Top things to consider when buying a condo

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Buying a condo is one of the fastest-growing ways to get on or off the property ladder.

Are you thinking about buying a condo, but not sure where to start? In this blog post, we're going to share some of the top things to consider when buying a condo, so you can make the best decision for your budget, lifestyle, and future.

First things first, let's start with the basics. What is a condo, and why might you want to buy one?

What is a condo?

Well, a condo is a type of residential property that is owned individually but is part of a larger building or complex. This means that you'll own your own little slice of heaven, but you'll also have to share certain amenities, such as common areas, elevators, and maybe even the pool, a gym, and even a party room (if you're lucky).

Why consider buying a condo? Well, for starters, condos are often more affordable than single-family homes, so they can be a great option for first-time buyers or for those on a tight budget. Plus, condos typically come with a bunch of cool amenities, like fitness centers, rooftop decks, and concierge services, which can make your life a lot more fun and convenient.

Enough about the basics.  Let's dive into some of the top things to consider when buying a condo. Here are a few of our favourites:

Budget: Of course, one of the most important things to consider when buying a condo is your budget. You'll need to carefully consider how much you can afford to spend on a condo.  On top of the purchase price of a condo, there are monthly and annual fees such as monthly maintenance fees, property taxes, and insurance. It's a good idea to work with a financial advisor or mortgage broker to determine how much you can afford and to get pre-approved for a mortgage and what would your monthly carrying cost be.

Size and layout: Another important thing to consider when buying a condo is the size and layout of the unit. You'll want to make sure that the unit is big enough to meet your needs, but not so big that it's too expensive or difficult to maintain. It's also important to consider the layout of the unit and how it will accommodate your furniture and belongings.  With condo buildings, you’ll also need to consider which floor your unit will be.  Typically, the higher the floor, the more premium a unit will go for, but that’s not always the case.

Amenities: As we mentioned earlier, condos often come with a variety of amenities, such as fitness centers, pools, and concierge services. These amenities can be a major selling point for many buyers, so it's important to consider which amenities are important to you and whether the condo you're considering offers them.  One thing to keep in mind is that generally the more amenities your condo offers, the higher your maintenance fees may be as all residents in the condo share the costs of maintaining those amenities.

Maintenance and management: When you buy a condo, you'll be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your individual unit, but you'll also be part of a larger community. This means that you'll need to pay monthly maintenance fees, which are used to pay for the upkeep of the common areas and amenities. It's important to consider the maintenance and management of the condo building or complex, including the reputation of the management company and the condition of the common areas.

Rules and regulations: Every condo building or complex has its own set of rules and regulations, which are intended to ensure the safety, security, and enjoyment of all residents. These rules can cover a wide range of topics, such as noise levels, pet ownership, and the use of common areas. It's important to carefully review the rules and regulations of the condo you're considering and to make sure that you're comfortable with them before making a decision.  Also, if you are a pet owner, some condos allow pets, while other don’t.  It’s important to understand and know this information prior to making a decision.

Resale value: Finally, when buying a condo, it's important to consider the resale value of the unit. This can be difficult to predict, as it depends on a variety of factors, such as the location, condition, and amenities of the unit, as well as the state of the real estate market. However, it's still a good idea to research the resale value of similar units in the area and to consider whether the condo you're considering is likely to maintain or increase its value over time.

The financial health and history of a condo: When buying a condo, it is essential to understand the financial health and history of a condo.  As a condo owner, you will be responsible for common costs and repairs to the condo, as well as monthly maintenance fees.  Those costs can vary greatly depending on how the condo is managed and estimates of future repair and maintenance costs.  A status certificate is a document that provides information about the legal and financial status of a condominium or other property that is part of a common interest development. The certificate typically includes information about the condominium corporation or association, such as the governing documents, the bylaws, the rules and regulations, and the financial statements. Status certificates are typically required when a unit in a condominium or other common interest development is being sold or refinanced. The certificate provides important information for the buyer or lender, such as the current owner's share of the common expenses, any outstanding special assessments or legal actions, and any other liabilities or obligations that may affect the property.  

It is important to have a Real Estate lawyer review the status certificate for the condo you are considering and provide an opinion as to the overall health of the condo, as well as any potential liabilities you may face as an owner of a condo.  A proper lawyer review can save you stress and hassles down the road and reduce the chances of being surprised by extra costs down the road.

The bottom line

In conclusion, buying a condo can be a great option for those looking for affordable housing with plenty of amenities. However, it's important to carefully consider the location, budget, size, amenities, maintenance, rules, and resale value of the unit before making a decision. By taking the time to research and weigh your options, you can make an informed decision that will help you to find the perfect condo for your needs and budget.

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