August 15, 2022

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What Should You Consider Before Buying a Condo?

A home is more than just shelter. It’s how we give our families comfort and security, put down roots in our communities, and, hopefully, build long-term wealth.

The global pandemic brought these issues, and more practical ones, into sharp relief. Lockdowns forced families to spend more time together, highlighting the need for space and privacy. As remote work and school were thrust upon us, many rural residents became frustrated by a lack of high-speed internet access. And some city-condo dwellers resented spending extra to be close to things they no longer used, like theatres and restaurants.

These issues led to brisk sales in residential real estate, especially single-family detached homes. While some have been priced out of that market, for condominium (or “strata” in British Columbia) buyers, real estate may still offer opportunities.

But before you decide on a condominium as your next home, get a condo insurance quote, or think about buying one as a long-term investment, consider the following:

Image by Emelie Westman from Pixabay

1. Budget

As a prospective condo buyer, look at more than just the estimated monthly payments on realtor listings. These figures don’t tell the whole story. A condo is different from a single-detached home in many ways, one of which is added expenses during initial purchase and ownership.

For example, new, or substantially renovated, condos may come with taxes on top of the purchase price, like GST/HST in Canada. (Rebates may be available). Budget for fees from lawyers, real estate agents, home inspectors, movers, and other incidental expenses.

Once bought, condo owners are responsible for many ongoing fees. These include maintenance and repair for the common parts of the property, insurance, reserve funds, and other outgoings.

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2. Location

Many people choose to move within their towns or cities. Schools, work, family, and other anchors lead to fewer cross-country moves compared to local ones. This means that, for city-dwellers, moving into a different condo could be motivated by basic factors, like wanting more space to work from home when required. Often this can be found within the same building or neighbourhood, which eases the purchase process.

Neutral painted walls can help sell homes
Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

3.  Future Plans

Condo buyers should try to anticipate years ahead when researching where to live. For some, this means looking at things like marriage, children, and lifestyle changes. Others may want to consider retirement plans, convenience to healthcare providers, and travel opportunities.

Everyone wants to know that they are investing wisely. Past performance is no promise of future success, but demand for condos has grown recently, especially in big cities. The waning effects of the pandemic, comparatively lower prices per square foot, and the impact of higher gas prices on commutes, all contribute to making condos more desirable. 2022 could be “the year of the condo”.

There is no right answer to the question of whether you should buy a condo. Only you know if it makes sense. But considering as many issues as possible before committing will help you sleep at night wherever you are.