Advice for purchasing a condo?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Ely, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    Well, I'm at that point where I'm about to start looking at buying a condo (a house isn't an option at the moment). The actual purchase won't be until early next year, but I'm starting to get all my info together so I'll be well prepared when I have my down payment ready.

    I'm just looking for any recommendations people may have when looking at a condo.

    One thing to note is that I do intend to set up a home theater there. My trusty PW-2200 will be making the trip with me. Because of this, I think I'm already limiting my selection to corner units, or units where the living room area doesn't share a wall with the neighbors. Also, I'd imagine I'd want as much concrete as possible separating the units.

    All recommendations will be greatly appriciated. Just to be clear, I'm not specifically looking for recommendations about how to setup a HT in a condo. I'm looking for all types of information.

    Thanks VERY much in advance!
     
  2. Ray Gutnick

    Ray Gutnick Stunt Coordinator

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    Which way the windows face. ie: do you want the sun in the morning or evening; mine faces north, so not much light for plants.
    Floors: carpeted or wood. Do they need to be replaced before you move in?
    Balcony: yes or no...are bbq's allowed?
    Are pets allowed?
    Extra facilities such as workout room, sauna, swimming pool: indoor, outdoor, none.
    Parking: indoor or outdoor may depend upon the specific suite. ie: unit 75 comes with indoor parking, unit 76 outdoor.
    Building security (suite and parking). Also, I've heard of burglers climbing lower floors to steal stuff off balcony.
    Laundry machines...per floor is nice.
    Closeness of grocery store, bank, post office, restaurants, and of course dvd rental place.
    Age of people in building (do you want a "party" building, or a quiet building).
    Wall thickness re playing music.
     
  3. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    - How much noise in the area on weekdays, weeknights, weekends? Are there any funny smells from local industries or restaurants? Are you in the middle of an unofficial "Red Light District"?
    - Do you want satellite TV service? Do they even allow satellite dishes on the balconies? Do you want to live in a building suffering from dish clutter? (Note to Americans: FCC regulations regarding satellite dish installations in apartments are not applicable in Canada. We have our own set of rules.)
    - Can you install a washer/dryer in your unit?
    - Air conditioning. How hot does it get in the apartment during the daytime?
    - Owner's agreement. Are there any nasty surprises in it?
    - Condo fees. How much per month and where does it all go?
     
  4. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    Make sure that you review the meeting minutes from the strata council for the past several years. There could be some big maintenance expenses coming up soon....for example, roofing. Does Ontario have leaky condos like those in Vancouver? Strata fees are important too? Is a townhouse an option? If you are ready to buy an used condo, make sure that you have the condo inspected by a qualified home inspector. Conditions of major appliances should noted too. If you want a dish, make sure that you permitted to install one....also, make sure that you are facing south. [​IMG]

    Dave
     
  5. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    1. Make sure you buy a unit on the Top Floor.

    2. Make sure you buy a unit on the Top Floor.

    3. Make sure you buy a unit on the Top Floor.
     
  6. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Jason,

    What's the benefit of being on the top floor?
     
  7. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Probably having to deal with less noise from the neighbors, since there will be no one above you. Also, less people who'll complain if you crank up the HT [​IMG]
     
  8. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Another vote for the top floor! Bottom floor is nice because you don't have to carry your groceries up flights of stairs, but it sucks in a daily basis because of the elephants that live above you. I'd rather expend more effort on grocery-shopping days than be constantly woken up every morning at 5am. [​IMG]
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Is there a reason why a house is not an option? If the concern is time to perform routine outside maintenance, keep in mind those tasks can be hired out, and usually for less money than the monthly maintenance fees charged by many condo associations.

    I have not mowed my own lawn in 10 years, and do not even own a lawn mower any longer (I gave it to my parents). The cost is about $72 per month from May through October. I do the other outside yard work that does not require weekly attention only because I do not mind doing it.
     
  10. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    The main reason a house isn't an option is $$$. Houses tend to start at $190k, and that's just not in the budget.
     
  11. paul_v

    paul_v Second Unit

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    Hopfully the condo market is a little stronger where you live so you won't have a problem selling it. My condo has been on the market since March. I just dropped the price so I will break even on it. Let's hope someone will buy the thing.
     
  12. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    David,

    Here's my condo story:

    I wanted a top floor unit, but the one I ended up buying was on the bottom because it had a killer view, was in great condition, and not that many units were on the market.

    I am sensitive to noise, so each time I looked at the place [3 times total] I made sure to listen for noise. I didn't hear anything.

    For the first month everything was great. That was because up until then no one was living above me. After that, I could hear every footstep above my bedroom, even wearing earplugs and with a sound machine on while I slept. Also, their washing machine was right above my bedroom and made huge vibrating noises above me when it was turned on. For a while, I slept on my couch because it was so bad.

    I put in some insulation in the floor joists above the ceiling, but that really didn't do much.

    There are two types of noises at work here. Audio sounds are OK. However, impact noises are almost impossible to deal with because the noise goes right through the wood.

    If you are on the top floor, you can remove the floor boards and put in a layer of padding between the floor boards and the joists which negates this. Unfortunately, I can't force the people above me to do this.

    You may not want to hear this, but loud stereos/subwoofers and condos generally do not mix unless you have concrete floors AND walls or do some soundproofing to it. I don't care how new it is - if it is wood, sound will go right through it. You may think that other people won't be bothered, but trust me they will.

    P.S. I have a corner unit and I have never heard anything from the people on either side of me.
     
  13. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    Jason,

    All the condos I will be looking at will definately have concrete between the units. Most of the more recent buildings (in the GTA) use concrete.
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  15. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Around here, houses (even luxury ones) are INCREDIBLY cheap (roughly $35 per square foot, even in the nicer areas of town), but condos/apartments are $80 and above.

    Right now, there's a six-bedroom, 8,000 square foot home on the market for around $350k. However, a 2,000 square foot apartment can easily reach $200k, depending on location.
     

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