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Add value, and your personal touches, with an existing condo

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Add value, and your personal touches, with an existing condo

Buying a shiny new condo is exciting. Common elements such as swanky pools, games rooms, rooftop patios, fitness centres and all the other bells and whistles can be very seductive. Not to mention all those bespoke finishes you can choose from. New can be pretty appealing.

But, buying an existing or recently built unit, and modernizing it to your liking, is also worth considering.

For starters, with an older condo, you can get in the market for about $700 per square foot. A new unit, on the other hand, can run you anywhere from $1,100 to $1,200 per sq. ft. As you can see, there can be a significant cost implication in going the new route.

To be sure, new condo showrooms are impressive, with elegant, lifestyle-rich brochures and other displays that highlight the irresistible common elements. But here’s the thing. When you consider an existing condo, there are other advantages. For instance, you will see exactly what the space and building look like. Nothing is left up to the imagination. For some people, that’s reassuring.

Moreover, with a fraction of the money you save by buying an existing unit, you can renovate the bigger space you acquire, with the contractor of your choice. Also, you can work with your contractor to find the exact finishes that suit your tastes and budget. And, importantly, you’ll get a real sense of how design changes will play out with your floorplan, because the unit already exists.

So, you can afford more space, get a customized renovation, and have control over what that looks like by going with an existing unit. It’s an alternative way to think about it.

Another consideration is that a Purchase Plus Improvement Loan can give you even more buying power. If you wish to renovate, the value that would add to your unit will increase its overall value. With such a loan, you can borrow up to 10 per cent of the total price of your property to fund the improvements. Your contractor will work with you to break down the scope of the work and all associated costs.

Those attractive common elements in brand new buildings are great. But if you’ll spend the majority of your time in your unit, renovating it and adding your own personal touches can make buying resale a compelling option.

GUY SOLOMON is the founder and CEO of Penguin Basements, started in 2011 to bring a standard of process and professionalism to a burgeoning industry.


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Come Home to Something New

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Come Home to Something New

And it’s no surprise. Because home buyers across the country are expecting more these days. More space. More windows. More closets. More conveniences. And more dazzle. The kind of “mores” you just don’t find in older homes, no matter how cozy they are. While many home buyers are attracted by the “mores” new homes have to offer, they also say they find the “lesses” very appealing. Less maintenance. Less repair work. And less costly heating and cooling bills. Builders are listening closely to the “mores” and “lesses” that their buyers are demanding. And they’re responding with dramatic new home designs that offer a whole new world of attractive style options and amenities at an affordable price. Sure, older homes can be quaint. But when it comes to design, comfort, convenience and value, nothing compares to a brand new home. When asked what factors motivated them most to “buy new,” home shoppers across the country cited the following reasons:

“…livable floor plans”


New homes these days feature maximum light and spaciousness. Whether modest or grand, new home layouts combine informal areas for family activities, workable kitchens for comfort and ease, gracious formal rooms for elegant entertaining and cozy areas for privacy.

“…imaginative design” Open and airy design appeals to a majority today’s new home buyers. To accommodate this trend even small, compact homes are being built with soaring ceilings, dramatic entry ways, deluxe master baths and innovative windows for a feeling of spaciousness.

“…lots of light”

A house filled with natural light bestows warmth, charm and uplifting feelings on those inside. To capture as much sunlight as possible, builders are making use of innovative strategically planned windows, sky lights and variety of sun spaces that make new homes look and feel more open, inviting and spacious.

“…durable, low maintenance materials”


New home builders are wise to affordable, earth friendly, low maintenance building materials that make it possible to conserve natural resources without sacrificing comfort. For example, “engineered wood” – a man-made composite lumber – uses half of the wood fiber of sawn lumber, but is considered stronger and much cheaper than the conventional product. A wide variety of other innovative materials – many of which are recycled – are also finding valuable uses in new home construction.


Here’s a fact that hooks many a new home buyer. New homes consume half as much energy as homes built prior to 1980. Thanks to more efficient heating and cooling systems, better windows, controlled air filtration and improved insulation, new homes can save owners substantial sums every month. Besides the economical advantages, HVAC systems in new homes also provide more comfort and convenience year round.

“…fire-protection & other safety measures”

Occupants of new homes are almost six times less likely to die in fires than occupants of older homes. A growing number of new home buyers are aware of this statistic and factor it into their purchasing decision. Throughout the country more and more builders are offering the latest smoke detection systems, circuit breakers and ground fault interrupters making new homes a safer choice for concerned families.

“…healthy living environment”


When it comes to health risks, new homes offer clear advantages. Asbestos– which can cause serious respiratory disease – has been removed from shingles, piping, cement board, roof tar, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and insulation. Lead is no longer used in paint or as solder for plumbing. Formaldehyde emissions from particle board and hardwood plywood also have been eliminated. What’s more, in certain regions of the country, new radon prevention techniques are being built into new homes to prevent potential health problems.

“…stronger, quieter construction”

Extra bracing and framing anchors help new homes with stand high winds, storms and even earthquakes. In addition, new building materials make roofs and floors stronger and quieter than those older homes where board sheathing was used. New kinds of trusses for roofs and floors increase strength and also allow builders to offer a much wider range of design possibilities by eliminating most bearing walls.

“…abundant storage space”


Closets, closets and more closets. It seems new home buyers just can’t have enough of them. Home builders realize that storage space is something their purchasers crave. They’re responding with walk-in closets, built-in shelving and innovative storage areas to meet their buyer’s growing demands.

“…less upkeep, less hassle”

With siding, windows and trim that never require painting, new homes are not only easy to maintain, they also keep their fresh attractive appearance year after year. Also worth noting, decks that embellish new homes these days are typically made of pressure treated lumber designed to resist rot and insects and retain their beauty from season to season.

“…more luxury and convenience”


Enter a new home and you’ll immediately notice amenities designed to add ease to your lifestyle. You’ll find state-of-the-art kitchens with beautiful and functional built-in appliances, high-efficiency central heating and air conditioning, numerous electrical outlets, plus luxurious bathrooms with large vanities, mirrors, medicine cabinets, enclosed showers and often whirlpool tubs. Look around. You’ll see that new home communities tend to look even better with age! As owners add personal decorative touches and landscaping, the homes in a new community acquire added charm… and added value.

“…a home that will age well and appreciate”

Research shows that in many cases new homes appreciate more, at a percentage of their original cost, than older homes.

“…new homes are better homes”

If you’re hunting for a new home that satisfies all of the items on your wish list, “new” is definitely the way to go. So why deprive yourself any longer? Once you’ve made your move to your new dream home, you’ll wonder how you survived so long without it.


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