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Smart Tips for Buying a Condo

| Read time: 3 min

At some point, most people will look to buy their first home. If you are getting closer to that decision, you might want to consider buying a condo. Condos come in many shapes and sizes, from a typical 3 storey walk-up apartment-style to townhouses, or a luxurious lofty penthouse on top of a tall building. So what does the term “condo” exactly mean? A condominium unit is defined by the Manitoba Condominium Act as follows: “unit” means a part of the land designated as a unit on a plan and includes the space enclosed by its boundaries and all the land, buildings, structures and fixtures within that space.

What stands out in that definition is the term ‘boundaries’, so the first tip when buying a condo is to know and understand what is included in these boundaries. Since all condos are different, be sure to ask your realtor to see and help you understand the condo plan and supporting documents so you know where the boundaries of your unit are. Since condos sometimes have shared parts with other condo owners it’s important to know what is yours and what is shared.

The first step is to choose a great agent you want to work with and ensure they know the market you want to buy in. Don’t be afraid to ask them some tough questions about how they can help you, and their qualifications to do so. If they don’t sell many condos consider talking to an agent that has more expertise in this area. Above all, work with someone you trust.

Now that you’re ready to start your search for the perfect condo, make sure you think about the things that are important to you. Then let your realtor know so that they can hunt for properties that have what you want. Some examples include:

  1. Price – Get pre-qualified by a bank or mortgage broker so you know what you’re comfortable spending.
  2. Location – Where do I want to live?
  3. Accessibility – Does the building have an elevator or underground parking?
  4. Privacy – Do I want a shared hallway or is a separate entrance important to me?
  5. Furry Friends – Does the condo allow pets? Not all do and this is often a deal breaker.
  6. Outdoors – Does it have a private balcony? If so what rules are there with what I can put on it.
  7. Amenities – Does it have any common games, exercise or social rooms?
  8. Limitations – There are lots of examples but a common one is the ‘no kids under 18 years of age can reside’ limitation.

So now you have the list, how do you get the listings flowing to your inbox? Realtors in Manitoba have access to the website and can set up an automatic search to start sending you properties that match your criteria. Once that’s done, you will start to receive emails the day a new condo gets listed. Ever wonder how something sells in one or two days? That’s because they were on the list and went to see it the first day it popped up. Now that your inbox is filling up and you see a property you like, contact your agent and hope it’s as nice as the pictures show!

The next part of the process is the Offer which we will cover in a later issue. Until then, happy hunting and feel free to contact us with any questions you have about buying your next home.


by Mike Fast, Realtor