4 things to consider before buying a condo
by Madisyn McKee
Whether you’re downsizing or looking to buy your first-home, here are 4 things you need to consider.
Toronto has become a major city on the world stage and it’s only natural that the condo market has been catching up. There are only so many empty spaces for developers to build new homes before they are forced to go upwards. Even cities in the GTA like Markham, Mississauga and Vaughan have started to experience the condo boom.
All of growth and new developments can leave people wondering, is moving into a condo the right move? It’s a great idea for first-time homebuyers looking to get on the market and also those close to retirement looking to downsize.
There are many positives to moving into a condo — like never having to mow the lawn again. Not to mention the burden of having to fix a roof is no longer your problem. And don’t forget some of the amazing amenities new condos come with. Have we convinced you to start considering yet?
For those of you looking to make the plunge, these are the four most important things you should consider:
Research the condo developer
Start your search by doing your due diligence and background research on who the developers in the area are. Some things you should look for before purchasing includes how long the builder has been in business, how many condos have they built and their general reputation. The CMHC has some great checklists you can use as resources.
Know if your view will change
A popular selling feature with condos are, of course, the views! Condos on the top floors often go for more money than those on the lower floors. Imagine waking up in the morning, looking out your bedroom window and looking at the sun rising over the Toronto skyline?
Of course, with all of the new developments happening, it’s important to be sure that in a couple of years into owning your condo, your view isn’t going to be blocked. Research your neighbourhood and area at the City of Toronto Development projects website and that should give you a good idea of what the future holds. You can also consider buying a condo beside a park, or another area of land that won’t change.
Review the financial documents
Similar to knowing the history of the condo developer, you’ll want to know the history of the financials. Take an audit on the type of amenities the condo owns and manages. Pools can often be a factor for raising condo fees due to its high overhead cost. You should also consider what’s included in the condo fees. Some buildings will include the cost of basic utilities like heat and water, others will include parking and access to a gym. Make a list on what matters most to you and what your overall costs will be each month to make a more informed decision.
Most importantly, get access to the Reserve Fund. If the building has an unexpected leak or needs to replace the windows, a Reserve Fund is very important. Not having one could cost you a lot of money in an emergency as it becomes the responsibility of the condo owners to find the cash.
Know the demographic
You home is your sanctuary. Having neighbours you like and have things in common with is important. If you’re buying a condo as a way of down-sizing in your retirement years, it’s likely you’re not going to be comfortable living in a building that’s filled with students. Likewise, if this condo will be your first home, living in a building with residents that are close to retirement age may not be your ideal situation.
Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her at therestlessworker.com