CONDOMINIUMS – How do I choose a Condominium?
With the Spring Market beginning (and likely in full swing at time of print) it’s the time of year that we fill up the gas tank, load up our Buyer’s and start looking at Condos! And then the inevitable question comes up:
What’s the deal with Condos?
The discussion surrounding types of Condos is one that could be covered over multiple columns as well as the perceived positives and negatives. A key factor in deciding to purchase a Condo is a prudent and exhaustive review of:
1. Why are you buying a Condominium?
2. Does the neighbourhood matter?
3. Is proximity to amenities important to you?
4. What are the Condo fees, and what do they cover? (or proposed fees)
Often the first step is understanding the different types of Condo’s and their potential benefits/negatives. Would you prefer a full house, or possibly a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment? Some would wonder why this matters, but Condominium Living is dependent on choosing a lifestyle outside of residential freehold. The type of Unit preferred is usually selected prior to viewing them and is quickly decided after a few Showings.
The Realtors® will often be a the first point of contact for a potential Buyer and there is a great marketing opportunity for Board’s and Property Managers to consider when Unit’s come up for Sale in their Condominium Project:
A lot of Condominium Buyer’s are curious not only about the Condominium itself, but the community within. A great feature that a lot of Boards have created is a website with features and benefits of their building/association. Keeping an updated website and a proper information board is critical to providing key information to potential buyer’s as they tour the facilities.
Today’s buyer’s are web savvy, and property managers and boards should be aware that there a number of websites out there that are used by Real Estate Agents and Buyer’s alike to help them gather information on the condo, board or property management company.
(Some Buyer’s will want to walk away from the potential Purchase based on feedback found online or random conversations with people in the building).
Often the overall appearance of the Building weighs in more than people think when Buyer’s are comparing Units. If the overall building is in disrepair, and general maintenance and upkeep are lacking then how well the Reserve Fund is and Operating Budget maintained?
A great way for a property manager (and the board) to stay engaged in the process of new owners is to keep an eye out for properties listed in their building/complex and reach out to the Listing agent. By offering to provide basic info about the condominium(s), often it can help when the agent (or the homeowner) may not know what to ask:
(a) Are there hours of Operation for the facilities?
(b) How many members on the board?
(c) How long has the management company had the contract?
(d) Any other items that are general knowledge but that could assist with the positive communication/view of the community.
Another opportunity is to talk with your contractors/employees about the ‘fishbowl effect’. Employees and Contractors often will forget they are in a ‘work environment’ and have discussions/comments without realizing who may be listening, and often out of context. They should always be aware of their surroundings and know that they are the face of the condominium/board when in the common areas etc.
The end goal should be a mutually positive outcome: The new Buyer selects the condo for the Unit that meets their home needs and the Community gains a valuable new member.
Working with the Real Estate Agent, Owner’s and potential Buyer’s will serve to provide future Boards and Owners with consistent ownership opportunity and less potential mis-understandings along the way.
Mike Lewicki is a Sales Representative at Keller Williams VIP Realty (Independently owned and operated brokerage) where he primarily focuses on Residential and Condominium Real Estate in Ottawa and Surrounding Area. You can read his blog about things that matter in Real Estate at www.condosbyreferral.com.