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Key Things to Look for When Buying a Condo

Hunting for a new home, especially in today’s housing market, can be a dizzying experience. Even once you’ve nailed down your list of “must-haves” and “that would be lovelies”, you have to determine your budget and what type of a mortgage you could be approved for. This is one aspect of the whole process where a mortgage broker can be indispensable. We know the trade and we know the banks; at Mortgage West – The Mortgage Centre, we can help you navigate the overwhelming paperwork involved with applying for mortgages, as well as get you the best rates possible for your credit and situation. We will be there to help you every step of the way, and one of the very first steps on this wonderful journey is deciding exactly what type of property you’re looking for.

One option that appeals to a lot of first-time buyers, as well as those looking for a simpler situation in which to retire, is the condo. There are a lot of benefits to choosing a condo, so here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering this option:

New Developments

Many developers will sell units in their condo building before construction has been completed—or even begun! Often this is how they generate the income to finish the job. There are advantages to buying from a new development. If you are choosing a unit based on floor plans, you can make requests for adjustments. A tip: Do not sign any approval documents until you are satisfied with the plan. Ask to see the elevations, too, so you can examine your storage space, counter heights, etc. Many new homeowners regret rushing into it because they feel pressured by the developers. Still, they might not be able to change as much of the plan as you would like, so keep in mind that you are buying your home based on plans alone.

If your condo is move-in ready, you should also be sure that the unit is entirely new, with no previous occupants or unknown issues. Sometimes, new condos are built from old buildings that have been for the most part torn down; so the foundation and windows, for example, could be the same.

Most new developments go up in growing neighbourhoods, so if you want to be near the action, this is another bonus.

Resale Condos

Buying a resale condo is much more similar to buying a traditional house. You will be able to go to the unit for a viewing, request records about the unit and buildings history, and get a sense of the area in real time. Unlike traditional houses, you get the added benefit of seeing how your neighbours interact right away and to assess whether the feel of the building fits your lifestyle: how much does sound travel, are there any community events? Large downtown complexes can sometimes feel anonymous but the sense of community within a condominium is part of the appeal for many buyers. Many buildings have shared garden or roof spaces, as well as ample opportunity for involvement.

Condo Fees

If you decide on a condo, it is important to factor in the condo fees into your budget. These are not a part of your mortgage payments: the monthly fees go towards management and upkeep of the building as a whole. A portion of the fee is set aside for major renovations down the line, while some is used to pay maintenance staff or provide any other services the building offers. When considering a condo, it is a good idea to ask the management how exactly they allocate the fees, and whether they anticipate any large repairs in the next few years (i.e. the roof, brick, elevator, etc.).

If you are considering a condo for your next home or have questions regarding any part of your mortgage process, please contact Rose Blankenagel at Mortgage West – The Mortgage Centre today.