5 Tips For Buying Condos In A Down Market

In my opinion, buying a condo in a depressed market is an opportunity of a lifetime. Follow these 5 simple tips to ensure you make the best decision when buying your future condo:

NEIGHBORHOOD FIRST

Everyone has heard it before; Location, location, location.  It is important.  In fact, choosing the best neighborhood for your lifestyle now, and what it might look like in the future is imperative.  Here are some suggestions for that will help you indentify the best neighborhood for you:

  • Use the Walkscore.  Go to walkscore.com—->Add the neighborhood—->Review the amenities map.  This will show you the exact locations of grocery stories, police stations, movie theaters, parks, coffee shops, transit locations and restaurants.  Remember that you will live in this neighborhood for years.  Do your homework.
  • Look up the neighborhood on Facebook.com. Many Seattle neighborhoods have their own Facebook page (example: South Lake Union). This is great way to get to know your future community.  These pages often include, new and upcoming events, community service information and fun facts and review.
  • Go to the city buildings of the Chamber of Commerce.  A local Chamber, will have neighborhood information, new development plans for multi-family and retail, and some of the best resources for the “future” of any given city.  You may want to look for new grocery store developments, new public transit routes and public park information.  It may also give you an opportunity to see if there is any new buildings that could impede your views from certain buildings in a particular neighborhood.

FOCUS ON QUALITY

In a down market the worst things you can do is focus on just price.  Many buyers get excited about the best priced condos and not the “best” condos.  There is a big difference.  In a recessionary market, almost all prices come down.  This includes the best buildings in a particular city.  I try to have my clients focus on the Big “5″.  Find the best 5 buildings in your market and focus on finding the right unit when it comes up.  Don’t be tempted to buy a unit in an inferior building just because of price.  You will regret not taking advantage of the market conditions when you had the opportunity to own in a much better building.  In order to find the Big “5″, do your research.  Read blogs to understand what each building offers and why it makes it the best.  Here is an example of a property review that you can find on our site (Market Place North)

AMENITIES RULE

Whether or not you like amenities, most people do.  When you decide to sell your unit down the road, you’ll want to make sure it appeals to as many people as possible.  More amenities, equal more buyers.  Think of it this way.  Let’s use the example of Seattle condo buyers who have a dog.  If a neighboring building has a dog walk and yours doesn’t the owners that have a focus on “Fido” the family wonderdog, might choose to purchase the other unit.  This goes for rooftop decks, movie theatres, fitness studios, owners lounges and more.  Focus on amenities and the buyers will focus on you.

LOOK FOR THE “IT” FACTOR

The “IT” factor are those qualities in a unit that make “IT” incredible.  It could be the big view, a spacious kitchen, a large deck, custom lighting/entertainment or a commercial appliance package.  The “IT” factor is important in a down market because we have opportunities to find some of the best units in the city for much less than market value.  Buying in a depressed market gives buyers an unprecidented opportunity with low rates, bottom line pricing and diamonds in the rough.  Finding a killer unit that has “IT” can be a pivotal role in gaining equity over the years of ownership.  Finding “IT” can also help you sell your unit in the future for top dollar.  Focus on “IT”.

DON’T LOOK BACK

Buying in a down market will take risk.  You have to believe that the upside will ultimately outweigh the downside.  There are no quarentees.  We all know that is is much easier to buy high and sell low.  This is because, our human nature is to follow the actions of others.  My suggestion is to go against the grain. We want change our mentality.  We need to take risks in buying low and selling high.  Take a chance, and remember “Don’t Look Back”.

These are just a few tips on buying in a down market.  If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.