What to Look for When Buying a Condo

Well it’s no surprise that the condo market is not doing all that great for sellers. Over the last year the statistics show a decline in sale volume and price. Average days to sell a condo Queen Peak is now 123 days, compared to 90 days in 2009. The construction of condos are still going strong and there aren’t enough buyers to go around. In NDG/CDN alone there are about 950 condos for sale, and since January 2015, there were only 435 sales in those areas. Which means it took 6 months to sell 1/2 the product on the market. And this area is one of the lucky ones.

So what to do?

Buying real estate is a great investment. 12 years ago after reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosake, convinced me that I wanted to get into real estate. I got my license and also bought my first property. Since then, with the real estate I own, my equity grew from 50,000$ to $300,000. Whether it be a house, condo or plex, buying the right one make a difference to your pocket book.

Buying the right condo

Buying a condo is easy, it’s when you are ready to sell that has the biggest impact. No one wants to be selling their condo for 12-24 months, however that’s what I see sometimes. To avoid this, there are some ‘rule of thumbs’ to follow. Here is my list of important criteria to follow when buying a condo for eventual resale:

Location, location, location… besides price this is the top of everyone’s priority. You want to either buy in an up and coming area, or an area that is already happening. Close to public transport, shops, restaurants, or some sort of feature that attracts people like a hospital or market.

Balcony. Any condo that I sell that doesn’t have a balcony, easily deters about 80% of buyers. People like to be able to walk out and most importantly BBQ.

Views. You might think windows facing a parking lot or an ugly building doesn’t bother you, however it will most buyers. With lots of condos to choose from, buyers will choose a great view over a brick wall any day.

Garage. If you are buying a condo, having a garage will give you an edge come resale. Worst case scenario, make sure that it has exterior parking. Winters in Montreal are a bitch and people don’t want to be shovelling snow on the street for parking or having to walk a great distance to get from their cars to their door.

Something special. There are a lot of cookie cutter condos right now. You know the ones… high rises with everything looking the same using low quality materials. Find a condo with a feature that is special. A funky brick wall, designer kitchen, patio doors to a balcony… something that grabs people when they walk in. Something that differentiates your condo from others. Something special that will want to make a buyer choose your condo over all the others.

Appliances included. A lot of condo buyers look for appliances to be included in the condo. It makes it easier for the move and a large part of the condo industry are new time buyers who will need them.

Size. Size doesn’t really matter. The closer you are to downtown the smaller the condos get for your money. That’s expected. However if you are buying a condo and in that area the average is 1200sq’, don’t buy a condo for 400sq’, unless the price per square foot is a steal. When it comes time for resale, all your competition will be 3x larger than yours.

The flow. Get your Feng Shui books out! Only kidding… well partly anyway. Make sure the condo you buy has a good flow from room to room and that it feels spacious and open and not boxy and confined. Painting all the same light tone of colour goes a long way in giving it that illusion, however a condo that doesn’t flow well will be noticed by buyers.

The whole idea of this list is to have a condo that will appeal to everyone. By removing a garage or having a smaller sized condo you will cut some potential buyers off your list. With the competition today, you want to attract as many potential buyers as possible.

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