Saturday, January 16

5 Do’s & Don’ts When You’re Buying a Condo

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Assuming you are buying a condo to live in as opposed to rent out, you want to find one that you can be proud of and be happy in for years to come. You definitely want to purchase a condo that is aesthetically pleasing, nicely laid out, and in an area that works for you, but there are a few other things to be mindful of as well before putting in an offer. These do’s and don’ts will ensure that your condo search has a successful outcome.

1. Consult a real estate agent

There are many real estate agents willing and able to assist you, but choose one that specializes specifically in condos. Hiring a real estate agent to assisting your condo search is especially helpful if you are new to the area.He or she will be an excellent resource and will be able to give you background on condo complexes in the area and insights into fair prices based on past sales. The real estate agent can alert you when a suitable unit is first listed and assist you in getting required information from building management.

2. Do your homework on the building

When considering buying a condo, looking into the building would be beneficial. Look at the resale history and how often units change owners. If they change hands frequently, this may be indicative of an issue with the building, other tenants, or management. Ask for a copy of the homeowners’ meeting minutes. These will show you what topics are discussed and identify any issues among tenants or between tenants and management. Requesting the building’s financial records is also smart as they will identify what reserves the building has set aside for improvements. If there is little money in the reserves it could mean that the costs could fall to the tenants in the form of lump sum payments or significant rent increases.

3. Don’t base decision on low fees

While saving money is always an attractive option, choosing a complex because it has low condo fees would not help you in the long run. Condo fees cover the costs of improvements to the property and could pay the salary of a front-desk attendant who could provide some security. A complex with low condo fees will be unable to afford improvements and other amenities. As a result the building  will start to decline in value. This in turn will devalue your unit and make it difficult to sell when the time comes.

4. Don’t buy in building with a lot of renters

When looking into buying a condo, check with management to see how many units are rented. If the number is high, you may wish to look into a building where a larger majority are owners. Condo ownership entails shared ownership of the property so owners usually make sure that ample money is in reserves for improvements and ensure renovations are done. Because renters do not own share ownership and their stay is most likely more temporary, they do not have a vested interest in improvements.

5. Look at the neighbourhood

While taking a close look at the complex the condo is in is extremely important, it is imperativethat you determine whether the surrounding neighbourhood is acceptable as well. If you have children, look at the nearby school where they will attend.  Check the crime rates in the area as it is likely you will want to look elsewhere if it is high. Look at conveniences nearby such as restaurants, coffee shops, shopping centres, and banks. Lastly, check if there is anything that may annoy you such as highway noise, train tracks, or busy intersections.


About Author

Jeanne Stone

Staff writer / Entrepreneur / Reality television buff