Jennifer Lynn Walker: What to look for when buying a condo

The 170-unit, 13-storey Équinoxe Marc Chagall building in Côte-Saint-Luc.

Buying a condo is easy. The trick is to buy a unit that will hold its value when it comes time to sell again. Here is a handy list of characteristics to look for when making that initial purchase.

Location

Aside from price, this is at the top of everyone's priority list. You want to either buy in an up-and-coming area or an area that is already happening. Be sure you are close to public transport, shops, restaurants, or some sort of feature that attracts people like a hospital or a market.

Garage

Having a garage will give you an edge, when it comes time to re-sell. If there is no garage, make sure that the unit has exterior parking. Winters in the city are a hassle. People don't want to be continually moving their car for the snow plows or walking a great distance to get from the car to the condo.

Views

You might think windows that face a parking lot or an ugly building don't bother you. It will bother most buyers. If there are a lot of units to choose from, buyers will choose a great view over a brick wall any day.

Light

Buyers never ask for a dark living space. The rule is to make sure daylight touches every room. The more, the better.

Balcony

No balcony? Tougher sale. People like to be able to walk out and BBQ. A roof top option is a good secondary choice.

Special features

There are a lot of cookie cutter condos right now. You know the ones... high rises where each unit looks the same and uses the materials. Find a condo with a funky brick wall, designer kitchen, patio doors to a balcony... something that grabs people when they walk in.

Size

Size doesn't really matter. The closer you are to downtown, the smaller your unit will likely be. That's expected. However, if the average unit size for the neighbourhood is 1,200 sqare feet, don't buy a condo for 400 square feet unless the price per square foot is a steal. When it comes time for resale, all your competition will be selling units three times larger yours.

The flow

Get your Feng Shui books out! Make sure the unit feels spacious and open, not boxy and confined.

When you buy a condo, you want to ensure your unit appeals to others. By ensuring you have most of the features on this list, you’ll have an easy time re-couping your money or even making a good profit when it comes time to sell.

Jennifer Lynn Walker has been active in Montreal Real Estate since 2003. She founded the Montreal Real Estate Investor’s Group, which has more than 1,060 members. She specializes in buying and selling, eco-friendly homes and helping real estate investors. For more articles and e-books and to sign up to her newsletter, visit her online at www.montreal-realestate.ca

—AB

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