What you should consider before buying a condo
The Toronto skyline has changed dramatically over the years. I’m in downtown Toronto a lot and I’m still amazed at what I see and Condo life has become so luxurious now too with lots of options. If you’re thinking of buying a condo, whether you’re a first-time buyer, downsizing and just want a change of scenery, there are a few things you should consider before purchasing a condo.
List of things to consider before buying a condo
1st is Location – There are a lot of factors to take into consideration with location. My advice would be to look at units in several different areas even if it’s not your first choice, you just might be surprised. And if anything, it will put your mind at ease that your original location you wanted was the right choice. So, location… something to consider.
2nd are Amenities – like… Indoor pool, Outdoor pool, Rooftop pool, Rooftop patio, Gym, Party Room, Games Room, Boardroom, Library… And the list could go on. Amenities can be used by owners, renters and their visitors. The number of amenities vary by condo, so depending on your lifestyle, it’s something you should consider.
3rd consideration are Maintenance fees – Maintenance fees are separate from your mortgage and utilities; this is an additional monthly fee for condo owners. It covers the cost to upkeep the building and common elements. The fee varies depending on the size of your unit, age of building and number of amenities the building has, and they do increase over time, so it’s something you need to consider.
4th consideration are Utilities – hydro, heat, A/C and hot water. Some buildings are all inclusive, meaning you don’t get a separate bill for any of the utilities I just mentioned. Which is sweet, but keep in mind, generally with an all-inclusive building the maintenance fees tend to be higher. Then you have other condos where you pay just hydro which is normally billed monthly. And then there are condos where you have to pay for all the utilities, hydro and water. Depending on your budget, utilities could make quite a difference so something you need to consider.
Consider Condo Rules and Restrictions Before you Purchase
5th consideration are Condo Rules and Restrictions – These are residential rules for all owners, renters and visitors. They vary by condo so you should be aware of what they are. Some common rules are regarding pets, BBQs, lease terms, renovations within the units, just a few examples. So, condo rules, important to consider.
6th is Reserve Funds – Is there enough money in the Condo Reserve Fund Account for repairs, replacements, updates, renovation or emergencies that may happen within the building? It could affect the amount of your maintenance fees too. It’s something to consider.
7th consideration is Special Assessment – Does the condo have a Special Assessment. In general, this is a financial obligation to all condo owners. The most common reason why there is a special assessment is because there may not be enough money in the reserve fund to do necessary repairs, replacements or updates so you need to know that and consider your options.
Parking is a Commodity downtown, consider your options when buying a condo
8th consideration is Parking – Parking has become a commodity downtown, so I had to add it to the list. Does the unit come with a parking spot, and if it does, take the time to look at the spot and where it’s located. And if it doesn’t come with a parking spot, can one be purchased? They could vary in price anywhere from $25,000 up to $90,000 depending on the building and location and that is for just one spot. Definitely something to consider.
The 9th Consideration is Visitor’s Parking – We just talked about parking so it’s only right I mention visitor’s parking. You want to know if they have visitor’s parking and is it free or do your visitors have to pay for parking? Some buildings are free during the day, but you must pay for overnight or register with security. So definitely something to consider.
Well, there you have it, 9 things to consider when buying a condo. I hope this was helpful for you. Feel free to leave your comments below. I’d love to hear about the experiences you may have had in relation to these considerations.
This is a three part series on purchasing a condo and in my blog I’ll explain what exactly is a status certificate and why it is important to have.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog!