Tips and timing when buying a condo

Whether you’re buying for the first time, downsizing, or are just tired of yard work and maintenance, there are many reasons people are still considering buying a condominium.

It’s no secret that the Calgary condo market has changed dramatically over the past few years. It seems everywhere you turn, there are large-scale condominium projects that are in various stages of construction. I’m not sure the condo market can continue absorbing them all. Apartment condos in particular have over seven months worth of supply right now. Year over year, the days on market for apartment condos has gone up 3.5%, while the benchmark price has dropped by over 4%.   

While that may give current condo owners concern, it also presents an opportunity for buyers, as they have a wealth of options to get the right place at an amazing price. Not a bad move right now, especially if you’re looking for an affordable entry-level home. As an investment, buying a condo in Calgary now, with deflated prices and motivated sellers, can pay off nicely in the long run when the market corrects and condo supply normalizes.

Still, many people are leery of buying condos.  High condo fees, paltry reserve funds and the looming specter of special assessments can make it a harrowing financial commitment. Buying a condo is different than any other home, and your Realtor can give you advice and guidance so you make the best possible choice. 

First and foremost, thoroughly review all condominium documents associated with the building you are thinking of buying in. A professional document reviewer can look through meeting minutes and financial statements to find any outstanding issues, which include the health of the reserve fund (used to repair and upgrade common areas) or if they are due for a one-time special assessment.

You should also ask for any available documentation for all recent or upcoming repairs and the fees incurred because you will be liable for those repairs once you become a partial owner of the condominium corporation.

You should also ask if the condominium corporation is involved in any ongoing and pending litigation. Disputes between condo boards, owners, developers and property managers arise from time to time.

Many buyers think that buying a condominium will make their lives easier and more convenient – no driveways to shovel; no leaking roofs; no broken furnaces or HVAC’s in the summer heat. But, things go wrong with condos, too. Just as with any home purchase, we suggest you hire a professional inspector. 

Condominium suite inspections typically include a thorough review of the interior of your unit plus a general look at the structure of the building. These inspections can cost from $250 and up, depending upon the size of suite and the time required. 

A condominium can be an excellent lifestyle choice, no matter what stage you are at in life. Keep in mind that there are many options available to you – whether it’s a townhouse, row house, apartment style or bungalow, there are condos available in every sector of the city. We can help answer all your condo related questions and help you make a purchase that best suits you.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of buying a condo, we’re here to answer all your questions so you make the best possible purchase. You definitely have choices!

– Bob