The Basics of Buying a Condo

There are so many perks that come with buying a condo versus other forms of real estate. 

Of course, there's the price tag, which tends to come in much lower than detached homes and even townhouses. Then there's the fact that many condonimumims tend to be built in or near city centres, offering close proximity to work, entertainment, and all the amenities that you could possibly need or want within walking distance or even a short drive or bus ride. 

And let's not forget all the features that tend to come with condos, such as fitness rooms, saunas, swimming pools, party rooms, rooftop decks, and 24-concierge, to name a few. 

But just as with all other types of real estate, it's important to fully understand the entire process before you make the decision to buy. After all, buying a condo is a big investment, and is likely the most expensive one you'll ever make. 

If you're in the market to buy a condo, here are a few things you should know about condo buying before you dive in. 

Condo Fees

In order for you to be able to take advantage of the pool, gym, maintenance of common areas, and other perks in the building, you're going to have to pay for them. These features don't come for free, and there's a condo fee that is assigned to each unit owner based on the square footage of their units. The larger the unit, the more you'll be paying.

Every condominium is different and will have its own set of amenities. Generally speaking, you'll be paying more for a building that has more amenities, and vice versa. You'll also pay more for boutique buildings that are located in highly desirable areas. Be sure to inquire about condo fees before you decide to put in an offer, as these can determine the affordability of the condo.

The Status Certificate

A condo might look amazing, be close to everything you want, and offer awesome amenities, but all of that means little if the building's corporation is in financial shambles. That's why it's imperative that you request a copy of the condo's Status Certificate, which will outline the current state of a condominium corporation and detail the financials of the well-being of the condo. 

If the condo's financials and reserve fund are not up to par, you could be putting yourself in a position to dish out more money in the near future. If there's not enough money in the pot, unit owners will be responsible for coughing up extra cash in case a large expense needs to be covered, such as a new roof or parking lot repair. 

A condo might look amazing, be close to everything you want, and offer awesome amenities, but all of that means little if the building's corporation is in financial shambles. That's why it's imperative that you request a copy of the condo's Status Certificate, which will outline the current state of a condominium corporation and detail the financials of the well-being of the condo. 

If the condo's financials and reserve fund are not up to par, you could be putting yourself in a position to dish out more money in the near future. If there's not enough money in the pot, unit owners will be responsible for coughing up extra cash in case a large expense needs to be covered, such as a new roof or parking lot repair. 

Renters

Condos are magnets for renters, and investors in real estate typically set their sights on condos to rent out. They're usually cheaper to buy and require a lower rent amount to cover the costs. Because of this, condo buildings are usually filled with renters, some more than others. While condo corporations may stipulate what the maximum percentage of tenants may occupy a building, it's still worth your while to find out how many renters are actually living in the building. 

Renters don't usually take care of their properties as much as owners do, though that depends on the renter. That said, you might have an issue with living among more tenants than owners. If so, be sure to inquire about this before you agree to purchase a unit. 

Parking Spots and Lockers

Do you have a car? How about a bicycle and other large items that wouldn't fit in your unit? If so, you'll want to have a parking spot and storage locker to house your car and belongings. When you're looking at condo listings, pay attention to whether or not there is a parking spot or a locker included. 

If not, inquire about how much it would cost to rent one. Many people specifically rent out parking spots to those who need an extra spot. Otherwise, you'll have to use visitor parking, of which there is usually very few available. 

Final Thoughts

Condo living is definitely very convenient, and it can also be more affordable compared to living in a detached home, especially near the city. But before you start looking for a condo, be sure to team up with a real estate professional who is well-versed in buying and selling condos in the area that you're considering buying in. Having someone who is experienced in this realm can help ensure that the transaction is a successful one and that you get exactly what you're looking for.