While finding a condo may seem like a daunting task at first, the quest for a condo that fits your criteria is easier then you may think. Here are a few tips that can help you in your search for the ‘perfect’ condo.
Location is everything! We realtors are not kidding when we say that the three most important points about any home is location, location, location! Everything about the location of the condo will affect your quality of life. Give careful thought to the neighbourhood, the street and the building’s location.
Re-sale value! This is where your realtor can help. With experience in the real estate market, your realtor will be able to help you determine whether your location and suite will have an advantage over other potential sellers in the future.
Lifestyle and Amenities! I encourage my clients to check out the building and the surroundings. Find out: is it well maintained? Is it quiet? Is the security good? Is the parking area well lit and easy to maneuver? Are the amenities what you want?
Scout the neighbourhood! Walk a few blocks in each direction to get a feel for the neightbourhood. Is the area well maintained? Are businesses or industrial complexes mixed in with residential area? It’s not necessarily a negative, but find out if they are likely to cause noise, traffic challenges or unpleasant odours.
Visit the site at night. Go after dark, using the type of transportation you will use when you live there. Do you feel safe in the subway station or getting off the bus? Is it an area where you’d feel comfortable walking after dark?
Explore the “errand circuit”. Visit the nearest grocery store: is it conveniently located? Would you enjoy shopping there? Is there a dry cleaner, drugstore, bank, post office, library, and other shops along the route? Are they easy to get to and pleasant to use?
Look for lifestyle amenities. How far away are the parks, theatres, place of worship and good restaurants?
Get the inside scoop! Talk to neighbours. Don’t be timid about talking to residents of the building. You can tactfully ask them to tell you what they like most and least about living there. Residents are generally pleased to chat with their prospective neighbours.
Examination time! Once you have decided that you’d like to purchase a condo in a particular building, there are many specifics you’ll want to find out about. The first may be the utility bills… now if it is a new building, this may be a bit challenging; however, the realtor with whom you are working should be able to at least give you a rough idea of that cost.
If the suite is equipped with appliances - stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and dishwasher - make sure they work. Turn on the stove, and check the temperature reading in the refrigerator and freezer. Find out how the heating and air conditioning is regulated. Make sure that it works in each room.
Test the water pressure and examine all doors and windows. Are the locks in good working order? Do the windows have screens? Look closely at the walls, floors, and baseboards.
Offer to Purchase! Having your agent protect your interest is very important. Make sure Financing and Status Certificate clauses are inserted in the Offer. Although you may be pre-approved, it is wise to include the financing clause to protect yourself in case of any problems. The status clause is also important since it provides you with critical information including budget information, whether there are any lawsuits against the corporation, and whether the current owner is up to date on their maintenance fees.
Your realtor should be genuinely interested in helping you with your search so do not be afraid to ask questions. Knowing what you want and what to look for will only make finding the ‘perfect’ condo that much easier.