For some, having too many options can be overwhelming. But for homebuyers who revel in choice and opportunities for customization, the pre-construction condo might be the ideal fit.
“The great thing with new condos is that you get to choose what you want, where you want it,” said Les Hartland, co-founder of Condo Condo Development Group Inc. and vice-president of marketing for Vericon Real Estate Ventures Inc. “As well, because you usually don’t have to pay for close to a year, you can lock down your unit price and location and have time to get financing and equity together.”
Because you’re getting all new materials and appliances, there’s less to go wrong, and when it does, you have a full warranty to fall back on.
“You’re also getting the most modern architecture and layouts available, so you don’t have to go back in a few years and spend money to refurbish everything to make it new – it’s already new,” said Kevin Hatch, a REALTOR® with CIR Realty in Calgary.
“The great thing with new condos is that you get to choose what you want, where you want it.” – Les Hartland, Condo Condo Development Group Inc. co-founder
Of course, newness also has its drawbacks. It’s likely that the landscaping will be less developed, as will the location and amenities that surround the building.
“Usually, with pre-construction condos, people are growing into a new community rather than moving into an established one,” said Hatch. “There may be less access to schools, transit and restaurants, though some developers are putting in amenities right away to better attract buyers.”
Determining what facilities will be available is one part of the due diligence that is vital to the buying process.
“Look into the builder and their reputation,” said Hatch. “How long have they been around? How many projects are they involved in? People often focus on price, but paying a few thousand more for a reputable builder is a sound investment.”
When it comes to financing, some banks will offer pre-construction rates for new buildings and hold that rate for a year or more depending on the institution. However, that doesn’t mean qualifying will be a breeze.
“Some lenders are tougher than others on qualifications, so be sure to look at property taxes, mortgage payments and condo fees, and ensure you have some wiggle room,” said Hartland. “There’s no such thing as no inflation, and if your condo fees are $350 per month in your new condo, they might be $400 next month.”