When it comes to purchasing your first condo, it’s easy to get emotionally attached to units that look good. While a unit may appear flawless, it’s crucial to take a long, hard look at the other details of the unit and the condo building itself. In knowing these details beforehand, you’re all the more likely to avoid problems down the road.

So, what’s a first-time home buyer to do?

We’ve crafted a condo buying checklist that outlines the most important considerations in buying a condo. When it’s finally time to begin your condo search, allow this checklist to guide you toward choosing the best condo possible.

Price Per Square Foot

The best way to understand the pricing of a condo is to determine the price per square foot of that condo. If the unit is 689 square feet and the purchase price is $899K, you can conclude that the price per square foot of the condo is $1304.

When you’re seeing multiple condos, knowing the price per square foot will help you better understand the pricing.

Maintenance Fees

Next, it’s time to determine what your maintenance fees are. These are the fees that every resident will pay in order to maintain the condo.

You’re also going to want to know exactly what the maintenance fees include. In some condos, maintenance fees are higher but include all of your utilities. In others, the maintenance fees will cover heat and water leaving you to pay hydro.

Condo Board Rules

Every condominium is governed by a set of rules. While some condos have a more relaxed set of rules, other condos might abide by more strict rules. For example, some condos might have a no pet policy.

Before purchasing a condo, you want to ensure that you’re aware of the rules and that they fit within your lifestyle.

Financial Health of the Building

What about the financial health of the building?

This is something that your lawyer will examine when they review the status certificate. Before buying any condo, your lawyer will read through the certificate to ensure that the financial health of the condo building is in good standing.

From here, your lawyer will either give you the red light or the green light on whether to proceed with your purchase.

Parking/Locker Specifics

If your unit includes parking and/or a locker, you’re going to want to understand where these spaces are and how they are maintained.

For example, is the parking an underground parking lot that is covered and protected from outsiders? Or, is the parking simply an exposed lot behind the condo building? If the latter, you’ll want to know whether there are security measures in place for this lot.

Tenant to Owner Ratio

Does it look like the majority of the residents in the condo are tenants?

In larger cities, some condos are notoriously ruled by tenants. As compared to owners, tenants generally tend to care less about the cleanliness and well-being of the building. When it comes to daily living, you’re going to be counting on residents that care about maintaining the quality of the building.

Your real estate agent or lawyer will be able to provide you with a ratio of tenants to owners that make up the building at that time.

Future Developments

In urban locales, it’s only expected for future developments to pop up in your area.

Before buying your condo, have your real estate agent inspect the immediate area. In doing so, they’ll be able to determine if there are any future developments soon to come to the area. This is worth knowing both in terms of the construction itself and in terms of the view from your unit.

While the thought of a new condo blocking your view might not bother you, it could affect the condo’s resale value.

Neighbours

When it comes to condo living, it’s safe to say that you’re going to be living in close proximity to your neighbours. When viewing the unit, try to get a general feel for your neighbours.

Do they have loud music blasting from their unit? Or, what about a persistently barking dog? While loud neighbours aren’t exactly a deal breaker for the perfect condo, it’s always best to be aware of this fact when making a final decision.

When viewing different condos, remember that the neighbours are also a great source of information. Don’t hesitate to ask neighbours about the building and what the pros and cons of the building are.

Before Signing on the Dotted Line

Short and simple, always do your research and follow a condo buying checklist before making your first purchase. While condos can be a fabulous investment, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you sign over that dotted line.