You’ve been renting apartments since the day you left home and you have managed to save a bit of money over the past few years. After listening to all the hype around low interest rates, “don’t pay your landlord, pay yourself”, and what a great investment real estate is, you are ready to look at buying your first place. Congratulations!
But before you know it, all the soothsayers start in: you won’t have enough down payment, what about all the costs of owning property, the hassle of getting things fixed when they break and so on. Pretty soon you don’t know if this is such a good idea. But don’t worry; maybe all you need to be looking at are condominiums.
The best place to start is with a mortgage broker, to determine how much down payment you need based on what you can afford for monthly payments. Not all mortgages are the same these days. Variable interest rates, locked in terms and balloon payments are just a few of the mortgage details you want to go over with your mortgage broker prior to buying a property. And keep in mind that some mortgages even allow you to buy a property with no down payment at all! So shop around, and find the best fit for your needs.
Once you know what you can afford to buy, find a real estate agent who will help you find what you want to buy. Condominiums are a very specialized segment of the real estate market; so find someone who knows this niche inside and out. What are the agent?s credentials, designations and experience in the area? Don?t be afraid to ask questions. Conversions, new construction, bare land condominiums and reserve fund studies are but a few of the considerations you as a new condo owner will be faced with. Your real estate agent can help educate and inform you.
But more than the initial buying details, your agent will also be able to match up your unique lifestyle requirements with the right condominium building. Do you want exercise facilities, pool, green space, big windows, extra storage, underground parking, and car wash, close proximity to amenities and transportation, concierge service? An informed agent can guide you through these and other items that will make your condo living experience all that you want it to be.
And what about all those hidden costs of owning property? Fixing fences, roofs, exterior painting, cleaning the parkade? With condominium ownership your monthly condo fee will cover most of these types of expenses. So you don’t have to worry about co-coordinating people to get the work done and take time off work to meet them. Of course, this will free up more of your time to check out the new martini bar or coffee house that opened up down the street!
Richard Bergeron is a licensed real estate agent with RE/MAX Professionals. He has been specializing in condominiums for more than 20 years, is a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute, teaches condominium courses, is the board president (4 years running) of a condominium building in Killarney and owns several investment condos. If you would like any additional information regarding your condominium real estate needs please feel free to contact Richard at 403-259-4141.