Condos have become a popular housing option for many different reasons – a smaller footprint is great for those who might be looking to downsize from a single-family home to something smaller, while their size often translates into more affordable purchase prices for first-time home buyers or new families looking to get into the housing market. If you’re considering buying a condo, it’s important to do your research to fully understand everything that goes into condo home ownership, as there can be differences between owning a condo versus a single-family home.
If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the housing market and buying a condo, we’ve highlighted some of the main things you need to know about condo home ownership.
Take Location Into Account
Condos are typically built in high-traffic areas such as downtowns and other urban centers, so if you’re looking to be in a quiet, family-friendly neighbourhood, then a condo might not be the right choice for you. However, if you’re looking to be able to walk out your front door and be in the hustle and bustle, then a condo might be the perfect place to call home. Location is also important to consider when thinking about things such as transportation and other amenities. If you work in a busy downtown area, opting for a condo a few blocks away might be a great idea, as it’ll save on commute times and transportation costs.
What Amenities Are Included?
One of the most appealing features of many condos are their included amenities. These differ from building to building, but some common amenities often seen in condos include swimming pools and hot tubs, gyms, shared outdoor spaces such as BBQ pits and rooftop patios, and common lounge rooms that everyone in the building can access. If you’re currently paying for a gym membership, opting for a condo with a gym might be a great way to help cut down on some costs. These amenities are typically included as part of the strata fees you pay to live in a condo building, so they can be a huge added bonus when considering a condo as your next home.
Are There Other Costs to Be Aware Of?
While condo prices are often lower than those of single-family homes and townhouse units, it’s important to remember that the listing price doesn’t include things such as strata fees and other costs that factor into purchasing a home. Strata fees are used to help cover the cost of building maintenance, access to amenities, and general upkeep of the property and its grounds (garbage removal, landscaping, snow removal, etc.). These fees can vary depending on the property, its location and the amenities it provides, among other things. It’s important to take this fee into consideration when looking at purchasing a condo, as it will become part of your monthly payment and might impact your budget. You’ll also need to remember to consider utility and insurance payments, which also won’t be included in the purchase price.
Consider The Long-Term Potential
If you’re looking to downsize, then you might be looking at a condo as more of a long-term investment. However, if you’re looking at a condo as a bit of a stepping stone to get yourself into the housing market, then it is probably a good idea to consider the long-term potential of your condo. Condos have excellent rental potential, especially in cities like Kelowna where you have a bustling student population. Rather than selling your condo down the road, you might want to consider if it might be more worthwhile to rent it out instead. Thinking about your long-term goals before making a purchase might help you narrow down your options, or might make one condo more appealing than another.
Regardless of whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or are someone looking to downsize, condos can be a great investment. Taking the time to do your research before starting your home-buying journey can help you feel better prepared for the purchase you’re going to make, and help you get into the condo of your dreams!
While selling your home might seem as simple as just putting it on the market and waiting for the offers to come in, there is actually a lot more that goes into selling a home than you may realize. If you’re looking for a home sale that will go smoothly and be as stress-free as possible, it’s important to sit down with your real estate agent and ask some questions that will help manage your expectations and better understand the entire home selling process.
Working with an experienced and reputable real estate agent is a great place to start, but we’ve highlighted a few questions to ask your agent to best prepare for your home sale.
How Much Is My Home Worth?
One of the most important questions to ask when beginning your home selling journey is what your real estate agent thinks your home is worth. Hiring a real estate appraiser is one way to determine the price, but you can also ask your real estate agent to perform a market evaluation. They will consider the current housing market and demand in your area, along with the specifics of your home, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and location to determine your home’s value and what the listing price should be.
Factors such as the age of your home, any recent upgrades or renovations, and proximity to different amenities will also have an impact on your home’s value.
What Costs Will I Incur While Selling My Home?
Another important question to ask your real estate agent is what costs you might incur while selling your home. One of the more obvious costs is the commission that your agent will take for helping you through the selling process, but there are other costs that are important to keep in mind. Some of these additional costs can include fees from a Notary Public or Lawyer, as well as any costs associated with moving, starting/canceling new utility services, and hiring cleaners to clean your home for the new buyers before they take possession.
What Do I Need To Disclose to Buyers?
While there are some things that you likely don’t need to disclose to any potential buyers in your home, in British Columbia you are obligated to disclose any and all known Material Latent Defects, which can include:
- A defect in the home or property that could make it potentially dangerous for occupants
- Anything that classifies the property as uninhabitable
- Lack of appropriate building (or other) permits regarding the property
- Any required updates that will be extremely costly to the new owners to repair
It is important to bring anything you feel may fall under a Material Latent Defect with your real estate agent early on, as they can sometimes have an impact on the value of your property.
How Do I Best Prepare My Home for Sale?
Another important question to ask is what you can do to best prepare your home for being put on the market and potential showings. One of the biggest things to remember is that your home will need to remain clean and tidy for both the listing photos and for showings, as that will allow you to best represent your property. The curb appeal of your home also makes a big impact, as it is the first impression people will get of your home. There are a few simple things you can do to help boost your home’s curb appeal, such as tidying any clutter from the yard, adding some bright flowers and planters, and painting the front door.
How Will You Market My Home?
While selling your home might seem as simple as just putting it on the MLS and waiting for the offers to roll in, there is actually quite a bit of marketing that goes into selling a home, so it’s important to ask your real estate agent what they plan to do to help market your property. The marketing approach is key as it can help attract buyers and make your home very appealing compared to others on the market. Some of the most common marketing materials utilized by real estate agents include:
- Professional real estate photos and floor plans
- Marketing materials such as flyers and brochures
- Advertising on real estate portals such as Realtor.ca and Zillow.com
- Social media marketing through the agent or brokerage’s social media accounts
Some agents also leverage marketing materials such as video, 3D virtual walkthroughs, and virtual staging to help your home stand out. Be sure to ask what your agent will do to help market your property to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.
While selling your home can be a stressful and sometimes emotional time, taking the time to prepare and ask the right questions can give you peace of mind that your real estate agent has your best interest in mind and can do what it takes to get your home sold.