5 Things to Keep in Mind While Buying a Condo

Ok, so you just got off the phone with your Mortgage Specialist and they have great news, you’re pre-approved and ready to start your search with confidence. But before you charge ahead, there are a few more things you need to keep in mind to ensure you strike the perfect balance between fitting your needs and your budget.

  1. Utilities & Maintenance Fees 
    When estimating your utilities costs consider the following:
    • The size of the space you’ll be cooling and heating
    • The age of the building, doors and windows
    • The efficiency of the appliances (e.g. washer/dryer, refrigerator etc.)

    Take a close look at these features in each property you visit and consider what improvements might be necessary to keep your costs as low as possible.

    When considering maintenance fees, it’s helpful to ask the condo board whether there is a sufficient reserve fund available for future repairs, if there are any major repairs outstanding (e.g. windows, heating/cooling equipment), and if there are any special assessments underway.

  2. Overall Affordability 
    Remember to think about not only what you can reasonably afford today but how prepared you would be to cover any unexpected costs in the future. A high-quality new build may offer the benefit of having fewer costly surprises whereas a unit in even a well-built older building may present more unknowns like unexpected major repairs or necessary upgrades.
  3. Condo Insurance 
    Getting the right insurance coverage is one of the more important decisions you’ll make prior to purchasing your new condo. Simply contact a TD Insurance Advisor and they’ll walk you through all your options, answer all your questions and help you find the best condo coverage to fit your needs.
  4. Location & Livability 
    Whether you’re moving to an older well-served community or a newer up-and-coming neighborhood, consider the following factors to make sure you’ll have access to everything you’ll need:
    • Availability of nearby amenities (shops, restaurants, gyms, banks)
    • Ease and length of travel to work, friends and family
    • Location of public greenspaces such as parks and bike paths

    Reviewing Walk scores is a great place to start.

  5. The Pre-purchase Checklist: What to consider before you sign 
    1. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of new vs older builds, keeping in mind that build quality should be a strong factor to consider.
    2. Is your budget flexible enough to cover costs that could increase? (e.g. mortgage, taxes, maintenance fees)
    3. How well do you know the builder? Have they had any claims or lawsuits?
    4. Are there any current claims (liens) or open lawsuits against the property or Condo Corporation?
    5. Who sits on the Condo Board? Are you confident with the representation you will receive? (TIP: reviewing the previous year’s budget may help you assess this)
    6. How well do you know the Property Management Company?

Keep these tips in mind as you shop for your dream condo and you’ll be ready to take this next exciting step with confidence. Happy hunting!

Insurance Bureau of Canada. Home Buying Tips. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.ibc.ca/nb/home/home-buying-tips
Daily Hive. 6 Things to Consider When Deciding to Move. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/td-insurance-house-moving-2017