7 Tips To Know When Buying A Condo
Are you ready to purchase your first condo? Investing in property can be both overwhelming and exciting. But before you jump head first into condo ownership, it’s important to determine if it’s the right move for you. You should be aware of what’s involved, and whether it’s suitable for your lifestyle. The best way to determine this is by asking the right questions, like which neighbourhood is best for your lifestyle, how much can you afford if another buyer places an offer, and whether you need someone to help you with the process? So, before you step out the door to your first open house, here are some helpful tips to know when buying a condo.
BE CLEAR ON WHAT YOU NEED
Before you begin your condo hunt, it’s important to have a clear vision of exactly what it is you want. Consider factors like the number of rooms you need, the types of amenities and services that are important to you, the maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for maintenance fees, the furthest distance from work that you’re willing to live, and if you need parking or a pet-friendly building. This will help make it easier to short-list a number of available condo sites for you to view.
ALWAYS RESEARCH THE MARKET FIRST
Purchasing property is often the largest investment people make during their lifetime. So when it’s time to make a decision, you want to ensure it’s the right move for you. That’s why we always recommend researching the market beforehand, along with neighbourhoods that have caught your eye. This will help you gain a better understanding of the average pricing and available services. Specifically, you should also check information on the comparable sales figures, pricing trends, estimated taxes, projections for future growth, available amenities, and development projects that are in play or planned for the areas. If you don’t perform some basic research now, you may end up missing out.
GET A MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL
Beyond short-listing a number of condo buildings you like, you should also clearly determine how much you can afford, and if you have enough saved up for a down payment. Getting a pre-approved mortgage will give you an estimate on affordability and highlight the mortgage options that are available to you.
HIRE AN AGENT
One of the biggest decisions you will face when buying a condo is whether to endure your search alone or with a realtor. If you don’t have prior real estate experience, it’s highly recommended that you pursue the expertise of an agent. They have the knowledge and industry experience to navigate through the legal contracts and ensure the transaction process goes smoothly. It’s also their job to help you find you the perfect condo for your needs and to negotiate on your behalf to get you the best price. It can make the entire process much easier.
Often times you only get one shot at viewing a condo before deciding if it’s the right one for you. So you should never feel rushed or pressured by the agent when doing a walk-through. Remember, this may potentially become your home, so it’s well worth taking the necessary time to thoroughly analyze and inspect the property.
The best way to do this is to create a quick checklist that will allow you to compare the features of each condo that you tour. This list should include everything from the association fees and what they cover, the condition of the amenities, the quality of fixtures, the average age of residents (and whether you can expect parties every night), the level of noise inside and outside, on-site security measures, the building rules, neighbourhood services, and even how the front reception deals with questions.
ANTICIPATE BIDDING WARS
Another important tip to know when buying a condo today is to anticipate a bidding war. It’s important to know how much wiggle room you have within your budget if a bidding war does emerge. If you’re pre-approved for $600,000 and you go all in on an offer, you won’t have any room to negotiate if another buyer steps up to the plate. You should carefully plan what your initial offer will be on each bid and how much room you can afford to increase it if necessary without putting any strain on your finances.
BE PREPARED FOR CLOSING COSTS
Many people forget or are simply unaware of the closing costs that are required during the purchasing process. And these costs can put a real damper on your finances if they’re not properly planned for. A professional agent or attorney can help you calculate all the required payments so you don’t get blind-sided by any unexpected costs after you’ve gone under contract.