5 Essential Tips for New Condo Buyers
- September 10, 2015
- By Cody Battershill
5 Essential & Easy-to-follow Tips for New Calgary Condo Buyers
With so many new condominiums going up for sale on Calgary's real estate market, how do you know which one is right for you?
Well, its a good thing that you have identified that a lock-and-leave lifestyle offered by a condo is something you desire... now it's time to move onto the next step.
There are many unique details accompanying a new Calgary condo not found with other types of property ownership such as:
- condo fees
- possible pet restrictions
- storage solutions
- condominium bylaws
...and the fact you own a share in the condominium corporation to name a few. See our New Calgary Condo Guide - Choosing the Right Developer.
As a Certified Condominium Specialist (CCS) and top producing REMAX Canada, I wanted to share some simple tips on how you can make the most educated and informed decisions possible when looking at that those shiny new condo sales centres and show suites around Calgary.
Tip #1 - Focus on the walls
Its crucial to look beyond the fancy interior design, expensive and beautiful appliances, mood lighting, pleasant smells and cappuccino machines and focus on the walls!
What do I mean by "focus on the walls" anyways?
For starters, every single aspect of a sales centre and show suite has been carefully crafted and assembled by skilled merchandisers and interior designers to sell sell sell the floor plan you are buying.
When you move into your condo on possession day it is going to be just you and the walls... no interior designers, no music, no mood lighting and certainly no awesome beautiful and contemporary show home furniture.
Therefore, you need to try and see the condo in the sales centre the same way as you will when you take possession: walls, paint, flooring and a kitchen (with no cappuccino machine yet, unfortunately).
By looking beyond the sparkle, you will see the condo for what it is, a place to come home to, to hang your clothes in and hang out with your friends at, a place to brush your teeth.... a place to call home.
Yes, you will eventually decorate it and might have amazing taste, but with that aside at least you will know that you have made your decision based on the fundamentals of the building, space, features, layout and the real intrinsic value and not the show room glamour and shine of the sales centre.
Focus on the walls and you will make a better decision, based not on how we all envision we live, but on your own stuff, your own needs and how we actually do live our day to day lives. Also, check out these 15 Tips for Buying a New Calgary Condo for a further guide!
Tip #2 - Price per square foot
Price per square foot is one metric commonly used in comparing condos.
Take the price of the condo then divide by the total size in square feet and you get the price per square foot, which is an important measure to consider when buying a condominium of any age.
When you are shopping for a new condominium, it is important to do your homework, make an informed decision and compare all things equally.
Take the final price of the unit you are interested in, calculate the GST, any upgrades, storage or parking stalls not included in the price, add your upgrades and then re-do your calculations. Now you will have your true price per square foot.
Do that same process for every condo you are considering on an even basis and you will get a true comparison of the "value" in each building.
There are several factors which may affect the price per square foot in every building. For example, the floor height, exposure, upgrades, views, ceiling height, in-house amenities and location all affect the price per square foot, which means a unit on floor 2 of a building might have a completely different price per square foot than the same unit on floor 22.
Again, the most important thing is to make the most informed decision. If two buildings are very similar in features, design, layout, location etc. and the price per square foot is $100 higher in one building, it should make you want to ask more questions and really understand the reason why that is.
Maybe it is a better building OR maybe its not the value that you thought it was. Price per square foot comparisons are crucial, just as much as avoiding these 5 Biggest Mistakes New Condo Buyers Make.
Tip #3 - Construction zones
Construction can be very annoying, especially when you live in a construction zone and are woken up at 7am to an unexpected jackhammer outside your window.
When considering buying a new Calgary condo, ask about future towers and phases. Is it a single tower project or are there four more to be built afterwards, extending the time that your new place will be surrounded by construction?
This is important for you to know. No matter what anyone says, construction is noisy and can be a nuisance if you buy a new Calgary condo only to move in and find yourself living in a construction zone for the next few years.
Be informed and get all the facts before signing on the dotted line!
Tip #4 - Your permanent view
If you are buying a new condo specifically for an amazing view or line of sight, then you'll want to make sure you wont be losing it anytime soon.
Again, make sure you have all the facts. For example, if you buy in tower 1 with a great skyline view on the 18th floor and tower 2 is going to be 19 floors high, then make sure your aware of what your permanent view will be - not your temporary view!
There are many ways to find out this information, including:
- Asking your Certified Condominium Specialist (CCS) REALTOR® with experience and knowledge of new developments and other construction going on in the area
- Search online for news articles and stories about future development plans
- Drive through the area and look for low density sites where the economics might make sense for a developer to build on
- Go to city hall and inquire about development plans and permits for specific pieces of land
Buying a new Calgary condo in downtown brings many benefits; location, proximity to amenities, breathtaking views and so on and so forth, but you want to make sure that you make an educated decision and know exactly what you will be looking at for at least the medium term as this can affect your resale value.
Use our New Calgary Condos Insiders Guide to get informed even more so before you make your next purchase.
Tip #5 - Square feet
Square feet wouldn't make anyone happy... thankfully I'm not talking about someones oddly shaped feet and the difficulty in finding shoes that fit, but about the size you buy in a new condo compared with the size your REALTOR® can market and sell when you eventually move on to bigger and better.
There can be a difference in a developers size brand new and the size REALTORS® as members of the Calgary Real Estate Board are allowed to represent to buyers upon resale.
The standard for resale is the registered size on the condominium plan with a disclosure for what this includes. It can include, balconies or storage space among other things, so it is good to ask what is included.
Wall thickness is one common inclusion found in a lot of registered sizes and again it is important to know what you are buying. Therefore, you should find out what you are buying, what the registered size is and what is included.
The Calgary Real Estate Board goes by the registered size because it is a verifiable standard of measurement applicable to every unit in the same building and easily found at land titles on the condominium plan.
Know what your buying, know how the size was calculated and get all the facts! Find out more on New Calgary Condos for Sale in the downtown and inner city area today!
Questions About New Calgary Condos?
When thinking about making your condo purchase in Calgary, get all the facts and put my expertise to work for you! Leverage your time and let me do the research, comparisons, fact finding and provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision.
Call me today at 403-370-4180 or send me a quick message below, I am looking forward to helping you accomplish your condo goals!
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