Toronto condos have been selling like hot cakes for several years now, so buying one should seem easy – but it isn’t. You have to be aware of what to look for in a condo before signing on the dotted line otherwise you might find yourself with an investment that is more like a led weight instead of your ticket to financial security. Here we cover some of the basics to look for and to avoid when shopping for a condo.
Location is always key
Regardless of whether you are shopping for a house or for a condo, location is the prime element that will determine the long-term success of your purchase. Condo developments in up-and-coming neighbourhoods should definitely be located near amenities and services and the neighbourhood should already be on its way to gentrification. When it comes to resale, your condo’s neighbourhood will certainly play a huge role.
Encompassed in location is the surrounding neighbourhood – by this we mean that its important to find out whether there are other developments zoned for your area. If there are other condos in the works, then your building’s view might get obstructed and this will impact the resale value of your own building’s units.
Carefully inspect the final design of your condo complex. Is it a massive complex connecting several phases of construction and networking a variety of services from fitness centres to playgrounds to shopping? If so, you might want to think about what that will actually mean in terms of activity, logistics (parking, driving) and congestion. While it might look terrific on paper, in fact, a large complex will mean hundreds of residents sharing the same space and facilities and it may not be exactly what you were looking for.
Be sure to check out the developer of the project to see whether they have completed other successful projects in the area. You don’t want to tie yourself to a new player that isn’t yet seasoned enough to pull off the grandiose plans they have on paper. You want a developer that knows the ropes and how to deliver what they promise.
Condo madness has definitely taken over most Canadian cities lately with projects popping up on even the tiniest of lots. Naturally this has pushed pricing sometimes higher than is warranted. Be sure that you don’t over pay for a project. You should know the cost of similar projects in the same neighbourhood and understand why the condo you are eyeing is priced where it is at – this is especially important if you are looking at buying purely for investment purposes. You want to know that you’ll be able to resell the place at a profit and/or rent it out for one.
When it comes time to choosing your condo’s finishes, think long term and think in terms of resale – don’t upgrade fixtures and finishes just for the sake of upgrading. If you plan on living there long term, then by all means choose the finishes and materials that appeal most to you, but if you have a plan of moving in five years, then choose materials and finishes that will appeal to the widest number of buyers on the market. Always remember that neutral palettes and timeless finishes will always work well.
Finally, when looking for a condo, don’t believe everything a developer tells you. Remember that they are there to sell and they will do and say a lot of things to make that sale. Be sure that the condo has good curb-side appeal, because it will definitely count when it comes to resale. Lastly, if sales are slow – be cautious; there is always a reason for it.