Purchasing a condominium in Calgary is much different than purchasing a single-family home. The questions you need to ask and the things you need to take into consideration are quite different. Here are some of the things to ask before making your final decision and a few things to consider.
Condos and City Life Are a Great Combination
Today you can enjoy the luxury of city living and property ownership by purchasing a condo. When you really can't afford a single-family home and don't want to move out to the suburbs, a condo is the perfect choice. Affordable housing is available downtown in the form of condominium apartments.
The Benefits Of Buying A Downtown Condo
There are so many benefits to living inside the downtown core! If you're like most people and lead a busy type of lifestyle, you probably don't have a lot of extra time available to maintain a single-family home or to do all of the necessary landscaping. With condos you don't have to worry about many of the maintenance challenges that go along with home ownership.
Most families these days have 2 parents going off to work while the children attend day care or school. A 2-person income is pretty much the norm nowadays. After a hard day of work and having to take care of the children after school, there isn't a lot of time left in the day to do chores around the house. Condo life is simple and doesn't involve a lot of housework or maintenance.
Homes Constantly Need Repairs
Along with the mortgage, you're also going to have to factor in the cost of repairs on a home. These can add up pretty quickly especially if your roof springs a leak all of a sudden and the forecast is for rain for the remainder of the week!
Living The Downtown Life
When you want to be close to the action you'll need to be living downtown. This is where you'll find the beating pulse of Calgary in every nook and corner. Some of the best dining establishments, retail outlets and cultural facilities make their home in the core. It's the place that's alive during the day with business brewing in offices and at local coffee shops and busy at night with people gathering to socialize at restaurants, bars, theaters, cultural events etc.
The suburban lifestyle is perfect for some people and wrong for others. If you're the type of person that craves an exciting atmosphere, condo life in Calgary's downtown core is exactly what you need!
Urban Condos in Downtown Calgary
Living in downtown urban centers is commonplace in many North American cities. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver are frequently celebrated as having some of the most densely populated downtown urban centers in the world complete with the fast-paced urban lifestyles to match. As a matter of fact, did you know that parts of Vancouver’s downtown core remain the third most densely populated areas of North America behind New York and San Francisco?
Until now Calgarians have not had a very extensive list of options when it comes to urban living. However with the construction of the new Waterfront Calgary condo development near the city’s China Town, this is about to change.
The Waterfront Calgary is the newest and finest option for prospective Calgary condo owners. It combines features such as spas, a fitness center, lounges, riverfront and city center views, with the convenience of living only minutes away from downtown Calgary. The location of this property is a huge selling point as being in such close proximity to Calgary’s commercial core drastically cuts down on daily commuting times of the development’s condo owners. Units within the Waterfront Calgary range in size from 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, and even 1 bedroom and loft combinations.
With buildings in the development planned at being up to 20 stories tall, riverfront views of the Bow River together with the urban views of Calgary’s downtown city core offer residents a true metropolitan lifestyle. If you are potentially looking for a condominium in Calgary, the Waterfront Calgary is one option that should not be overlooked.
Is Living in a Condo in Calgary For You?
Condos and city life are a great combination, but they don't fit with everybody. However, many move to Calgary every year and scoop up great deals on downtown condominiums with plenty of amenities. Do you know whether a condo is right for you or not?
The Appeal of a Condominium
The huge appeal for many is the location. Condos are often found in the hottest areas of the city close to downtown, cultural districts and plenty of nightlife. This makes condo living a good fit for younger couples, singles and those looking to spend time downtown or those working downtown.
Benefits of Living in a Condo
Condo living provides many benefits including:
- Less upkeep
- More amenities
- No landscaping
- Time saving
- Less housework
With a condominium, owners don't have to worry about taking care of a yard, regular repairs on a single-family home or nearly as much housework. Since they tend to cover less space, you won't have to worry about so many chores.
Should You Choose a Condo?
The decision ultimately comes down to where you want to be located, what you want out of your home and what's important to you and your family. If you want a big back yard for your pets and kids, a condo isn't the right choice for you.
However, if you want to live near the downtown area, you don't want to worry about home repairs and you want to keep things simple, a condo may be the perfect solution for your new home in Calgary.
Make sure you consider your situation, the area you want to be located in, the schools your children will attend and the many other important factors in a new home decision before you finalize your plans. A condo can be a great choice, but for some, a single-family home is the better option.
Questions to Ask First
Before you make a commitment to one condominium building or another, a few questions must be addressed including:
- What's the financial state of the owning corporation? (You have a right to ask this question and they must provide truthful answers.)
- How many of the current units are occupied and/or rented?
- When was the building built and what's the history of it?
- Have any regular utility problems arisen?
- What is the parking situation? How many spaces are made available for owners compared to visitors?
- How much cash has been put in reserve?
- Who is the property manager?
- Are there any condo fees?
- What amenities are provided in the common areas?
By asking these questions, you will get a full picture of the status of the building and what to expect if you decide to move into the condominium building.
A Few Other Things to Consider
When shopping for the right condo, you must consider the things most important to you. If you don't exercise, a fitness centre shouldn't factor into your decision. Here are a few things to consider before committing to a new condo.
- Garbage and Recycling - How is this handled and does the building offer a recycling program?
- Elevators - Knowing how many elevators are available and how easy they are to access makes a difference.
- Security - Understanding the security in place may be the most important part of choosing the right building.
- Landscaping - Ask about how the landscaping is handled and what you can expect in each season.
- Amenities - Other amenities, such as a fitness centre, meeting rooms, swimming pools, etc. may be very important to you.
Make sure you get all the necessary information before you finalize your decision to buy a condominium in Calgary.
Condo-Buying Tips For Prospective Condo Buying
While you have probably read a lot of advice to help you find the right condo here in Calgary, here are some buying tips that may be new to you. Take a few minutes to read through them to ensure that you find the perfect condo that matches your lifestyle.
Know What You Want And Then Find It
Make a list of all the features you'd like to have in a condo before you start searching for one. When you're out and about looking at the different condos on the market it's easy to forget exactly what you were looking for in the first place. Have you ever gone to the store, picked up a few things and then realized that you forgot what you were going to pick up in the first place? It's much like that. Once you see all the beautiful condos being offered you may get displaced and end up with one that really wasn't what you were looking for at the beginning of your search. Make a list, stay focused to follow it and remain in close communication with your agent.
What Are Your Storage Options
Find out what type of storage is being offered in the condominium building. Sometimes you will be given a small storage space with the option to purchase more while other condos offer quite a bit of storage in the building for free. You should definitely add your storage needs to the initial list you have compiled, especially if you are moving from a home into a smaller place and need a substantial amount of space for storage.
Look At The Neighbors
You're going to be in a tight knit situation for a while so you'll want to do some investigating about the condo building first before making a commitment to buy. Find out what the community spirit is in the building by talking to the property manager and even a few of the condo owners. If there are a lot of people renting in the building it could mean that it is owned by investors that may not have the type of standards for maintenance and operation that you would expect.
Consider The Lighting
When you're looking at condos take into consideration the direction they're facing. Some will get direct sunlight all day while others will get very little of it. Take the sun exposure into account when you're viewing Calgary condos to make sure that the one you choose will be bright enough or dark enough for your needs.
Find Out The Status Of The Visitor Parking
If you're like most people you're going to be having visitors dropping in from time to time and it's always nice to have easy access to visitor parking. At some condo buildings this can become a problem if enough parking hasn't been set up for visitors. Ask about the parking situation and whether there are any time constraints for parking in the spots and whether overnight visitors can park there.
Take Note Of The Aroma And Condition Of The Common Areas
As soon as you step into a building take a moment to stop and look around at the lobby. Does it look in reasonably good condition? Is it clean and tidy? Do you want to invest in a condo that has common areas that are being maintained well for an easy resale later?
Take a deep breath when you're in the lobby and the elevators as well. Make sure that everything smells okay since a common area with a bad order indicates underlying dirt and improper maintenance.
Find Out How Many Tenants Versus Owners There Are
Find out how many people that live in the building own the condominium they are living in. A building that has more owners than tenants is preferable. Owners take a lot more care and pride in their units and in the common areas than tenants do and it is a good indication that the building is being kept up when more owners are living there than renters.
When You're Ready To Buy
Make sure that a condition is included on your offer that your lawyer can review the condominium documents and certificates before the deal goes through. This gives you the protection you need should there be anything included in the documents that either doesn't add up to your lawyer or you don't agree with yourself.
Buying A Calgary Condo With A View
When you're out shopping for a Calgary condo there is something that you need to understand. The view that you're looking at from the balcony or the window may not be exactly the view that you'll see in a few years’ time. Unless you specifically sign a contract for a condo with a protected view, you may end up looking at another concrete building in front of you later on down the road.
The breathtaking view that you're looking at now must be lawfully protected to ensure that you can still see the sights from your window later on. If a view is one of the features that you are absolutely looking for in your new condo it's best to mention it right at the start of the dealings with your real estate agent. This way, you can make sure that there are environmental restrictions or building regulations that prevent other high-rises from going up and obstructing your wonderful view.
Your real estate agent can also find out about municipal zoning laws for you. If, for instance, you are standing in a condo that overlooks a natural forest, you may want to find out whether there is zoning in place to build a new shopping mall there in the near future or whether you are looking at protected woodlands.
A beautiful view can be an important buying decision for many people and if it is for you, you'll want to make sure that you find out more about the future plans for the area to determine whether you can expect to see this view in another 10 years.
It's important to note here too that if a view is not a deal breaking feature for you, there are some condo buildings that price the units that don't have an incredible view cheaper than the ones that do. This is especially true for condominiums that have wonderful scenery on one side and a very restricted view on the other. If having a fabulous view isn't something that you're specifically looking for, you may end up saving quite a penny or two by choosing a condo for its other spectacular features.
Is A Calgary Condo the Right Choice For You
Condos aren't right for for everyone, but they can be a valuable choice for those who don't feel a single-family home is the right choice for them. Please consider the pros and cons of a condo purchase, and reach out to a licensed real estate agent to learn more about the condo-buying process today.