Condo Buying Tips
February 1st, 2015
If you are considering the purchase of a condo (re-sale or pre-construction), talk to me before you begin your search. Here is why…
If we decide that we want to work together, I offer a very high level of service for my clients. You will get many advantages, which ensure I work diligently and in your best interest. Also, as a buying client, my services are almost always at NO COST TO YOU.
Having a real estate professional on your side could help:
- Save you thousands of dollars
- Spare you lots of unnecessary aggravation
- Give you access to units you may not otherwise have access to
- Access to amazing financing opportunities
- Help you navigate through the builders Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and other important documents
- Explain key concepts such as occupancy fees, closing costs, condo fees, status certificate, cooling off period, etc.
- Provide valuable insight/opinions on things such as, pricing, upgrades, re-sale (this one is often over-looked), unit size, builder’s history/reputation, occupancy delays, having a good real estate lawyer, and more.
- Help you interpret the very important “condo documents.” For example, don’t find out after it’s too late that you can’t have pets (if you are a pet lover), or that you can’t rent out your unit as soon as you take occupancy, or that you can’t park your motorcycle and your car in your parking space.
Sales reps at the condo presentation/sales center work for the builder, they don’t work for you! Would you go to court to fight a speeding ticket and take your advice from the prosecutor? I hope not! So why would you go to a condo sales center and take your advice from the builders sales reps? It’s the same thing, except we are not dealing with a $100 traffic ticket; we are talking about a condo that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, what do I mean when I say at NO COST TO YOU? Sure, there is a fee for my services, but on a pre-construction condo the builder typically pays this fee, not you. Now, you may be thinking that if you go to the sales center without a real estate professional representing you, you can get a reduction on a unit because the builder won’t have to pay a commission. This is not how it works! The unit will sell for the same price irrespective of if the builder has to pay a commission or not. Knowing this, why wouldn’t you take a real estate professional with you? Even when buying a re-sale condo (or a house), my services are almost always at NO COST TO YOU.
The following list is meant to help people who are looking at condos. It’s a way to effectively compare different units besides just having a bunch of facts floating around in your head. Not every unit will have every feature, but this is a good way to help you determine what is important to you.
No condo is perfect, but if you take your time and have the right help, you should find one that is perfect for you.
Building Name & Address:
Building’s physical appeal (out of 10):
Unit Type: Condo? Loft (hard or soft):
Unit Floor Number:
How big is the unit? Square footage, bedrooms, etc.:
In-suite laundry? Y/N:
View (out of 10):
Future projects in the area:
Terrace or balcony? Size, and does it get sunlight:
BBQ allowed? Gas line:
If a new build, confirm Tarion warranty. If Tarion doesn’t apply, what warranty is the builder offering (1-year warranty?):
If you have access, check cell phone reception in every room:
Maintenance fee amount & what’s included:
How much is in the buildings reserve fund:
Tons of windows are great, but consider the exposure. A west-facing unit may get very hot (expensive to keep to cool). How many windows are there? Are window coverings included, and if not, how much will window coverings cost:
How much are the property taxes? Based on what year:
Is the building registered? This one is very important, as you will be subject to certain restrictions during this period:
Building amenities (pool, gym, hot-tub, sauna, concierge, grocery, restaurant, theatre, games room, etc.). What is important to you? The more amenities, the higher the maintenance fees will likely be:
Parking. If you can, see the spot. They are not all the same, size and location can vary. Is it in a good location? Is it owned? What rules apply to the spot:
Is here visitor parking? Where is it and does it cost:
Is there a locker? Where is it? Is it private? What will fit inside:
How is the building heated:
Is there A/C:
Do the windows open? All or some:
Are pets allowed? If so, what are the restrictions? In some buildings pets are NOT permitted. If this is a problem for you, you may need to look at a different building:
What is nearby that could hinder enjoyment (mental health facility, hospital, fire/police station, factory, etc.):
Did the previous owner smoke in unit:
Has the unit ever been used as a drug lab:
How much storage in bedroom, bathroom, locker? Is there a place for a bicycle:
Are there appliances & are they suitable? How much room is there for new ones:
Where are the elevators/garbage chutes in relation to the unit:
What is the history of the building:
A few other things to consider, where is the nearest:
- Grocery store
- Doctor Office
- Fitness Center / Park
- TTC line / Subway entrance
- School, education facility
- LCBO (for some people at least!)
Congratulations to Mandip R. for identifying the photo from the January BLOG. The January photo of Dundas Square was taken from the north side of Dundas, just west of Yonge Street. January’s prize was lunch at The Sprout, located at 15 St. Clair Ave. W. (at Yonge). The Sprout is very well known in the mid-town area for it’s delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
Be the first to identify where the photo below was taken from, and win the February photo contest.
February's winner will be announced in the March BLOG. Check back on the 1st of every month for a new BLOG & Photo Contest