Buying a Condo? Be Sure to Ask these 6 Questions First
by C21 Atria
on Monday, April 2nd, 2018 at 4:03pm.
Condos are a fantastic real estate investment for a variety of buyers. From retirees looking to downsize from the family home to young professionals looking for a low-maintenance, high value investment, condos in Toronto are quite popular and their popularity is only on the rise.
So with so many GTA condos for sale, how can someone know which is the best one to buy? Between learning about the location and the basic stuff like the price and property taxes, here are six questions you should always ask before buying a condo in Toronto:
1 - Anything Related to Condo Fees
Condos are a fabulous option for both retirees and active professionals and families because they are low maintenance. This means that typical tasks like watering plants, shoveling snow, and regular maintenance is up to the condo association, not the homeowner. However, for this service, condo owners pay what’s known as condo fees. This is a monthly bill that covers everything that the condo association does for the homeowner.
When you look at the price of a condo, you must also consider the condo fees because these will also have an impact on your cash flow throughout the month. When looking at the condo fees, you should also compare what is covered. For example, if Condo A charges $300 per month in condo fees but doesn’t shovel snow, you might be better off paying $400 per month in fees at Condo B if there are more items covered in the fees.
2 - What is the Management Team Like?
The management team at the condo is going to be a big part of your life. After all, they will be the people you deal with when you need repairs or if your key fob mysteriously stops working and you need a new one. If the management team is friendly, prompt, and helpful, you should have no problems, however, if you discover that many homeowners have an issue with them, you might want to look elsewhere.
This also leads us to our next point:
3 - What are the Condo Owners Complaining About?
It’s common to live in a building with a few disgruntled residents, but if you discover that many homeowners in the building are complaining about noise, cleanliness or security in the building, you should consider a different condo. At the same time, ask if there are any pending lawsuits against the company because that will give you the best idea of whether or not people are happy.
Another thing to consider is the rules of the building. Many condo associations have guidelines and rules for residents, which must be respected. If you find that many people are disregarding the rules, it should be a red flag as well.
4 - Verify Your Boundaries and Ask About Storage
Unlike a single-family home that has a defined lot bordered by a fence or trees, condo boundaries are a little more vague. You should definitely ask about the specific areas that belong to you. For example, if the condo is a walk-up with a porch, are you responsible for the stairs and porch, just the porch, or neither at all? Finding this out will also give you an idea of the value of the condo fees.
You should also ask about offsite storage. Many condos come with extra storage rooms, sheds, or areas in the parking garage specifically designed for extra storage.
5 - Confirm the Parking Situation
Unlike apartments, where your monthly rent might include a parking spot, a condo is a purchase so you have to actually buy your parking spot. This could potentially add an extra $30-50,000 to your purchase price. And that might go up if you have more than one car. Ask whether parking is included in the price of the home or if it is extra. Additionally, if you don’t have a car, you should inquire about any rules surrounding renting out your parking spot. For many Toronto condo owners, this is a great way to help out a neighbor and earn some extra money.
6 - Learn About Future Developments
Nothing is worse than buying a beautiful lakefront condo with spectacular Lake Ontario views only to find that in the next year or two, a new development is coming that will completely obscure your view. Condo companies are not required to let you know what the future holds, but if you do your due diligence and ask about future developments, you can prevent yourself from being in a situation where you go from a nice view to looking directly in someone else’s condo in a few years when a new development is constructed.
With these six questions, you should be perfectly prepared to make an educated choice on the best condo for you and your family. To learn more about GTA condos for sale, contact Stephen Chow at Century 21 Atria Realty Inc. Our experienced agents can help you make the perfect choice.
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