Buying a new condo or townhome could represent one of the largest financial transactions in your life. That’s why it’s so important it’s done right. With so many available choices, it’s easy for buyers to feel overwhelmed. While developers and agents are there to help you, you shouldn’t rely on anyone exclusively; after all profits and commissions drive the industry.
When you’re in the market for a new condo, you have the choice of buying directly from developers. Before shovels hit the ground, the developer must pre-sell 70% of units in a new development. While developers do an excellent job in showing you the bells and whistles of their buildings like floor plans and amenities, it’s important not to lose sight that it’s in their interest to sell you their condo. Drumming up enough interest in the early stages is crucial to the developer securing enough financing to get the new condo built. While a developer may be more than happy to suggest one of its condo projects better suited to your lifestyle, they’re not going to recommend a condo project from a rival developer, even if it better meets your needs. They would be putting themselves out of business.
Searching for a new condo alone can be overwhelming, that’s why many buyers work with an agent. An agent will take you around to see the best developers they know of. While your agent may have your best interests at heart, it’s impossible to know about every single new project on the market. Your dream condo could be out there waiting for you, but if your agent doesn’t know about it, someone else will get it.
There’s also the possibly for a conflict of interest. Developers aren’t just selling condos to buyers; they’re selling to agents. While there are plenty of fantastic agents out there, not all may act in your best interest. Agents work on commission; your agent only gets paid if you buy a home. Developers who offer large commissions or special incentives can influence agents. There’s a possibility your agent could only take you to condos with higher commissions instead of those that meet your lifestyle. They might be one sale away from getting an extra big bonus with the developers.
How Does a Buyer Get the Best Choice Out There?
While your agent is a great resource, he shouldn’t be your only resource. With the sheer volume of content out there, it’s important to find a third party impartial site you can trust.
Here are our top five tips to help simplify the condo-buying experience.
- Search for developments based on Your Lifestyle/Preferences
- Look for good third-party, unbiased (Agent and Developer sites won’t really give you the whole picture) resources that let you plug in your location, lifestyle and price point to shortlist plans and developments
- Consider on-site amenities to enrich your personal or potential tenant’s lifestyle
- Consider walkability or proximity to transit – A map-based layout of potential developments can be very valuable
- Compare Developments and Floor Plans Side-by-Side
- Without a side-by-side comparison, you might not be getting the whole picture
- Weighing the pros and cons of a project in an easy-to-read format helps you make the best choice based on your most important search criteria
- You might encounter some hidden potential in developments or plans you might have only been mildly considering
- Read Reviews on Developments and Developers
- Get an idea of what the market is saying about the developments and units that you’re interested in
- Weigh factors like the developer’s reputation into major considerations like resale value and their ability of hitting important dates including occupancy
- See what the Agents are saying in terms of location, amenities, neighbourhood and overall investment value
- Look for Agents that are right for You
- Don’t sign a B.R.A. without doing your research, also, make the B.R.A. exclusive to the development(s) when buying a New Condo or New Home. Many agents may not have access to certain developments or promotions.
- Look for an agent that is an expert in the neighbourhood you are exploring
- Experience is essential. You want an agent that is familiar with the pre-construction condo business. Ask potential agents for testimonials. Good references will give you the peace of mind that you selected the best agent.
- Stay connected and informed
- Opt in to resources that keep you informed on latest launches, promotions, and bulk deals. Its important to be selective, or you may be overwhelmed.
- Look for resources that allow you to search for promotions and deals. (low deposits, rental guarantees, free parking, etc..)
Tell us about your new home buying experience. We’d love to hear from you!
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Frank Guido is the President of Aareas Interactive and the founder of CondoNow. Aareas has been working with leading developers across the globe for nearly 25 years. Aareas’ mission has always been to “revolutionize the home buying experience.” CondoNow is the next step for the industry – an unbiased and independent consumer hub for everything you need to know about buying a new home.