Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP)’s fall’s report indicated 57% of total homebuyers in Canada were first time homebuyers. Year to date this number is roughly around 250 000.
Looking at the Canadian Real Estate Market stats, average prices in Canada have increased by 6.3% from last October. Forecasted growth for the housing market in 2014 is expected to be at 3.4%. Condo living is becoming the norm for many Canadians. Homebuyers are leaning more towards buying condos vs single-family, detached homes.
Purchasing a home is by far one of the largest financial commitments that one will make it their lifetime. Homebuyers have to be careful what they are buying to avoid future problems down the road. With condominium living, its important to consider at least the four below points to ensure saving a lot of headache down the road.
Find out as much details as possible– Of course you need to ask a lot of questions. Find out about the builder/ developer, check to see if the developer has built similar buildings and if they have had any problems. Check the structure of the building; it is Concrete or Wood Frame, make time to read the meeting & AGM minuets, and always look at the financials to see how much money the strata has in CRF. Look at the engineering report if one has been done, and contact the strata manager to see if there are any special levies that are coming up. Small details are great pieces of information. Does the building have an exercise room? Are the equipment leased or owned? (if leased it would be much better as that would ensure that they are always running smoothly and less cost to you). Find out what your strata/condo fees cover and what are the costs that you would be responsible for.
Don’t Skip the home Inspection- This point cannot be stressed enough; don’t skip out on the home inspection. Make sure that your home inspector is qualified and reliable. Ask him/her to do a through check of the building to se if any major repairs are imminent. A good inspector will tell you the positives and negatives about your property, which may even help you and your realtor to negotiate a better offer. Even if the home inspection doesn’t pass, look at it brightly you spend a few hundred dollars instead of a few hundred thousand dollars.
Make sure you have the right coverage- Different strata’s have different requirements when it comes to insurance. Know what the strata covers and what your deductible would be. A simple incident like a dishwasher overflow can go down many levels and is a big-ticket expense if you are not covered. If you are renting your place make sure that you have tenants insurance.
Do your homework- Ask your realtor to show you comparisons, market data, and anything that would be relative to your purchase. Go to as many open houses or presentation centers as possible. Make sure what you are getting is really what you want. Is you new property close to public transport? Will it be near groceries & shops? Is there a warranty on the property? And of course, how marketable is your property for resale down the road.