10 Things to Know Before You Buy Your Dream Condo

If you are a first-time buyer, then buying a condo can be an excellent decision. There are many perks to owning a condo, such as many shared amenities like fitness centers and outdoor lounges, low maintenance and taxes with 24/7 security and administration staff on site. Condos allow you to be part of a community and live comfortably with others.

Thus, investing in a condo can be a great way to dive into homeownership without worrying about the upkeep that comes with single-family homes and townhouses. Here are 10 things to consider before investing in your own Condo.

1: Work with a condominium real estate specialist
Yes, it may feel easier to browse condo listings on your own. But you may not have the expertise that a real estate agent has. A specialized real estate agent will guide you through the terms, contracts, condominium terms and the documents needed to finalize a sale.

More importantly, an experienced agent may have extra information about the history of a building like the developer’s reputation, previous issues with the development if it’s an older building and so on. With an experienced condominium agent, you can avoid costly mistakes and determine which projects, developers and locations to aim for.

2: Consider the condo price
A condo purchase may very well be the biggest financial investment of your life, so it is important to know the final price and fees you will be paying for the Condo. You would need to get in touch with a financial advisor or mortgage advisor to identify what your budget can afford and ensure you can cover the initial investment and also the monthly fees and the mortgage.

Depending on your financial portfolio, you can choose from a variety of condos, locations and mortgage options. You must also be cognizant of additional costs like the closing costs, property taxes, lawyer fees, monthly condo maintenance fees, insurance and more.

3: Monthly condo Fees
In almost all the new condominiums, monthly utility fees come standard. Keep in mind that if you are buying a condo in an older building, some older condos could also include utilities like water and/or gas in the monthly maintenance fees.

Typically, monthly maintenance fees include security/concierge, general repairs, cleaning, common spaces, amenities and parking. The condo corporation’s insurance and condo association fees for the upkeep of the property and its amenities would also need to be paid apart from the mortgage. Before you invest, it’s a good idea to ask how often, and by how much, the fees would increase each year so you can plan your finances properly.

4: Research the property management company
It’s a practical idea to do your own research on the property management company before you invest in a Condo. Find out what other projects they manage, and find out about the management company in charge of day-to-day operations. This can include handling the association rules and regulations, fielding questions from residents, and handling the condos finances.

The research on the property management company that’s behind the condominium property you prefer, could have a significant impact on your investment decision.

5: Condo features
The list of condo amenities in your unit may be a key point in influencing your final decision.
Developers are continuously introducing more and more unique amenities to recent pre-construction projects like dog-washing, grooming areas, gardening plots, swimming pools, basketball courts, lounge areas and others.

But be very careful about what you are getting into as this can dramatically drive up the maintenance fees you pay each month. While it is essential to have 24/7 security, a storage room or locker and visitor parking, you may not necessarily need a swimming pool if you are not a swimmer. Know what you need and decide what amenities you prefer. You can address the amenities you want while working with the realtor.

6: In-suite amenities
You have every right to find out about the condo features, finishings and amenities that you will get along with your unit. In many pre-construction projects, some features are included but the developers may limit the amount of fixtures, so be sure to inquire about upgrades.

You may also want to consider other upgrades like porcelain tiles, smooth ceilings, premium countertops, and upgraded kitchen cabinets. For a reasonable fee, you can also upgrade your standard laminate/hardwood flooring. These days, closet organizers are a feature that has recently sparked a lot of attention.

7: Location matters
The location of the condo is probably the most important factor to consider when you make the purchase. The condo price will be strongly impacted by its proximity to public transportation and it is a good idea to purchase your condo or any property close to transit stations. In the long run, it will eventually rise in value.

Demographics are important too. In addition to public transit, a hospital, grocery stores, parks and good schools in close proximity are valuable too. And finally, find out about the city’s development plans for the neighborhood in the near future.

8: Proximity to schools
If you have a family or plan to have one in the future, you would look for good schools nearby. When going for a condo purchase, this is an important point to consider. Good schools in the vicinity increase the value of your condo and also help in the resale value of the unit. The more attractions and places of interest around your condo the more its demand and appeal.

9: The size and dimensions of your home
When investing in a condo, the exact size/square footage of your unit is important. Always do your homework thoroughly and calculate the purchase price in relation to the size and find the price per/sq. ft. It is also a good idea to compare this with past sales in the neighborhood before making your purchase. A floor plan with good flow is top of the list for prospective buyers.

10: The floor location
In addition to the floor plan and comfortable living space. the location of the floor itself can be a good decision point. Note that the higher you buy, the more it will cost, and it will sell for a higher price too when you’re ready to sell.

On a higher floor, not only will you get a better view on a higher floor, but it will also cost you greatly if you are considering a pre-construction purchase. Decide if you are buying to reside or for purposes of investing. If it is the latter, then you could easily charge more rent for a higher floor. It’s also a healthy alternative as higher floors will have less street noise pollution. In some condos, common expense fees will also vary based on what floor you live on.

If you’re looking for a convenient, comfortable, and residence you can call home, condominiums are a great choice. To learn more about various Condominium options across the GTA, and preferred rates and 1st access to may premium properties, get in touch with us today.