3 Things to Consider When Looking For Condos For Sale

There’s nothing more exciting than finding a great home that you can live in comfortably – your own place to call home. Each place offers its own one-of-a-kind characteristics which you might prefer based on your own unique interests. One of the greatest benefits of owning a condo is that you have a stylish place to call home, located conveniently so you don’t have far to get to work or leisure activities, and there are many great amenities included.

So as a general rule of thumb, there are three things to look at first when searching for a condo. These tips should help you find your dream home in no time!

Condos With Modern Spaces

Modern spaces are not just cosmetic! There is something clean and comfortable about living in a modern condo that offers instant relaxation the moment you step through the door. Of course, modern spaces are open and roomy, so the attraction element is there as well.

If you’re a social person, modern spaces also offer an inviting atmosphere for guests to unwind and feel right at home. At the same time, there is something very intimate about the design of modern spaces that even private individuals feel at ease with.

But true modern spaces will also take into factor what matters most to the modern homeowner: environmentally conscious lifestyles. The opportunity to live in green buildings is like a diamond in the rough, because it will allow you to combine your passion for luxury and style with energy efficient, environmentally friendly amenities.

Location, Location, Location!

You might think that finding a home located conveniently near where you work is the jackpot. In many cases this can be true, but you should also take into consideration where you do other things as well. It helps to make a list of what you do on a daily basis, especially the places you go. Also ask if it’s possible to go to new places if they were closer.

If you can find condos for sale that are located near entertainment, shopping (especially including grocery stores) and other activities, this is a great find. The more travel you can cut out of your daily routine, the more time you will have to relax and just enjoy your new home! A great location can also help resale and property values, making picking a great location especially important.

Amenities Included With Condos For Sale

Speaking of convenience, many modern spaces offer top notch amenities. These amenities can include energy efficient appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers, private underground parking, fitness centers and even a dedicated children’s play area.

When you look at what’s out there, you can choose your favorite options for amenities. If you like a nice view or a roof with a deck where you can wine and dine under the stars, then you should certainly choose a new home with these amenities.

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Looking to Buy Condos For Sale – 3 Facts Many People Overlook

Hunting for condos for sale can be as exhausting as searching for a traditional house on the market. However, condominiums offer a unique set of pros and cons as compared to single family homes. The conscientious buyer should understand those differences in order to find the best pick of the market. Ultimately, no matter what type of home a buyer is in the market for, finding the right living space at the best price is every buyer’s goal.

Let’s consider three aspects of researching condos for sale in order to make the perfect purchase

Consider All The Costs – Common Charge Fees

One of the benefits of condominium living is the amenities and common areas that are provided. These amenities range from doormen, fitness centers, private parking structures and pools. All of these services will be folded in to one fee, which is either due monthly, quarterly, or yearly. It is important to keep common charge fees in mind when comparing the total cost of ownership between different condos for sale. These options also allow buyers some flexibility when choosing between different communities since the cost of common charges can vary greatly. Some communities are able to use green technology such as energy efficient windows and alternate energy sources to help reduce common charges, so it’s a good idea to ask lots of questions to find out where these fees come from and what they go towards.

Insulation And Noise Levels

Every person is different in their tolerance for outside noise levels. Some people may be accustomed to living in big cities and do not mind to hear the comings and goings of their neighbors. Others prefer to find condos for sale that offer their own private sanctuary. In order to determine how well insulated a particular unit is, keep in mind these factors.

The materials of construction along with amount of insulation in the walls, floor, and ceiling will determine how much sound travels. Masonry block walls, for example, provide an excellent sound barrier. Sheet rock and concrete planks can provide insulation between floors. One major factor is the location of the condominium. The top floor will typically have less outside noise and traffic, but you will have to climb more stairs or take a longer elevator ride. Overall, make sure to match the unit with your preference before committing to a purchase.

Consider Your Potential Neighbors When Looking For Condos For Sale

Each community will have its own feeling due to the people living there. Of course, there is no way to know every person before buying or even after living in the building for a few years. However, there are a few factors that can tip buyers off concerning the environment they will be moving into. The number one question on a buyer’s mind should be whether the majority of the units are rentals or are owned outright. Owners will tend to better maintain common areas and will form a long lasting sense of community and stability among neighbors.

These three tips should form the foundation for effective market research into condos for sale in your area.

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Things Which Should Be on the Top of Your Mind Before Purchasing Condos for Sale

When you start looking for condos for sale, one thing that should be kept in mind is lifestyle. This should not be compromised as your day to day routine is going to emphasize and influence a lot on you and your family as soon as after you decide to shift there. You should know about the neighborhood localities there. It is true that nobody, nowadays, has got the time and patience to stay by and greet but you should be aware of the fact that your neighbors are renowned for their social behavior or it is the other way round.

It is an understood fact that when one decides to shift over to condo, one demands for bigger space, more luxury and comfort and better amenities. To ascertain that, check the inside-out of the condo. Have a glance and check the overview of the terrace. You should also be mindful of the transportation and distance of workplace and necessary amenities such as hospitals, grocery stores and shopping malls. You should be assured of the fact that if someday your car broke down in the middle of the road, you can get a ferry or cab without much wait. So, whether you decide to go for Sacramento condos or downtown Seattle’s, decide only after you have researched your options and weigh the pros and cons of each.

You have to understand that condos for sale come with their own baggage. The care and maintenance, the local infrastructure, the condition of condos, history and past performance of the builder should be under scrutiny and prime consideration. A new condo should be convenient and comfortable for you in terms of finance, safety and living. It should be able to provide you enhanced lifestyle and better quality of living and not be taxation on your budget or day to day routine. Imagine, rushing from office just because some underground pipe broke down and caused seepage in the walls of your neighbor’s apartment too.

Whether you decide to purchase Sacramento condos or Belltown, remember that you should be spending your time and money enjoying your stay in it and not getting it fixed or making it good enough for living. Always read between the lines before you sign on any agreement that relates to real estate. You should be well aware of the maintenance and common charges of a condo apartment as well.

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Deciding Matters on Condos For Sale

Real estate investment is probably one of the biggest leaps any young professional can take. It appears daunting and intimidating, but it may as well be a wise move given the unstable economy and unnerving constant drop of stocks. Real estate properties like house and lot, however, may not be suitable for the meager income of those in the dawn of their careers. In such cases, condominiums become the most plausible choice for young professionals.

Most of the time, however, investment on condominiums does not pay off as they have expected. Some may have been burdened with the monthly amortizations coupled with association dues and other bills, while some have lost a great deal of money from scams. On worst case scenarios, the construction of condominiums that have been pre-sold does not push through because of bankruptcy and other issues, and buyers are left without an option other than accepting their faulty investment.

This is why, it is important for anyone to know the major considerations before deciding on their eyed condos for sale.

Note that developers put the properties out in the market and present two options for the potential buyers. Some may offer great discounts and good deals for pre-selling condos for sale, while some makes the units available when they are ready for occupancy. Given that the developers have established good reputation in the industry, it is always best to invest on pre-sold condominiums, as most companies sell the units with low monthly amortizations. Buyers who are fortunate enough can even land a deal with zero interest rate or units that do not necessitate hefty down payments.

This move, nonetheless, come with a risk. Many developers are now on the record for scamming their buyers or for stopping the construction of the property. Another major drawback of getting pre-selling condos for sale is the time one has to wait before the turnover period. On average, buyers are only able to move in after two years of paying the monthly dues.

Should there be a need to move in immediately, looking for Ready for Occupancy condos for sale is an option. RFO units, however, are sold at a higher contact price – sometimes twice or thrice the cost of pre-selling units. The down payment for these properties is also more expensive, along with the reservation fees. Buyers with the luxury of spending a little extra though can find this option more practical especially since the period of paying monthly amortizations is shorter thus entitling them to a lower cost of lump sum expenses.

Aside from the payment terms coming with these two options, those who are deciding on condos for sale should also pay attention to:

1. Price of HOA fees or association dues – usually at per sq. Ft. basis
2. Location of the condominium – defined the value of the property. Expensive unit far from the business district of the location is not a good find. The property should also be close to schools, hospitals, etc.
3. Accessibility
4. Facilities
5. Number of occupants per floor – the lesser the better
6. Reselling price of the property.

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DON’T WANT THE POLAR ICE CAPS TO MELT BY 2040? WELL, HERE’S ONE SMALL WAY YOU CAN HELP PREVENT IT

As we don’t need to tell you, “sustainability” is a major buzzword right now. But it’s also so, SO much more than that. A recent report from the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that the impacts of global warming taking temperatures 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways have definitively included – and will continue to cause – shrinking ice sheets, sea temperature rising, sea level rising, extreme weather occurrences and acidification of water supplies. According to a recent United Nations report, these changes will be irreversible by as soon as 2040, so it really has never been more urgent that we all take collective responsibility for our impact on the planet. And a very significant amount of that very destructive impact comes courtesy of our conspicuous consumption.

From the environmental carnage caused by how we get around (cars, planes, trains, I’m looking at you) to the clothes we buy, wear once and potentially chuck away; humans really do have a knack for screwing with nature. Thankfully the possibilities to cut down our carbon footprint have dramatically increased. More people than ever are driving hybrids, and “sustainable fashion” is no longer associated with hemp and hideousness. Quite the opposite. The likes of Stella McCartney and All Things Mochi have made it trés à la mode to shop sustainably. But what of the stuff we have in our homes? Are those new throws effectively killing penguins and increasing drought, flood or hurricane risk? Probably, yes. But they don’t have to be.

As we don’t need to tell you, “sustainability” is a major buzzword right now. But it’s also so, SO much more than that. A recent report from the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that the impacts of global warming taking temperatures 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways have definitively included – and will continue to cause – shrinking ice sheets, sea temperature rising, sea level rising, extreme weather occurrences and acidification of water supplies. According to a recent United Nations report, these changes will be irreversible by as soon as 2040, so it really has never been more urgent that we all take collective responsibility for our impact on the planet. And a very significant amount of that very destructive impact comes courtesy of our conspicuous consumption.

From the environmental carnage caused by how we get around (cars, planes, trains, I’m looking at you) to the clothes we buy, wear once and potentially chuck away; humans really do have a knack for screwing with nature. Thankfully the possibilities to cut down our carbon footprint have dramatically increased. More people than ever are driving hybrids, and “sustainable fashion” is no longer associated with hemp and hideousness. Quite the opposite. The likes of Stella McCartney and All Things Mochi have made it trés à la mode to shop sustainably. But what of the stuff we have in our homes? Are those new throws effectively killing penguins and increasing drought, flood or hurricane risk? Probably, yes. But they don’t have to be.

Increasingly homeware brands are following in fashion’s footsteps and going green. One local label that particularly stands out is Home and Soul furniture.

The Dubai based boutique recently announced that they will be adopting the ‘a healthy home, a healthy planet’ ideology and implementing this into their business.

Inspired by Dubai’s 2020 vision of Sustainable Development, Home and Soul has scoured the globe to source a variety of environmentally-friendly pieces which incorporate ethically-sourced materials, all of which are now available in their store on Al Wasl Road. From stools to rugs, the collections boast of materials like rattan and bamboo from eco-conscious furniture manufacturers.

Here is just a handful of our favourites:

Cannes Console

home and soul sustainability

Dhs2,900

The Cannes Console is created using a resin top with legs made of teak wood, one of the most sustainable hard surfaces around. The structure is minimal but makes a bold statement in any room.

Rectangular Rug

home and soul sustainability

Dhs,1,500

A finely woven rug that works as a textured accent piece, made entirely from seagrass and recycled plastics.

Hanoi Pendant Light

home and soul sustainability

Dhs400

Ethereal and ambient, this lanterns is 100% made of bamboo materials.

Eva Bar Stool

home and soul sustainability

Dhs790

One of Home and Soul’s best selling items is the Eva Bar Stool which hails from their Rattan collection. Rattan is  renewable palm that grows in tropical regions around the world.

Merzouga Pouf 

home and soul

Dhs496

Hand-woven using a traditional look, Home and Soul’s Merzouga Pouf is the perfect, comfy addition to any living space and made from wool to boot.

Images: Instagram & Supplied

 

Park Hyatt opens in Shenzhen

Park Hyatt Shenzhen - Hotel Exterior

The southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen got its first property under the Park Hyatt brand with the official opening of the Park Hyatt Shenzhen in late July.

The new Park Hyatt Shenzhen is situated atop a 48-storey building, just next to the 115-storey main tower of Ping An International Finance Centre. The exterior of the building resembles “a dynamic glass and steel butterfly with its wings spread against the Shenzhen city skyline”.

Located in the Futian central business district, the hotel is within walking distance from the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre and a range of shopping and entertainment outlets nearby. It is also easily accessible as the hotel has direct underground access to the city’s metro lines as well as Futian Railway Station, a major station on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link that began operation last September.

The hotel has 195 guestrooms and suites located on levels 36 to 44, with sizes ranging from 48 to 299 sqm. Each guestroom features floor-to-ceiling windows with sky-high views of the cityscape, as well as contemporary Chinese design elements such as artwork, the lantern-style pendant lighting, and a mini bar that resembles a modern Chinese cabinet.

Park Hyatt Shenzhen - King Bed Room with Skyline View

Park Hyatt Shenzhen has four dining outlets. Living Room, located on Level 33, is a “residential-style venue” for afternoon tea or evening drinks. Situated on the same floor, Garden Pavilion is a fine-dining restaurant that specialises in classic and authentic Cantonese cuisine as well as Sichuan and Jiangnan specialties. The botanical-themed restaurant has four private dining suites, each outfitted with its own lounge and powder room (washroom).

The Glasshouse on Level 47 offers an al fresco dining feel with natural light flooding in from the glass ceiling and wraparound windows, as well as the outdoor-inspired whitewashed brick, decking and paving. The restaurant and bar serve different kinds of beverages and European cuisine “with a Chinese sensibility”. There’s also a rooftop penthouse bar called The Attic on Level 48.

The hotel also has more than 1,500 sqm of “refined residential-style” event space with a 500-sqm ballroom and nine function rooms. Wellness facilities include a fitness centre, a spa, and a 25-metre long indoor lap pool with an al fresco dining option Pool Terrace offering Western and Asian food.

In addition to Park Hyatt Shenzhen, other Hyatt hotels in Shenzhen include Grand Hyatt Shenzhen and Hyatt Place Shenzhen Dongmen located in Luohu District, three airport hotels – including Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Airport, Hyatt Place Shenzhen Airport, Hyatt House Shenzhen Airport – as well as the new Hyatt Regency Shenzhen Yantian that just opened its doors on August 8 in the city’s eastern Yantian District, neighbouring the Dameisha Beach and Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town East.

Hyatt is also significantly expanding its footprint across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East with a total of 21 new hotel openings scheduled by the end of 2020. It was also announced in May that the Hotel Vic on the Harbour in Hong Kong is set to become a Hyatt-branded hotelcalled the Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong in the third quarter of this year.

ET2 Lighting’s new collection has Philips Hue tech and connects to your smart home

ET2 Lighting has joined the Philips Hue ‘Friends with Hue’ program and added four new smart lighting fixtures designed to work with Philips Hue products and your smart home. Unlike most of the Philips Hue lineup that exists to add some smartness to your existing fixtures, ET2 Lighting is “bringing design-focused lighting concepts.”

Looks Good and Obeys your Commands
ET2 Lighting iWood LED pendant light
Your smart home doesn’t have to be all smart bulbs and plugs scattered around your house. It can be awesome LED pendant lighting from ET2 now as well.

Various Prices
See at ET2 Lighting
You will need the Philips Hue bridge to make the smart technology in these new lights work. Luckily, the bridge is regularly on sale for less than $50 on Amazon. You can also find it packaged with starter kits that provide some other smart devices like multi-color smart bulbs and LED light strips.

Once connected to Philips Hue, you can use the app on your smartphone or tablet to wirelessly control all your new devices. You’ll be able to set schedules and personalize your lighting by setting the right shade. Upgrade your home entertainment experience by setting the lights to work with your media or get everything operating on a daily routine that works best for you. Plus, once you connect the Bridge to your smart home system through an Amazon Alexa device or Google Assistant device, you can control everything with your voice, including the new ET2 lights.

ET2 Lighting is sold by authorized dealers, so you’ll either need to find one in your local area or buy from a few unique sellers online. So let’s meet these new lights:

The first fixture is ET2’s iCorona. The LED pendant comes with Philips Hue lighting encased in a dual matte white ring. This light starts at $928.

The iQ LED pendant light is very similar but comes in a brushed black color and has a custom formed diffuser that evenly diffuses the light. You can find the iQ online for $568.

The iWood LED pendant light uses rectangular solid wood frames with a stainless steel trim. The Wenge comes in Polished Chrome or Antique Pecan, and you can find the models online starting at $1,138.

ET2’s final addition to the Friends with Hue program is the iBar, which has aluminum channels anodized in brushed aluminum or brushed black. The solid block of clear acrylic creates a dramatic lighting effect. The price starts at $1,018 online.

Zhekai Zhang uses waste coffee grounds to create marble effect on Coffire lamps

Designer Zhekai Zhang has developed a method of staining porcelain with used coffeegrounds to mimic the texture of marble, and applied the technique to a collection of lamps called Coffire.

The method, inspired by ancient Chinese pit-firing techniques, forms an “imperfect” random texture, meaning each Coffire pendant light is different.

The lamps are one of 261 design projects that have been longlisted for Dezeen Awards 2019.

The Coffire project grew out of a commercial commission to promote a coffee drink, leading the Chinese designer to conduct research into ceramic firing techniques.

After learning how much coffee waste is generated each year, Zhang started to think about how the grounds could be reused.

“At least 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each year, producing at least eight million tons of coffee grounds,” he said.

“Most coffee grounds are discarded, thrown in landfill or incinerated along with other waste. The disposal of coffee grounds as waste not only consumes a lot of energy, but also harms the environment.”

Zhang, who graduated from the Royal College of Art last year, used a gas kiln instead of a traditional sand pit to allow the lamps to be mass-produced while avoiding the high waste rate involved in pit firing.

According to the designer, natural coffee grounds are safer than the toxic metals used to colour ceramics in ancient pit firing, the oldest known method for firing pottery.

The random surface texture and pattern is a result of variables such as temperature, humidity and the density of the coffee grounds.

The pink colour is caused by the oxidation of the coffee grounds
The pink colour is caused by the oxidation of the coffee grounds

“Due to the innovative colouring technology, the Coffire lamp has a pink marble-like surface texture; an effect that no other glaze can achieve,” explained Zhang.

“The texture and colour produced through this firing technology are different, making each lamp unique.”

The lamps come in a variety of shapes and designs

The designer has set up a studio called Kae with fellow RCA alumni to commercialise the idea.

Another designer to experiment with waste materials as a glaze for ceramics is Agne Kucerenkaite whose Ignorance is Bliss project repurposed industrial metal waste to be turned into powdered dyes to colour porcelain tableware and ceramic tiles.

Meanwhile, Sinae Kim used human urine to glaze a series of pots inspired by the shape of the human bladder and laboratory equipment.

How To Choose Your New Home

There are many factors involved in choosing your first home or condo. We have drawn up a list of potential issues that you need to consider before getting out there and searching for that perfect place.

Your Lifestyle

So, you’ve decided you want to own a home or condo rather than rent. It’s a popular dream. For most people, with the right planning, it can become reality. But there is a lot to know before you begin moving. We’ll take you through the planning process step-by-step, to determine exactly the kind of home that’s perfect for you.

What Does Your Future Lifestyle Hold?

How many bedrooms will you one day require? Your preschoolers will be teens some day. Are you planning to stay in your home that long? Perhaps your teens are ready to move out on their own. What will you do with all the extra space? When you’re thinking about accommodating your family’s needs, think of things like parking. How many cars will require space? You’ll also want to consider proximity to — and the reputation of — schools in the area.

How is your work situation? These days people tend to change jobs frequently, and sometimes the best way to get a promotion is to move to another company. If you might be transferred, will you be able to sell quickly? Keeping work in mind, how long do you want to spend commuting? Do you drive or rely on public transportation?

As you can see, you will want to give some thought to how long you intend to stay in your home. It may be difficult to answer before you’ve even found your home, but if it’s your first home give some thought to the resale value when it is time to upgrade. On the other hand, if you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, consider your future needs and purchase a home that will accommodate them.

Is Your Lifestyle More Geared to a Fixer-Upper Fantasy?

Many first time buyers have them. It goes something like this: You find a big home in a great neighbourhood that’s well below what you’d expect to pay for that house in that neighbourhood. You see a couple of coats of paint, new broadloom, a few repairs and voilà, a dream home without the nightmare price. Before you jump headlong into this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” consider how you’ll do all of the work. Will it be weeknights after a long day at the office, or will you hire someone? Are you ready to live in a dusty mess as you renovate?

Do a realistic assessment of the job at hand and be sure to have the house inspected. The last thing you want is a bargain home that turns into a money pit. You’re far better to find a house that costs a little more each month but doesn’t need much work than to buy a fixer-upper that eats up hundreds of dollars each month. For example, lets say you could buy a really nice house with minimal work required for $10,000 more than a fixer upper. At today’s mortgage rates, assuming you could stay within your monthly budget, that really nice home would cost you only about $65 per month more than the fixer-upper. If you buy the fixer-upper, you’ll be spending a lot more than $65 each month to whip it into shape, as well as the strain your family will go through living in an unfinished home.

Why is Location Important?

Of course, the first step in deciding on a new home is your lifestyle at present and how your lifestyle will change over the next few years. Are you active in sports? If so, a location with a nearby recreational facility would be ideal. Are you a nature lover? Then perhaps an area with parks and walking trails would suit you. Think about yourself and your family and decide what you enjoy doing and what type of lifestyle you would enjoy in your new home.

Which Neighbourhood is Right for You?

Your ideal home may not be ideal anymore if it’s downwind from the garbage dump, or if your home is right next to a freeway overpass. Think about the view. Will you like what you see every time you look out your windows? Selecting where you want to live is as important as deciding what type of dwelling you’d like to live in.

Consider how far your selected neighbourhood is from where you work, how far you’re willing to commute and your lifestyle. You’ll also think about schools if you have, or are planning to have, children. And what about medical facilities, places of worship, public transportation and recreation? If you’re contemplating the move to an unfamiliar neighbourhood, take the time to go exploring. Walk around, drive around, get a feel for the distance to the nearest convenience store, the commute. Make some notes. Take the neighbourhood tour at different times of day and contact the local municipal office to find out what future developments are planned.

Your Housing Needs

No matter what kind of home you’re looking for, there are some key features to consider. We always remind our clients that they will find large townhouses and small single-family homes, so looking for what you want in a home is as important as the type of dwelling. Where will your family spend most of its time?

Kitchens are a popular family gathering area. Make sure your prospective kitchen can handle the traffic. You may also want an eat-in kitchen or one with a breakfast nook, allowing you to keep the dining room for special occasions.

How much bedroom space do you need? Some people prefer small, plentiful rooms to house children, frequent guests or a home office. Others prefer fewer, larger rooms. Of course, if your budget permits, many large rooms would probably be ideal!

Bathrooms are also a major point to consider. How many bathrooms does your family need to handle peak traffic times? Is one enough? (Not likely!) While one per person might be more like it, that dream may not be affordable. Make sure the home you’re ready to purchase has sufficient bathroom space and that the bathrooms are comfortable. When looking at bathrooms, ask yourself how important a window is for light and fresh air.

Note: Hot water is always a problem with a large family. Remember, most hot water tanks are rented from the utility company. You can always have them upgrade the size of the hot water tank for a minimum cost. Or you could purchase one – but then you’d be on the hook for any repairs.

When it’s time to relax and entertain, how will your prospective home meet your needs? Do you want a formal living room, or a room where your family can stretch out and watch television? Do your children need a play area or your teens an entertainment room? Some homes have a living room and a family room.

Attics and basements can be wonderful storage areas, or can serve as additional living space. If extra space is important, you will want to consider a finished basement. Everyone seems to have their own definition of what this means. Take a good look at the workmanship. Was it done by a professional? Do you see yourself redoing a sloppy job? A poorly finished basement can be more work than a completely unfinished area. Some signs to watch out for are moisture along the floor lines and corners of all exterior walls and pungent odours which may also be a sign of moisture, mildew, and/or mold which can be costly to repair.

A brief word about closets. Look at the clothes you have now. Add another half, and then look for closet space to hold it all. If you’re like most of us, you’ll never have enough closet space!

Heating and cooling systems are also key features to consider. When it comes to heat, natural gas, oil and electric furnaces are all options. Older homes may even have hot-water radiators. Still other homes have baseboard heaters. Make sure you find out about the maintenance and condition of the heating system as well as annual operating costs. If you’re thinking about air conditioning, think about how expensive it would be to add central air, or if a window unit would suffice. Try to get on to a “Homeowner’s Insurance Plan” with the utility company. For a minimum annual fee you have guaranteed regular maintenance and repair.

As you can imagine, each type of home has its advantages and drawbacks and no two buyers will have the exact same wants and needs. The only way to truly evaluate which home is right for you, outside of price, is to consider what you absolutely must have and what you can live without. Before you go house hunting, prepare a list of ‘can’t live without’ features and a list of ‘would be great if…’ features.

Types and Styles of Homes

Single-family detached homes stand on their own lot and are designed to house one family. A duplex has two units, one above the other, and is detached from neighbouring homes. Semi-detached designs offer two single family homes attached by a common wall. Townhouses join several single family units by common walls. A high-rise condominium is simply a multi-storey residential building.

Freehold Condo For Sale:

Freehold condo for sales offer the most privacy and freedom of choice of any other type of home. As owner of the entire structure and grounds, homeowners are free to decorate and renovate as they please. But with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility. All of the maintenance (indoors and out) is the sole responsibility of the owner, which can be costly in terms of both money and time. Freehold ownership is the most common type of home ownership.

Condominiums:

Condominium is a type of property ownership, not just a style of home. When buying into a condominium complex, your home will usually cost less and you often won’t have to worry about snow shoveling or lawn mowing, or major exterior maintenance like fencing or the roof. Condominiums can also come with extras like a security service or recreational facility. Of course, you should be prepared to pay a monthly maintenance fee. This fee goes into a collective cash reserve that is used to cover property maintenance, repairs, replacements and insurance. Before you purchase a condominium home, do your research. Find out the value of the cash reserve and upcoming projects which the reserve will fund. Ask about annual increases. And compare the maintenance fee to similar condominiums in the area. There are three broad categories of home ownership: freehold, condominium and cooperative.

Cooperatives:

Cooperatives (or co-ops) are comparable to condominiums, except instead of owning your unit, you own a percentage of shares in the entire building (or complex). As with condominium ownership, maintenance and repairs are paid for through the collection of monthly fees and you are subject to the rules and regulations of the co-op board. One drawback to living in a cooperative is that if you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer.

10 Things You Should Consider When Purchasing Your First Condo

1) Research the Builder:

Not all builders are alike. Many build high quality condos and have a track record of success, while others cut corners and build substandard condominiums. Aside from reviewing the builders webpage, one should also do an internet search for watchdog reports, lawsuits and discussion boards for proposed and existing condos. One thing to look out for is whether the builder who’s project you are interested in, has a track record for completing their projects on time. I had a client who purchased with a builder (who shall remain nameless in this article) that habitually pushed back completion dates. My client was promised the keys a little under 3 years after purchasing the unit, and the builder delayed possession 3 times from their original projected completion date. After many frustrating delays, he final received the keys a whole 2 and a half years after the original scheduled completion date. This tied his deposit money up for an a total of 5.5 years. It was almost like a 2.5 year interest free loan to the builder! In retrospect, as an investor, he would have liked to invest in another project at 15% deposit, then take the other 10% and saved another 5%, and pooled that money into another project, returning him potentially double the return, and in 2.5 less years. This is why it pays to research the builder!

2) Choose the type of condo that meets your lifestyle:

Not all condos are alike. Some have age restrictions, and rules about pets. Other condos are more family friendly in terms of the unit sizes and amenities. Still others cater to retiree’s. A good way to determine this is have a look at the number of bachelor, one, two and three bedroom units in the entire building. You may also contact the property manager for the condominium to verify whether it is a lifestyle condominium catering to a certain demographic. Those that have fewer two and three bedroom units will likely not attract large families.

3) Determine financial status:

If you are a first-time buyer, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a must. Contact your financial institution to determine your buying capability, and get a firm commitment letter from them locking in the rate, and approval amount. No one wants to be left on the closing day without a mortgage approval after you already made the purchase. I have had countless past clients that were given what they thought was an approval from their bank, where in fact it was nothing more than a verbal agreement. Some people have had credit issues in the past which would warrant a more difficult approval process, and possibly at a higher rate. It is always better to know that you received a formal pre-approval before you fall in love with a home that you can not afford.

4) Speak with local real estate agent:

Real estate agent’s can give you statistics of which condos are appreciating well in Mississauga as well as the most popular unit types, and floor plans. This will help you to make a direct comparison between different condo buildings in order to establish the true value of the unit you are interested in. Don’t just settle for any real estate agent. Again, not all real estate agents are the same. Try to work with a local expert who specializes in the type of properties that interest you. After all, why would you work with a realtor that sells mainly full sized homes in the suburbs, when you are looking purchase a condo in the city? It is like going to the dentist for your flu!

5. Do your own research:

If you plan to purchase a home without a real estate agent, you should look into the sales of the surrounding area yourself. Again, these resources will be less accessible to the general public, but you will have access to the asking prices of similar properties. This does not mean that those prices are the market values for that specific property, or even necessarily what they sell for. Be careful when information gathering. I have had a number of past clients praise me after their search for educating them on area values, and explaining to them what to look for when they are searching. Why not get the assistance of a local expert, when they’re services are free?

6. Find out customization capability:

Although freehold condo for sale allow the owner to carry out renovations without anyone’s consent, condos have restrictions on what can be altered for each unit. A general rule of thumb should be to request written permission from the property management before making any renovations. The property managers consent is always required to various degrees depending on the condominium. Usually renovation work that involves removing a wall or upgrading bathtubs and showers will have limitations on what can, and cannot be done. Some require that a detailed renovation plan be submitted to the condo board for approval prior to the renovation taking place. It is always better to be proactive. You wouldn’t want to reverse the reno back once it has been completed! I had a client who removed all the carpet in their unit, to replace with hardwood. She did this to increase the value of their unit prior to selling it, only to find out that management had to approve any floor renovations. She tried to then sell the unit thinking that hardwood wood increase the value of her unit. It did increase the value of her unit, but in failing to apply and receive consent from the property manager, she was unaware of renovation restrictions in the building. It was later found that she did not use the proper sound-proofing underpad beneath the hardwood. The condo corporation deemed that this would hinder the enjoyment of the unit owner directly below hers because of noise. Consequently, she had to tear out the hardwood, install new underpad, and then replace the hardwood. This ate into all her profit, and her investment, and time was not rewarded. The moral of the story is to always look into these renovations with the property manager before you begin. It could save you thousands of dollars!

7) Ask for a disclosure statement:

The developer or builder of a new condominium is required to have an information booklet giving details of the building, and the legal terms under which the condominium will operate. The booklet is available immediately after the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is signed. And with resale units, this “Condo By Laws and Declarations” booklet is always made available during the 10 day conditional period when you purchase a unit. It is attached to the status certificate that is forwarded to your lawyer for review. Your lawyer then has 2 business days to review the certificate, and consult the purchaser with his/her findings. If everything checks out, the buyer may move forward with the purchase. If there are red flags in the documents, the purchaser always reserves the right to walk away within the conditional period.

8. Ask for a site plan:

It is important to know if the unit that you want to purchase is in the first, second or third phase of development so that you are aware of any future construction that may block your existing view. Of equal significance is knowing when, and where more development may occur around this building. New development adjacent to the building will impact the use and enjoyment of your condo due to noise, vibration, unsightly construction, dust and foul smells. It is also good practice to learn where your unit will be in proximity to the elevator, garbage disposal room, and amenities, as units near these elements usually have a stigma attached to them in the resale market. Besides, who would want to smell the garbage room after a long day at work.

9) Determine development plans for the surrounding area:

Many condos are sold under the premise of a clear view to the Lake, skyline, or green-space. To ensure that the view will be maintained in the long term, a quick trip to the Planning Department will allow you to ask if any other developments are planned nearby, and to have a look at the architectural drawings. The planners should be able to help you to understand the types of developments that are proposed around you. I have had many calls from people who bought privately through the builder units with south views of the lake as investment properties. These investors would hold onto the unit until they receive the keys, and the building registers as a condominium corporation. At this point, they would try to resell the unit, only to be shocked that a new condominium just began construction in front of they’re unit, obstructing their perfect south view. The investors mistake was being too excited in the purchase process, without taking a step back and asking the right questions up front.

10) Review amenity details:

If the developer lists a swimming pool, it is important to know what size and whether it is indoor or outdoor. The same goes for party rooms, exercise areas, gyms, sports fields, spas and lockers. Find out how big, how many, and where they will be located.

Again, these 10 considerations can affect both your enjoyment, and the resale value of your condo. It is always better to do your research upfront, and then enjoy the rewards of your hard work once you have moved in!