Canada's Condominium Magazine
After renting for so long, the prospect of finally owning your home is exciting. However, the path to homeownership can be stressful, and many people do not know where to begin. If you are considering home ownership, the following tips will help guide you along that path.
The Search for the Perfect Condo
When renting, it is easier to find a unit because all you really need is a space that fits everyone, is cozy, and has amenities that you like. There is no pressure to find the perfect unit because renting is not forever. Leases expire, and if a unit no longer fits your needs, then you can move on.
However, purchasing a condo unit is a much more daunting process. You are in it for the long haul, so you want to find a unit that will meet all your family’s needs, offer spectacular amenities, and offer features and upgrades that will make it your ideal home sweet home.
Commit with Confidence
You will need to take a look at the unit’s drawings and specifications thoroughly to ensure that you have the space you need. Then it would be wise to look over the unit in person a few times before making any decisions. Do not be afraid to pop in unexpectedly, as this will give you greater insight into the unit and the building in general when management has not had a chance to spruce the place up in anticipation of your arrival.
Do you anticipate a great deal of entertaining? If so, you likely need a large kitchen and/or dining area. Are you starting a family? The pitter patter of little feet often come with the need for additional space. Does the unit have enough room to grow? Never make any deals or commit to anything unless you have checked it out thoroughly and are absolutely certain that it is something you can live with long-term.
Upgrades and Extensions
One of the most exciting aspects of purchasing your own home is the ability to make it your very own, from top to bottom. You can change much more about a home you own than one that you rent. For instance, you can upgrade appliances and change the flooring. In many cases, you can also knock out walls to make your space more open or add walls to create more rooms.
If you are planning any renovations or upgrades, it is important to find out the specifications before making the purchase. While most property managers are open to improvements, some have restrictions on what can be done, usually for aesthetic reasons. Furthermore, some walls simply cannot be knocked down due to electrical wiring and plumbing. Be sure to ask any questions ahead of time and be completely upfront and honest about any plans you have going forward. This will save a lot of hassle (and money) later on.
Quality Over Quantity
While a primary concern for buyers is the amount of space that a unit offers, another deciding factor should be the quality of the unit. The following questions are important when searching for your future home.
- When was it built? If it is a relatively old building, have renovations been completed to keep it updated?
- Does the building have adequate insulation to reduce noise emanating from neighbouring units?
- Do units have adequate heating and cooling? How so?
- How are odours controlled? This is a common complaint when living in close quarters, especially if your unit is located near the dumpster or other offensive odours.
- Is the building up to standards on energy-efficiency? If so, what special equipment or systems need consistent maintenance? Have they been properly maintained thus far?
- Who operates and maintains heating and cooling systems?
- What options are available for wall and floor finishes, cabinets, plumbing, lighting fixtures, appliances, etc.?
- Is the building part of a larger complex?
- Are there any plans for future construction, primarily that which might obstruct views you currently enjoy? Alternately, are any improvements being made that might make the unit more appealing?
Once you have your questions answered, continue the search and keep asking these questions about various other prospective buildings and units. Be sure what exactly is included in the purchase price for every unit you are considering. Does the price include condo board dues or maintenance fees? Once you have those answers, compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal, without sacrificing your household needs such as space, location, and amenities.
Construction in Progress
If the building is still under construction, you will not be able to view the condo in advance. However, you can still look over the condo’s plans and measurements. Additionally, you can request a disclosure statement from the developer, which will give you some indication of the rules and regulations, as well as information regarding finances, a summary of the condominium’s features and amenities, governing documents, and the condo’s budget for the first year after registration.
Bianca Condos by Tridel in midtown Toronto
Inquire about the occupancy date. If you are making arrangements to vacate your existing home by a certain date, you may want to find out if your purchase agreement allows the developer to extend the occupancy date. Check your provincial or territorial homeowner protection legislation to learn your rights in the event that the agreed-upon date is missed. Finally, it is always beneficial to consult with a lawyer prior to signing any documents. This will ensure that you do not miss anything important that might be left intentionally vague or that you might not understand due to legal jargon.