How To Choose a Condo
Here are some tips to help determine which condo is best for you.
Once you've settled on a couple of preferred neighborhoods for your home search, it's time to pick out a few condos to view. Having a condo “wish list” keeps you focused on which features are most important to you.
When narrowing down your condo search, consider the following:
Condominiums: With a condo, you own "from the plaster in." You also own a certain percentage of the "common elements" - staircases, sidewalks, roofs, etc. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowner’s association administers the development.
There are several Types of Condos to consider, Apartment Style Condo, Loft Condo, Townhouse Condo, Live Work Condo and Co-ops.
Apartment Style Condo: This type of condo is the most common and your more likely to have a large selection of them to choose from. The city has been growing rapidly and the largest area of new construction is in Apartment High Rise Condos. With this type there are many advantages to cater to your lifestyle choice. Today Builders are creating a community in there buildings. Generally you will find a Concierge, a party room, a gym, a media room, saunas roof top common areas (some with BBQ's), guest suites and visitor parking.
Loft Condos: Lofts are usually in smaller buildings and often in areas that are much more urban. A real loft would be in an old warehouse that has been converted to a multi-residential building. In some neighbourhoods where tall buildings are not allowed you will also find smaller newly built lofts. These buildings dont usually offer all the amentities of a large condo building but each one will be unique it what it offers.
Townhouse Condos: This type of condo is the closest to being in a house. Its usually on 2 or 3 floors and will have someone to maintain the grounds. In some cases they may also have underground parking with access directly to your townhouse. Townhouse condos are also designed in Stack Townhouses. These would be 2-3-4 stories and may be split up into 2 or 3 suites. Basement being one, Main floor being another and the 2nd and 3rd being the other.
Co-ops: In some cities, cooperative apartments are common. With co-ops, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the whole building, and you receive a lease to your own unit. A board of directors, comprised of owners and elected by owners, supervises the building management. Monthly charges include your share of an overall mortgage on the building.
Weigh your needs, size, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you want to buy a newly constructed condo, an older condo or a "fixer-upper" that requires some work. Older buildings will usually give you more square footage for the money. The newer condos tend to be on the smaller side.
Make a wish list to clarify which features are most and least important to you when looking for a condo. Using this wish list will keep your condo hunt focused and effective.
While condo hunting, it's a good idea to make notes about what you see because viewing several condos at a time can be confusing. Use a condo comparison chart to help you keep track of your search, organize your thoughts and record your impressions.
Before you begin the condo buying process, resolve to act promptly when you do find the right Condo. Every REALTOR® has stories to tell about a couple who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally found it, and then said, "We always promised my Dad we'd sleep on it, so we'll make an offer tomorrow." Many times the story had a sad ending - someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.
Resolve that you will act decisively when you find the condo that’s clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long search or if the condo is newly listed and/or underpriced.
The following links provide useful information and are a great place to start if you're considering buying a home.