Sandra Pike is a Halifax-based realtor with an expertise in new condominiums. Apartment renters, she says, are "paying someone else's mortgage and you walk away with no investment." For first-time homeowners, a condo is "a phenomenal start," but how do you know what to look for? Pike offers some pointers.
A condo is an investment
Unless you're committed to living in one spot forever, you should be considering the resale value of your home. This can be affected by whether you have a middle unit or an end unit, for example. "Don't get anything on the first floor and don't get anything overlooking a parking lot. We want it on the side or the back of a building—and at least two bedrooms," says Pike. Building materials matter, too: Units in wooden structures typically take longer to sell than one in a brick building would.
Pay attention to amenities—they can influence condo fees
Condominiums charge monthly maintenance fees for the building. According to Pike, the average fees in the Halifax area are $300-$450. "Some buildings have pools in them, so if you're going to get a condo building with a pool—that obviously is going to acquire more maintenance and more upkeep," she says. "It's really gauging, you know, is it important to have the extra amenities in your building to have the extra fees?"
"If I were buying a resale condo myself, I think the best value is in Clayton Park," says Pike, pointing out that you can find a nice place for $160,000. "If you're a first-time home-buyer, at least you can start off with that price point, and then, you know, stay there for a few years and then sell it," she says. "Because a $160,000 semi is not gonna get you much, and you're going to have to put some work in it."