Is a Condo Right for You?

The dream of homeownership is often accompanied by a pivotal decision: should you invest in a traditional house or opt for the convenience of a condominium? Both options come with their unique set of advantages and considerations, and the choice ultimately depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and financial goals. Condos are often more affordable than houses, making them an attractive option for first-time home buyers, investors, or those who simply wish to downsize. They are also known for their low-maintenance lifestyle; external maintenance, landscaping, and communal areas are typically managed by the condo association, freeing you from many of the responsibilities associated with homeownership. Thinking about buying a condo? It can be an exciting and rewarding journey, but before you dive in, there are some important things to keep in mind. 

Sort Out Your Finances
Before you start condo hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will give you a clear idea of your budget and make it easier to act quickly when you find a place you love. Take a good look at your finances to see what you can afford. Don’t just think about the purchase price—consider all the extra costs like closing costs, property taxes, condo association fees, and any potential renovations or upgrades. Depending on the place you buy, you may have to pay for your own utilities, insurance, or other costs. 

Contact your Realtor
Engaging the services of an experienced Realtor is essential. Your Realtor can set up Multiple Listing Service (MLS) notifications for you so you can see what is available on the market, and keep you in the loop when a new condo, that meets your needs, becomes available. Think about the features you would like, such as garage/parking, yard, number of bedrooms, location, and neighbourhood amenities. This will help refine your search and determine what will best suit your needs, now and into the future. 

Visit Potential Condos
Once you have a list of condos you're interested in, visit them in person. Check out the units themselves, any common areas, and amenities to make sure they meet your expectations. Look for condo developments that match your preferences and budget. Pay attention to things like condo fees, amenities, rules and regulations, and the financial health of the condo association.

Make an Offer to Purchase
Once you find your ideal home, it’s time to make an offer! Your Realtor will guide you through the process, and negotiate on your behalf.  It is recommended that you make your offer conditional on your satisfaction of the review of the condominium documents, a professional inspection, and approval of your financing. Be prepared for counteroffers and be willing to walk away if the deal doesn’t align with your budget or needs. Carefully review the purchase agreement before signing. If needed, seek legal advice to make sure you’re protected throughout the process.

Understand Condo Fees
Condo fees cover shared expenses like maintenance, insurance, and amenities. Make sure you understand how much the fees are and what they cover. High fees could impact your budget.You will have a timeframe to review the condominium documents, a professional review company may assist you with this task. They will do an in depth review of the bylaws, budgets, reserve fund study, management agreements, and more to determine the financial health and risks that you need to be aware of.    

Removing Your Conditions
Hire a professional home inspector to check the condition of the condo. This can help you identify any potential issues or maintenance concerns. Send all your purchase documents to your Mortgage Broker for review. They will ensure you have everything you need and secure your financing. Once your conditions are satisfied, you will sign a waiver removing your conditions. 
Congratulations, you bought a condo!

Buying a condo can be a rewarding experience, with the right preparation and guidance, it can lead to a fulfilling investment and a place you’ll be proud to call home. For more information on buying or selling your condo, contact the Jason Rustand Team. We would be happy to assist you in all your real estate endeavours.