20 Tips to Help With Your Next Condo Purchase
Condos in Calgary are found throughout the city in all shapes, sizes and price points. From the deep suburbs of communities like Evanston to the downtown neighbourhood of Eau Claire, you’ll find a wide selection of condo listings for sale on the real estate market any given time.
There are several benefits of living in a condominium including living a low-maintenance, lock-and-leave lifestyle and affordability in relation to their single-family home counterparts. Learn more about the Benefits of Living in a Condominium today.
Whether you’re a first time home buyer or well-versed in property transactions, it’s crucial you get only the best advice when buying in such a dynamic residential sector like the condominium market and make the best, most informed decisions!
With that in mind here are 20 simple tips to show you what tasks are involved in purchasing a condominium and what to expect every step of the way.
I am ready to start looking for a condo. Where should I start?
#1. Hire a real estate agent
Hiring an experienced real estate agent who knows the condo market in and out is a great place to start. The right real estate agent will protect your best interests and help you make informed decisions while taking care of all the details throughout the buying process to make it as smooth as possible for you.
#2. Discuss third-party services
Discuss your options for condominium document review professionals, mortgage specialists and real estate lawyers to make sure the transaction is handled by professionals with your best interests at heart. Your real estate agent will typically recommend their own contacts to you for convenience.
#3. Mortgage pre-approval
Know your financial limit and comfort level by getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This is about making informed decisions about your finances and will give you an idea as to what price range to begin your search in.
#4. Consider additional costs
Take into account the extra costs like condo document review, home inspections, moving fees, lawyer fees and closing costs. Doing your due diligence with your finances to the very last detail will make your transaction as smooth as possible without any stressful surprises.
- Also see these Additional Costs to Be Aware of When Buying a Home
I have my realtor and finances arranged. Now what?
#5. Begin your condo search
Consider looking at a variety of condos to solidify the features you would like to have in your new place. There are a wide range of styles at any given time; from low rise to high rise to townhome styles and walk-ups, there are typically many floor plans, locations and construction dates for you to consider within your price range.
#6. Stick to your criteria
Do your best to buy a condo that meets as much of your criteria as possible while keeping resale potential in mind. It’s important to make a list of these features as sometimes the sparkly nature of show units and staged resale properties can make you forget about that important den feature you wanted for an office space at home.
- Also see our Calgary Condo Guide to Thinking About Resale Value
#7. Think about views
Look for a condo with an average to above average view within its complex. Avoid garage doors, dumpsters and other potentially negative influences on your view lines. Having a good view will always makes life more enjoyable and can increase the value of your condo when it’s time to sell. Make sure to ask your real estate agent about any possible future developments that could impede the current view of a unit.
#8. Visit more than once
Visit the condo during different times of the day. For example, the morning, afternoon, evening and night time will offer different light levels and traffic patterns. Going back more than once means you know exactly what you are buying to make sure its right for you.
#9. Condo exposure
Consider the exposure of the condo unit and its main living areas. Glass balcony doors facing eastward could make it extremely hot and uncomfortable in the summer time if there is no air conditioning, although you could always invest a few hundred bucks into a mobile air-conditioner if the building doesn’t have it already.
- Learn more at our Calgary Condo Guide to Unit Exposure
#10. On-floor location
Look for a condo that’s positioned away from the floor elevators and underground parkade doors. These doors are in constant use and if you can hear every time they open and / or close it may be a nuisance. Sometimes people are also quite loud when entering and leaving the elevator, another thing to consider when choosing the in-building location of your condo.
#11. Storey location
It’s important to keep in mind the walking distance up to your floor because if the elevators are ever under repair or down (elevators require frequent service) you will be forced to walk! This may seem trivial as most condo buildings have more than one elevator. But it really isn’t, especially if you live on the 20th floor and are coming home with eight bags of groceries.
#12. Parking and storage
In Calgary, a parking stall is a must and a storage unit is a huge bonus. Even if you don’t have a car, a parking stall is a necessity for resale value and the storage unit will make life that much more organized. Some buildings don’t have storage in which case you can get creative with storage options.
- Find out more at our Calgary Condo Guide to Parking Stalls
I have found a condo I like. What further inquiries are needed to make sure this is the one?
#13. Ask current residents
Ask some current condo owners what they think about the building and their living experience. If a resident is unhappy with the condominium board, a certain aspect of the building or neighbours of theirs, they will usually let you know about it!
#14. Building security
A safe and secure condo adds peace of mind to its owners and maintains the value of the building for everyone. Find the answers to questions such as:
- What security features does the condo building in question have?
- Is their 24 hour, 7 days a week security in the lobby?
- Can lower floors take the elevator to higher floors using their key fobs?
- Where (if any) are security cameras located?
The lock-and-leave lifestyle is a huge benefit of living in a condominium in the first place. If your building doesn’t have necessary security features then what’s the point!?
#15. Common spaces
Examine the condition of the condos common areas and lobby, i.e. elevators, lounges, rooftop patios, hallways, etc. Do they show pride of ownership? Are they well-maintained? If not, why is that?
#16. Visitor options
Is there visitor parking stalls available, and if so, how many? Is there a designated guest suite you can book in advance for family or friends visiting from out of town? Think about how you will accommodate your loved ones when they come by for a visit. This may be more important for you if you plan on hosting people often.
#17. Condo document review
Get a professional condominium document review. Ask questions like:
- How many renters are in the building?
- How much are the condo fees per square footage and what do they include?
- How much money is in the condo’s reserve fund?
- What is the developers history with condos?
You can never leave any detail undiscovered when considering a condo purchase. Remember that a condo document review will cost you anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on the details.
#18. No document review, no deal
No matter what, do not buy a condo without a condominium document review condition! This is paramount for your security and to make sure your buying into a good, well run building.
#19. Ask your agent for a competitive market analysis
When you find the perfect unit, make sure you have your realtor provide you with information on sales history, comparable sales in other buildings, area activity and more. If you don’t understand how these things can affect you now or in the future, ask your real estate agent to elaborate. Every condominium is different than another in some aspect; don’t assume anything and always ask!
#20. Condo experts
If you haven’t already, make sure to hire an experienced, condominium-savvy REALTOR® to walk you through these 20 steps to make sure you’re getting great value, making an informed decision and getting the best condominium that fits your wants, needs and lifestyle best!
Thinking of Buying a Condo in Calgary?
As a highly-experienced REMAX real estate agent and condo specialist in Calgary, I would love to be your complete condo guide. Put my connections, experience and expertise to work for you!
Call me anytime at 403-370-4180 or send me a message below for a quick, if not immediate response. I am looking forward to helping you accomplish your condo goals!