Buying a condo is a daunting experience.
At times fun, but often, frustrating, stressful and time consuming. To help you get started, I thought I would provide a few tips that will make your buying experience a successful one.
NEIGHBORHOOD FIRST- One of the biggest mistakes that condo buyers make is choosing the unit before they choose the neighborhood. It is easy to get caught up in the romanticism of buying a new place. In doing so, buyers have a tendency to shop for the right home, before shopping for the right hood. In my mind, the latter is always where you start and the former will come with time. There are great units in every neighborhood. So, its important to get to know your neighborhood first. Spend an entire day walking around. Check out the grocery stores, the movie theaters and the coffee shops. Make sure you vibe with your neighborhood and imagine yourself living there; not just now, but 5 years from now. It is easy to act quickly when you find “the place of your dreams”. With that being said, acting with emotion instead of reason can lead to poor decisions. Shop the neighborhood first and you’ll find specific attributes that make the neighborhood unique. These can include, proximity to dining, entertaining, employment, public transit and future development. Shop the neighborhood first; you’ll benefit immensely. Trust me.
FOCUS ON QUALITY- One of the biggest advantages you have in a depressed real estate market is the ability to buy quality. Many of you have heard me say this before. In a down market everyone is selling at a discount and often a loss. TAKE ADVANTAGE. One of my favorite quotes is from the legendary investor Warren Buffett, he says when investing, we should “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful”. We have to be aware of the discounts sellers are providing as they re-balance their portfolios and fix their balance sheets from the recession. In order to really take advantage, I think its a “must” to recognize what makes a opportunity/building great. I like concrete and steel buildings. There is a quality of construction, noise reduction and minimized risk of construction deficiencies. For those reasons, there is a better re-sale value. Get an expert opinion, focus on quality and take advantage of the times.
UNIT FOR NOW, UNIT FOR LATER – Do not get caught up in the emotion of condo buying. Think and act like a shrewd investor. Focus on the functionality of the unit. Does it work for most people? Will you be able to sell it to others when you move out? How does it fair compared to neighboring properties? Do I have the best floor plan in the building? What are the “it factors” (view, upgrades, location in the building, unit size etc…). These are all important elements when choosing the right unit. If you think about your ability to sell the unit just as much as your ability to live and enjoy the unit you’ll be better off. At a time like this, when units are still on sale, it is your opportunity to focus like a seasoned investor. If you do, you will reap the rewards.
Buying a condo can be challenging. There are so many factors that go into buying a great unit. Focus on these 3 tips as you start your search. You’ll be thankful that you did.