Shopping for a pre-sale condo is a very exciting process, but it can also be very information heavy. After visiting many presentation centres and touring numerous display suites, things can get confusing! To help out, MAC has put together this quick checklist you should consider when making a real estate purchase decision.
- Get an expert
Consider choosing a great realtor before you start your new condo search. A good realtor will help you ask the right questions and keep track of your options.
- Floorplans and Pricing
Always obtain copies of the floorplans you are interested in. Have the salesperson write the down the prices directly onto the floorplans to make things easier to remember when you get home. Ensure you also understand the applicable taxes.
- Monthly Strata Fees
Often strata fees are provided on an estimated per square foot cost basis. Understand what is included and what’s not. For example, a small development may only include the basic costs of landscaping, insurance and garbage removal, while larger communities may also include higher operational costs for a concierge service, swimming pool, fitness centre, etc.
- Storage and Parking
Ask if the purchase of a home includes a separate storage locker and parking stall(s), and if not, if there are any available for purchase (now or closer to completion). Ask about the size of each and when they will be assigned. If you are fortunate enough to get two parking stalls, ask if they will be side by side.
- Ceiling Heights and Windows
It’s hard to judge from a floorplan what the ceiling heights are, so ask about the various rooms of the home you’re interested in. Kitchens and bathrooms are sometimes impacted by a slight drop. And in other cases, a top floor may have vaulted areas. Window sizes are also hard to discern from a floorplan so ask the salesperson to clarify if this is important to you.
Read the features sheet carefully to understand what is included and what features are optional. Having the ability to choose some upgrades could really enhance your living experience but always understand the costs. Ask about millwork pieces or special lighting features sometimes seen in display suites as they are likely designer items and are often not included as part of the standard finishing package or available as upgrade options.
- Strata Bylaws
Be sure to read through the strata bylaws to check for restrictions that could impact you such as rental restrictions or pet restrictions.
- Bank Rates
Ask if special mortgage rates are offered through the new home project. Often there will be a financing offer that will hold current interest rates until completion. They can also often pre-approve you to better understand how much you can comfortably borrow.
- Deposit Structure
Get clarity on the required down payment before writing a contract. Some builders require up to 10 per cent within 10 days with a full 20 per cent deposit within 6 to 12 months. Cash flow can be tricky, so be sure to let your bank representative help you create a payment plan to ease your homeownership experience.
At the end of the day, the biggest check box is you! You have to love where you will live so check out lots of neighbourhoods and home styles so you will feel good about your research and know the best decision when you make a choice. Metro Vancouver is a world class city characterized by hundreds of unique residential pockets — so the choice is yours! Happy new home shopping.