Canada’s beleaguered first-time home buyers may have better prospects in finding more manageable purchases in the condo sector, but is this housing type truly a more affordable choice?
Vancouver agent Mike Stewart noted that nothing beats the expert advice provided by a real estate broker that knows the ins and outs of the locale of the prospective purchase.
“You never want to buy the best unit in the worst building because an individual property owner can do nothing effectively to change what's happening overall in a building,” Stewart said, as quoted by The Canadian Press.
“But the inverse is true. If you buy the worst unit in the best building, you can always fix your unit. But you can't fix the building.”
Condos also entail hidden costs such as maintenance fees, which is why it’s crucial to ensure that the condo’s strata council/management group remains transparent and proactive in resolving problems.
“Good maintenance and timely repairs maintain the value of the property, which is the value of everybody's investment,” Stewart stated.
Ottawa lawyer Leslie Kirk emphasized the need to thoroughly review the condo documents to gain a more complete knowledge of the building’s regulations and financial health, as well as to make sure that the strata council is keeping up with its responsibilities (such as maintaining acceptable levels in the reserve fund).
“You don't necessarily get to choose when you're going to make a major repair in a condo,” Kirk said. “There's also some condos now that ban smoking everywhere, including inside the units.”
Ottawa real estate sales representative Tammy Laverty stressed that ultimately, one should go for a condo only if it suits the current needs.
“If you have a big family and you want a big yard ... then a condo is probably not for you,” Laverty said. “But maybe if you're a first-time homebuyer and buying a brand new home is overwhelming or you want to downsize or you're really busy, a condominium is probably going to be a really great choice for you.”
Condo units in downtown Toronto seeing intensified demand
A cross-section of what a $770K home is in various Canadian markets
Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate