7 Things a Condominium Buyer Should Consider

Whether it is a high rise condo or a low rise condominium, every Buyer must do their homework. Listed below are the areas that every Buyer should research and consider prior to making a condominium investment.

1. Location, Location, Location      

Location is considered one of the most important aspects in finding the right property. The ideal condominiums are often situated in places near to shopping, public transit and many other comforts that provide value to the residents.

The price of a condo is directly related to its location.  Prices tend to be highest in the downtown core and when located close to valued consumer amenities such as public transit.

Developers are constructing condominium towers all over the Greater Toronto Area.  As the buyer, only you can identify where you can most comfortably settle and the elements that are most important to you.  For example, many buyers struggle with deciding if the ease of living close to their workplace which may be downtown is more important than the extra price it would cost to live there. Or is it better to spend less and live in the suburbs and commute?

2. Reputable Builder or Developer

Any real estate purchase should be well-researched. In finding the right condo, you should look for a developer who has a stable reputation in the industry. They have the experience and in-depth knowledge to produce a quality building. When a builder produces buildings that are not well constructed or have problems, the information is generally readily available so that future buyers can beware.

3. Assessing the Condo as an Investment?

Knowing the price per square foot of a building is one of the key factors in choosing the ideal condo. This provides the means to easily compare one building to another. This price will also vary according to the location. For Example, properties located in the old City of Toronto is $620 per sq ft whereas for properties in the GTA, its $560 per sq ft.  The maintenance fees associated with the building are also an important consideration. The rate is based on a per square foot basis as well. A well run building with a properly funded reserve fund will have stable maintenance fees that only moderately increase annually based on operating costs and inflation. Buildings that have frequent re-assessments are signs that it is poorly managed.

Other considerations as to whether or not a condo would be a good investment would be the cost to commute versus the cost of the property in order to live in the area of your choice.

Buying a condo involves a significant investment in the form of the down payment and closing costs. The minimum down payment required would be 5% of the purchase price, although many pre-construction builders request more upfront. Closing costs such as land transfer tax and legal fees can be another 1.5% of the purchase price. Additional expenses from the purchase may come in the form of upgrades such as stainless steel appliances or granite countertops or hardwood floors. These upgrades, if desired should also be part of your budget aside from the total purchase price of the unit as the builder does not always allow the upgrades to be built into the purchase price. Rather, the expectation is that the upgrades are paid for prior to close.

4. Review the Condo Rules and Regulations

Each condominium has rules and regulations.  It is important to research what those rules and regulations are and how they apply to the unit you may be interested in purchasing.  It can be related to the remodeling of the unit, use of amenities (such as the time, proper dress code and fees for guests to use the amenities of the facility) or even the number or size of pets permitted in the building.

5. Check the Neighborhood and Environment

Spend time in the neighbourhood where you think you want to buy. This will allow you to get to know the community and area amenities. You should also consider looking at the condo during the evening as well as in the day.

6. Give Importance to the Design and Amenities

The design of the property plays a huge role in searching for your very own condo. You are the best person to know your preferences. Given that there are many developers who build condos all over the city; this gives you a multitude of options on what you could buy. You can choose from contemporary, industrial or traditional designs. There are condos that focus on nature-friendly designs with their facilities and some present their development with modern art and sophistication. You should choose the condo which you are most comfortable with in terms of design and style. .

The amenities are also part of what you are paying for in your monthly maintenance fees, so it should be considered useful. For example, a pool is the one of the biggest reasons for high maintenance fees in a building. If you don't swim or are not inclined to use a pool, this is likely an amenity you could forego and it will provide a monthly cost savings. On the other hand, if you have a gym membership or work out often, then maybe using a gym provided by the building will provide a convenience as well as a monthly savings.

7. Sleep over it

Now that you have researched the 6 previous points when looking for a condo, it is very important to relax and sleep over your decision and take a little bit of time to think about it. Making decisions when you are overwhelmed and impressed might lead you to a lifetime of regret if you may have overlooked some parts of your investment.

Once you have made your decision, there is always a cooling off period of 10 days that will allow you to conduct your due diligence, have legal review of the contract and condo documents to give you better piece of mind.

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Randy Ramadhin

Randy Ramadhin

CENTURY 21 People's Choice Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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