Buying a Condo Checklist
Condos can make the perfect home or property investment, but take into consideration these important factors.
Usually cheaper than house and lots, condos are a great alternative for those who want to live close to the city. But they vary in size and facilities, and some come with hidden fees.
So buyers need to look past the price and really get to know the pros and cons of each property before signing a contract.
Here is a checklist to help you buy your perfect condo.
1. Ask About Association Fees
Buying a condo generally means buying into an association scheme, which is a type of ownership where people own their condo and share in the ownership of the buildings common areas.
Associations charge the owners annual fees, or ‘levies’, to cover the cost of maintaining a buildings common areas and facilities. These fees depend on the size of the building complex and the facilities they include.
As a result, modern apartment buildings with lifts, pools and gyms tend to charge higher fees. So it is worth finding out much these are, before you decide whether to buy a property.
2. Research the Owners Association
When buying into a condo building, you will most likely become a member of the buildings association.
These associations have the power to enforce strict rules on noise, pet ownership and the use of common areas, so it’s important to do your homework to make sure their rules are a good match for you.
Some owners corporation also require members to attend regular meetings, while others are much more relaxed.
Check out the owners corporation, ask the broker if they know what they are like, and, if you can, take a look at the minutes of recent meetings and financial information for further information.
3. Check out Nearby Facilities
In most cases, condo living means less space, so it’s essential to consider nearby facilities before you buy.
For example, if you have a pet such as a dog, you will want access to an open area for them to exercise. You might also want a condo that has good access to supermarkets, shops and a gym.
These nearby facilities will also make your property more desirable to renters and easier to sell at a later date if that is something you want to do.
4. Look for Car Parking
Few condos will actually come with a carpark. And some condo buildings have a limited number of car spaces for purchase or rent.
This is why it’s more advantageous to find for a condo that has a car space included with the uni – unless that added advantage adds too much to the price of the purchase.
If you don’t have a car, then check out what public transport is available. But even still, consider getting a parking slot in case you sell at a later date – it could add a lot more to your selling price if parking is in short supply at that time.
5. Check Out the Neighbours
You can’t really decide who is going to be your neighbours in a condo building, but it’s important to remember that they can have a big impact on your quality of life in the building.
Organise for as many walkthroughs of the building as you can before signing a purchase contract. That way you will have a better idea if your neighbours’ lifestyles might affect yours.
If you are after a quiet home, then moving into a student-friendly condo building near to a university is probably not right for you.
6. Learn about Garbage Disposal
Garbage procedures differ between condo building. Some use garbage chutes, others have dedicated garbage areas to take rubbish, while others have garbage collection procedures.
If they have garbage collection policy, find out how strict they are about those procedures. You do not want to invest in a new home only to have your neighbours garbage sitting in your hallway all day and night. Bringing guests, or a potential purchaser if you want to sell, to your home will not be good if they have to walk through garbage to get to your condos’ front door.
7. Vacancy Rates and Airbnb Accommodation
If you are buying a condo to live in, it’s a good idea to find out how many units in the building are still vacant and whether any are being used for short-stay rentals like Airbnb.
This is because empty apartments can impact the feel of the complex community, and short-stay rentals often present noise and security concerns. If you are after a quiet lifestyle, you may inadvertently move into a quiet building but not realise it’s quiet due to the limited number of neighbours you current have. Once other units become occupied, your quiet sanctuary may become a lot noisier.
8. What About the Security
Condo buildings have more people coming and going than houses, so it is important to consider what security is in place.
Buildings have security guards provide more peace of mind, but also add to your annual association fees.
9. Structure and Layout
The structural strength of the condo building and the floor layout of the unit should be a consideration.
When inspecting a unit, look for things such as cracking, mould or broken items. Check what the walls and floors are made of so you get an idea of how the unit will insulate noise.