You are considering buying a pre-construction condo, but you are thinking, “I have to look years into the future…”
Looking years into the future is definitely not easy. Here is some advice that you should take into consideration when you are starting your condo search.
You get what you pay for
Most people are familiar with the philosophy “You get what you pay for” but do not follow it when buying a condo. There is a difference between finding a deal and buying something just because it is cheap. When you are looking for a condo, make sure you are looking for the best location. Granted, you may have to sacrifice the size of the property for a better location. By buying a property in a triple A location, it will help keep the value of your investment far into the future.
Location, location, location!
As mentioned above, location is key. Look at any major city and think about where you would want to live if you were to move to that city. When most people think of New York City, they think of Manhattan. Then it breaks down into major attractions such as Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, Empire State Building and more. Major transportation hubs, stadiums, tourist attractions and business centres are what people look for. In Toronto, we have the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Union Station, Air Canada Centre, Financial District, Toronto Waterfront, Liberty Village, Distillery District, just to name of few. These are all great places that usually attract people from all over the world. Toronto is very much a growing city and as a city grows, there will be more investment opportunities, so look out for those major attractions when purchasing a condo.
Condo maintenance fees & quality of build
A lot of clients that I work with always wonder about the price of the condo maintenance fees. For starters, look at the size and number of units in the building. If a condominium has fewer units and the units are also larger, the maintenance costs would be divided amongst fewer owners. Therefore the maintenance fee would most likely be higher.
Typically, you calculate the price per square foot when looking at the maintenance fees.
Before you buy, also do a little bit of research on what other projects the builder has completed in the past in order to get an idea of the quality of build you could expect. There are some top-notch builders out there that not only provide premium quality work but also those buildings gradually increase their maintenance fees over time, so make sure to do your research.
When looking for a condo, another key thing to look for is the type of amenities a building has to offer. This is a really big factor in today’s condo market. I am finding that more and more clients demand for better amenities. For example, roof top pools and infinity pools are extremely popular. Other popular amenities that buyers look for are gym facilities, media rooms, fancy party rooms, guest suites, visitor’s parking, 24-hour security and concierge, which are all luxuries that condo living has to offer. While amenities are attractive and appeal to many buyers at first glance, buyers need to also remember that the more amenities a building has, the higher the condo fees will be, especially the case with pools and security, as those features add to the expenses.
A good walk score
Most condos are typically close to everything but pay attention to the walking proximity to places such as major grocery stores, banks, medical clinics, LCBO, upscale coffee shops/stores and other anchor businesses that might attract more people. Remember that these major businesses have done their research so you can piggyback off their choice of location. Another important thing to note is whether or not there is easy access to public transit. Ultimately, it is all about convenience.
Start with the end result in mind
As a buyer, you need to remember to start with the end result in mind. Think about what your wants and needs are and determine whether or not the condo you are interested in purchasing will meet all of your wants and needs. Do your homework by researching the area and the quality of build and always remember you get what you pay for. You will most likely pay more for a condo that is in a good location and that offers great amenities but recognize that it will pay off in the future!
ARIE BUZILO is a broker and an investor specializing in buying and selling properties all over the GTA. He works out of Century 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc. Brokerage.