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Real Estate Talk Last Updated: Mar 25th, 2010 - 13:47:57

Top 10 Condo Tips
By Diane Kelly
Jan 22, 2010, 14:57

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Helpful Tips When Buying a Condo in Calgary

When Buying or selling Real Estate always be informed, and always work with a professional.

1. Always check the square footage.  It can be measured in various ways in condominium plans.  Make sure that you check the paperwork and always ask what the measurement includes.  If exact measure is important, measure the condo yourself, and work consistently from the inside measure of condo apartments. Divide the asking price by the number of square feet to arrive at dollar-per-foot costs that you can compare.

2. Parking is another important feature you need to check out. Parking can be an uncovered stall, a covered stall, indoors unheated or heated and secured. The legal status can be either assigned common-area space, or legally-titled ownership. If the parking is assigned, it should be protected by a formal lease agreement.

3. Construction of condominiums can vary.  Concrete is more long lasting and generally quieter than frame construction, but 'post-tensioned' concrete construction can have problems requiring maintenance. Concrete transmits tapping sounds, while wood-frame buildings can quiver slightly under heavy footsteps. 

4. Conversion of rental buildings to condominium ownership has created both opportunities and pitfalls. Some older high-quality concrete buildings have become condos at very affordable prices. As well, some well-built wood-frame rental buildings are being sold as condo apartments at prices that compete with the cost of renting! Yet some low-quality rental buildings converted to condominium ownership are simply not worth buying.

5. Heating is an important issue in condo buildings. In apartment condos it is usually central gas-fired hot-water heat, which means the cost is covered by your monthly condo fees. Electric heat is convenient, quiet and controllable in each room, but it's expensive. New in-floor radiant hot-water heat is wonderful,  but if you turn the temperature down, it takes a while to respond.

6. Renters will be found in any condo building. That's good for your flexibility as an owner, but find out how many renters are in the building. If it's primarily renters, largely investors own the building, and they may not share your standards of operation and maintenance.

7. Find out what the age mix is for the conplex.  Some are over 18 only.  Some are for retired people.  Some may not allow children.  This is very important. I am sure if you're an older person, you don't want to live among a group of night-clubing twenty year olds. 

8. Condo documents are necessary to evaluate any condominium project before you buy. Sellers should have them on hand for you to review on site, and if you have an agreement to purchase, they should be handed to you without hesitation. These include the Condominium Plan, financial statements and budget, the reserve fund study, minutes of the recent annual general meeting and even board meeting minutes, so you have insight into how the complex is being run. If you purchase, your lawyer will obtain an estoppel certificate before closing, which will guarantee no surprises in the monthly condo fee or charges owed by the seller.

9. Also important, does the compelx allow pets.  It would be a nightmare if when you'd moved into to your condo, and the where told that your furry friend wasn't welcome.  Unfortunately if pets are prohibited, your furry friend would have to pack his suitcase. 

10. Real estate agents may be licensed to sell condominiums as well as houses, but do they know what they're doing' Use a Certified Condominium Specialist Realtor. If s/he has a real interest in condominium ownership, s/he will also be a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute. If you are buying, Realtor services are at no cost to you, as the selling party pays the brokerage fees, so you might as well receive qualified representation and advice. Whether buying or selling, you want nothing less than top-quality condominium credentials, ability, experience and market knowledge from your Realtor.

Buying your home: If you would like info of homes for sale please contact:

Diane Kelly (403) 383-8025  or visit http://talkcalgary.com/real_estate/

Selling your home contact:

Diane Kelly, (403) 383-8025  or visit http://talkcalgary.com/real_estate/


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