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The housing market boom over the recent years is largely in part to do with the growth of the condo market segment. Many more consumers are buying into the ‘Condo Lifestyle’ in Toronto and Vancouver, most of which are still in the pre-construction phase. The thought of owning a brand new, affordable home, in an exclusive region, alludes to most consumers situated in these areas. Something that no one else has ever lived in is quite literally put, exciting to say the least!
However, there are certain risks to purchasing a sight-unseen home, especially one that is has not yet been built. Be aware, that before signing a purchase agreement, one should take the time to research and ensure they do not experience unexpected and costly surprises in the future do to naivety. The following are questions one might consider asking (and of course answering) as important steps in buying process:
What is the builder’s reputation?
Verify the reputation of the builder and/or project developer. It’s easy to investigateother condo projects they may have completed or are in the midst of being constructed. The internet is always a great place to start. One can also contact the completed projects condo council or board and get the opinions of members, who pre-purchased their condos, in regards to the builder’s reputation.
Review the floors plans and condo specifications
The dimensionsof a model unit may sometimes look bigger on paper than they really are once the condo had been completed. It is advisable that the purchaser holds the builder to these measurements (within reason) upon signing an agreement, so that you can ensure the space you are investing in is actually what you’ll be receiving. Further, oneshould verify if any electrical work, ductwork, or other such mechanical items will interfere with walls, closets, or ceiling heights.
What plans are there to develop the neighbourhood?
Contact the business association in the Vancouver or Toronto neighborhoodin order to find out what future development plans there are in addition to the build you’re considering. Will there be future construction projects erected which could ultimately block your view, limit access, or deter you in any other way from living in this new condo? Will future neighbourhood development plans improve or lower your overall quality of life?
Will construction be completed on time?
Delays in construction projects are a reality. Be aware, that fault cannot always beplaced upon the builder. However, it is recommended that the buyer push for a clause in his/her purchase agreement contract for a “drop dead” date. This date will protect the purchaser and stipulate when the builder must begin compensating an individual for any delays. In addition, it does not hurt to have a contingency plan in place should the build exceed the closing date.
What is included in the condo’s maintenance fees?
Having access to parking, fitness facilities and a pool are wonderful amenities in a building, but what other provisions are accounted for with respect to repairs in or around the condominium as part of the maintenance fees? Are some utilities included in these monthly fees? For any utilities that are not included, are they on separate meters as if to ensure one does not get stuck paying more than their fair share?
What is included in the condo’s purchase price?
What types of flooring, countertops, cabinets, appliances, and other options are offered for the price? Is there an option to upgrade certain aspects of the home? Is there a possibility that the selections one makes can be changed during construction? Will the buyer be notified and given the opportunity to make new selections?
Visit a real estate lawyer
Once you have the answers to all of your questions, and your unsigned pre-purchase agreement in hand, take the time to consult with a real estate lawyer and have them review all the provisions of the contract to ensure your rights are projected and there is recourse should the builder fail to deliver the home on time and goes beyond the “drop dead” date. If everything is in order, then set a time to sign the contracts and obtain pre-approved financing for your new condo.
How can you make this your home?
Condominium lifestyle living in Toronto and Vancouver is laid back and virtually maintenance free; hence the high price one might pay in fees. Nevertheless, any rules and regulations that may or will be implemented before or after the condo is built are generally upheld stringently. One may consider inquiring if certain alterations to their unit are permitted (both indoor and outdoor), before making a purchase.
New builds often dictate to occupants that the façade of a building is kept looking the same or that it follows the condo rules with respect to colors and more importantly, building codes. After all, these spaces are usually considered “common areas.” Outdoor balconiesare a prime example of this.
Some condominiums do not allow additions to areas such as these before getting approval; one should consider the roadblocks before signing the dotted line and limiting the design of new space. Upon confirming the limitations with respect to renovations (if any), the purchaser can add the desired personal touches to make a new condo feel like home. Designer Deck’s outdoor floor tiles and lighting systems are a wonderful addition to an application such as this. To learn more about these products, contact Designer Deck today at 905-669-5252.