Getting the biggest bang for your buck in a waterfront condo is up to you. The key to successful condo living is knowing what you are buying into, so research your condo choice before signing on the dotted line.
Here are some tips–what the experts suggest they would tell their moms or their children if they were looking for a new home on the water. They include veteran sales and marketing whiz Mark Cohen, senior vice-president at the Condo Store Marketing System, Barbara Lawlor, president of Baker Real Estate Corp., one of the GTA’s top condo brokerage houses, Jason Shiff, executive sales and marketing manager for the new South Beach Condos + Lofts At Mystic Pointe and Sam Crignano, a partner in Cityzen Development Group, whose projects include the spectacular Pier 27 at the foot of Yonge Street and The Shores, which graces the mouth of Bronte Creek in Oakville.
Start with location, location, location. That means making the decision not just where you want to live but how you want to live. Each project is part of a larger neighbourhood and each neighbourhood has its own character. If being in the heart of a busy city is your meat and potatoes, then Harbourfront is likely the best choice. If, however, you like the quiet life with fewer cars and pedestrians, then look east or west of the city’s centre.- Do not just think about today; try to figure out what tomorrow may hold. That means look around and trying to predict what new developments may be coming within the neighbourhood-better yet do some research. Will those charming old storefronts soon give way to condo towers or office buildings? Will that quiet residential street be chock-a-block with traffic in five years time?
Make a list of the amenities you enjoy. Do you really need valet parking or a concierge? Would you use a pool or be quite happy with just an exercise facility? Do you want to walk to work, take the TTC Or drive? Do you really need a parking space and a storage locker? Many projects now charge extra for them. – Is a view of the lake a must or would a much cheaper city view suite be just as good? After all what lures you to the waterfront is more likely the lifestyle and not just the water views. – What size suite do you really need? Is a two-bedroom a must or would a one-bedroom plus den be just as good?
The price difference can be significant. How much money do you have to spend? That includes not just a down payment and monthly mortgage costs but also those monthly maintenance fees with maybe even a few dollars left over the furnish and decorate your new home. Consider resale suites in existing buildings. They can often offer more value for money with larger rooms and sometimes even better locations for less money than a brand new suite. – Do not be afraid to ask sales agents in the presentation centre of a new project what else is available in the neighbourhood and then see how different buildings rate on your check list. The best time to buy is very early in a project’s life cycle. Developers are eager to get above 60% sold because that is when they can go to the bank for financing.
The faster they sell out, the less a project costs to build and the greater their profits. – Pay attention to design and quality of finishes. Think about what it will be like living in your new home. Is there enough storage space? Are there enough closets. Can the living room handle family and friends when they drop in? Is the kitchen well enough laid out and large enough to accommodate those gourmet meals?