Home & Housing

What to Consider When Buying a Condo (and Mistakes to Avoid!)

It’s not always easy to buy new condos in Griffintown, or anywhere else for that matter. Owning a condo involves large sums of money, so foolhardy planning and whimsical decisions have no place in the process. If you’re planning to buy a condo, then you have to take it seriously.

Critical Factors

The following factors must be considered in order to assess the actual viability of a condominium unit purchase:

  • Price. In real estate as in anywhere else in business, the road to profit is to buy low and sell high. But you may not be able to buy low if you’re buying in extra-popular neighborhood, or if you’re jumping in during a heated market. In these situations, prices may be inflated.

  • Real estate developer experience. You should limit your condo buying to the units offered by a local developer with a long history of successful real estate products in the area. The problem when you have a hot market is that wanna-be’s try to get in with the action and they end up building condo buildings with poor designs and low quality.

  • Logistics. Let’s say the price and the developer are both right. You will still need the logistics details such as the size, layouts, amenities, and the design. What you want is a condo building that feels like an actual community instead of a housing development for transients.

  • Location. The neighborhood is actually what many condo-buyers consider first, because often they buy a condo rather than a home to be near their workplace and their favorite haunts and services. You’ll also better off with a safe neighborhood.

Traps to Watch Out For

No one’s perfect, and sometimes even experienced real estate experts can make poor decisions. Here are some of the more common traps that you should avoid so you don’t lose your shirt.

  • Developer hype. Real estate developers can be rather hyperbolic when they’re trying to market and hype up their condominium projects. You need to keep calm and not let yourself get swept up with the dramatic presentations and supposed bargains. You need to be cool and sharp.

  • Buying without specific plans. Exactly what are you planning with this condo purchase? This is a crucial question that you can’t just shrug off. If you’re planning to live here, how long before you will wish to sell it? If you’re planning to rent it out, who are your potential tenants and how much will you charge? Who will manage the property?

  • Upgrading. Many people who sell their modified and upgraded cars have found out to their horror that their upgrades can actually lower the price of their car. You will have that same problem when you aggressively upgrade and customize your condo unit and then you have to sell it. You may find that your particular tastes may not be the same as the preferences of most condo buyers.

  • Not understanding the tax situation. Real estate investments are all about making a profit, and that is affected by the tax realities of buying, owning, and selling a condo unit. You should at least get help from an accountant with extensive experience in real estate so you know precisely what you need to spend and what you end up pocketing after taxes.

  • Ignoring slow sales. If you’ve been offered a substantial discount, you should wonder why. The reason may be because of slow sales, and that may be the problem you’ll face yourself when you sell your condo unit down the road.

It’s true that you can get better at profiting from real estate deals as you gain experience. But take note of the lessons you can gain from the experience of others—they may save you a lot of trouble and a lot of money!

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