is there Kitec plumbing in the unit/building (this plumbing often fails and causes water damage)?
• What is the reputation of the condo builder?
I hope this list helps guide you in the right direction as you consider transitioning to condo living. I know how difficult it can be to decipher the fine print that accompanies a condo purchase. I’ll be your advocate throughout the process to make sure you find the best home that suits not only your needs, but your wants as well. Give me a call at 647-223-0237 or email me at email@example.com to start your search today!