Are you planning a move anytime soon? Buying a home may be the most significant purchase you make in your lifetime, so it’s important to be prepared before you start shopping around. Whether you buy a detached house, a row unit, a townhome, or a condominium apartment not only reflects your personal preference, but it also has to do with the neighbourhood you want to live in and how much you can afford.
When some people think of a condo, they picture high-rise towers in an urban neighbourhood, like the ByWard Market, Westboro, or Little Italy. However there are plenty of condo options available in all areas of Ottawa, and you don’t necessarily need to live in an apartment suite to take advantage of the benefits that condo living can offer! These benefits might include a community association, property maintenance, landscaping, and insurance, all included in the monthly condo fees. Many homeowners prefer not have to deal with the stress and expenses of ongoing maintenance and repairs on a property, especially first-time buyers and downsizers looking to retire.
Once you’ve decided that a condo is the right choice for you, it’s time to begin the search for your new home. But how do you know which condo is the right choice for you, your family, and your lifestyle? Here are a few things to consider when weighing your options:
Your Personal Preferences
When you’re shopping for a new condo the selection can seem overwhelming, especially when a building hasn’t been finished yet and you aren’t sure what the finished unit will look like. Meanwhile, there are plenty of resale condo listings available on MLS®, and with those properties it can seem easy to know what you’re buying when you sign an offer. On the other hand, a new condo might offer incentives, like custom designed kitchen and bathroom cabinets or your choice of new flooring. It may end up costing you more in the long run to make these renovations to a resale condo.
Before you even start viewing homes, you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Write up a list of what you want versus what you actually need, and try to be as realistic as possible. If you have a dog, then you may need a home with a private backyard where you can put up a fence. Work with a Realtor® who understands the condo market in your preferred neighbourhood as well, so you can be aware of any upcoming plans for the area.
Budget is often the most important factor when it comes to buying a home, but with a condo there are a few extra things you may want to consider. When you buy a condo, you own your specific unit but you are also sharing ownership rights for the common areas of the building or the complex where you live. This means that you might save money by not having to pay the full price of regular property maintenance fees, the costs for repairs, and the upkeep of the property. Instead, condo owners typically pay a fee to their condominium corporation or association. These fees are often due monthly, and are shared by all owners to cover the overall expenses of the condo. The fees will vary depending on the services and amenities offered by the condo corporation.
Make sure you consider the condo fees in addition to the full price of the condo itself. You may want to compare the condo fees to other similar buildings in the area, and you should find out exactly what’s included in the monthly fee. Some condos include parking in the cost of either the condo fees or purchase price, while others require that you pay separately for a parking spot on the property. You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the condominium corporation and exactly what’s included in your fee.
You should be able to picture yourself and your family in your new home. You probably already have a vision of what you expect your life to look like once you’re all moved in and settled, so it’s important to choose a home that reflects your lifestyle! There are no hard set rules for the type of property that suits a given lifestyle, so be honest with yourself about your life and what you want. There are lots of great condo options available when you’re looking for a family home in the suburbs, and you can find plenty of trendy condos outside the downtown core if you don’t want to live in the city.
The important question to ask yourself is what type of community you’re looking for. Most condos, whether townhomes in Orleans or a 28-storey building in Centretown, will offer some sense of community to potential buyers. If you’d like to live around young professionals, retirees, or other families, find the condo that offers the type of community you’re looking for. With so many options available across the city, you’ll be sure to find something that will be a great match to your existing lifestyle.
If you’re planning to buy a condo in Ottawa, make sure to read our blog posts about upcoming or current condo projects across the city. You can also browse our website for a sales representative who can help answer your questions, or contact us directly for more information about Ottawa condos or the real estate market in your neighbourhood.
If you’re planning to sell your home before starting your home search, contact us for a free market evaluation of your home! An experienced sales representative will be happy to provide you with details on what your home is worth, at no obligation to you. And make sure you subscribe to our blog for the latest updates about the Ottawa real estate market, along with great tips for both buyers and sellers!