2021 Condo Buyers Guide
When buying your Condo you need a realtor with experience, and I have been buying and selling in Calgary and Area for over 18 years. My performance in the marketplace was recognized by The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing in 2010, when I became a Certified Guild Member, based on proven sales and client relationships.
Our website has all you will need to find the Condo you are are looking for, having a Real Time Data feed from IDX MLS which is updated twice a day. You can also contact us for recent solds in specific communities and Condo complexes. We will only show you Calgary units that are active, and fit your criteria.
We pride ourselves on good client relationships which allows us to provide the full range of services that our buyers need and deserve. Our clients have to feel completely comfortable, and have trust in their Realtor, and realize they listen and respect their views. Market knowledge and experience is important. But it is your Condo and your investment, so we have to be a good fit! We would be happy to discuss representing you.
Like in so many professions, reputation and word-of-mouth are crucial. Indeed, for our client base agent and past client referrals account for about 70% of our business.
Our part in the process!
There are many good reasons to work with a qualified real estate professional — especially a trained professional with industry designations. In a formalized agency relationship, you can expect your representative to:
- Provide you with the highest standard of care and extreme loyalty to you as the client.
- Understand your specific needs and wants, and locate appropriate properties.
- Assist you in determining how much you can afford.
- Help you get pre-approved for your mortgage.
- Preview and/or accompany you in viewing properties.
A mortgage lender will come up with some close-to-final numbers, presenting you with a preliminary figure for pre-approval. Now you should prepare a thorough and realistic checklist of your current budget, say, if you're renting an apartment and your expected budget in your prospective new home. You'd be surprised how some new items — such as additional insurance or costs for general repairs — can add to your expenditures as a homeowner. Make sure you take all of these items into consideration when calculating your mortgage affordability.
The importance of not overspending
Real estate experts cite overbuying as one of the most common mistakes buyers make. Many people spend more on their new place than they can afford. So be honest and realistic with your mortgage calculations, as well as the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, since it can actually protect you from overspending.
Costs of Ownership
In this buyers guide we explain from deposits to moving expenses, and everything in between, what buying a Condo involves, more than just a down payment. That may be the largest cost, but there are other things you'll need to plan and budget for.
This is the step you take when you're ready to make an offer to purchase. Let's say you've viewed a selection of properties with us, found one you like, and are ready to get serious about purchasing the property. At this point, you might need to put down a deposit; the amount depends on your area, the purchase price, and your situation. The deposit is held in the trust account of the listing brokerage for the condition period. When it becomes a firm sale and you are satisfied all conditions have been met (waiver) the deposit is deducted from your total purchase price and is considered part of your down payment.
Generally speaking, the larger a down payment you're able to make, the better, because that means you'll have to borrow less. But you also don't want to leave yourself so cash-poor you can't cover all of the other costs that come with closing a sale.
The minimum amount you can put down is 5% of the purchase price, assuming that you have made an offer to purchase and all conditions have been met.
For example, a $300,000 property would require a minimum down payment of 5%: $15,000; however, if your down payment is less than 20%, which is the case for many first-time home buyers, you will also need mortgage loan insurance.
Mortgage loan insurance
If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of your home, you are required to have mortgage loan insurance, also known as high-ratio mortgage insurance. It protects your lender — not you — in case you default on your mortgage. Premiums are calculated as a percentage of the amount you put down, changing at the 5%, 10% and 15% thresholds but there is no break for anything in between. Premiums range from 0.5% to 3% and increase if you are self-employed.
So, to buy a $250,000 condo with a 5% down payment of $12,500, a premium of 2.75% on the borrowed amount of $237,500 would total about $6,500. You can pay this in one lump sum or, as many first-time buyers choose to do, you can add it to your mortgage loan amount. This type of insurance is mandatory for high-ratio mortgages, and is only offered through two carriers: CMHC and Genworth Financial.
Condo Document Review
You wouldn't buy a used car without having a trusted mechanic perform an inspection for you, and a Condo is no different. Don't even think about buying a Condo without having a professional Condo Inspection done. In fact, your lender may insist on one.
The cost of an inspection starts from around $350.00. This is money well spent, we will insist on ALL documents to review during the condition period. You want to know the unit is in good shape. It is an expense that you simply cannot, and should not, avoid.
Your mortgage lender will require you to have property insurance in place on closing day. Since the property is actually the security against the loan amount. Your contents will have to be insured, but we advise that you talk to your Insurance agent and make sure everything is covered
Insurance has become a very competitive business in recent years, with new companies entering the market, offering different products and options. Consider using the services of a broker, whose job is to find customers the best deal possible among the companies they represent. You may also be able to get a discount if you use the same company you have your other insurance policies with.
Legal fees for buying real estate range in price, depend on your situation, and must be paid upon closing. When purchasing brand new condos, since such deals can involve more paperwork, the cost might be higher. We can provide you with a local Real Estate lawyer if you don't already have a relationship with one.
Moving expenses and services connections
When you're totaling up all the costs of buying your first home, don't forget to include moving expenses and connection fees or deposits for services, such as phone, electricity, and other utilities.
Moving expenses vary widely, depending on your personal circumstances and possessions. Reliability is key.
If you do contract a moving company, do your homework well in advance, get referrals from ourselves or friends and do your own research. Rates and levels of service can vary widely among moving companies, as can insurance coverage, so give yourself lots of time to look into these matters. We have used ALJRelocations.ca who were excellent and we liked the fact that after the move you can recover the cost of your moving boxes!
Services and utilities
Such as your phone, electricity, cable TV, and other connections — make sure they are up and running for move-in date. Make sure you call well in advance to make these arrangements, and ask about all associated fees. For example, some utility companies may require a deposit, or charge other fees for new customers with whom they have no billing history.
The past few years have seen historically low mortgage interest rates — the lowest in decades — leading some to call them “once-in-a-lifetime rates.”
Perhaps these rates really are opportunities of a lifetime !
This, of course, raises an important question for home buyers: should they lock in at these rates, or is a variable rate the better option?
This is an excellent question, and we suggest you talk to your broker, if you have not got one we can suggest a few that are really good.
The importance of pre-approval
Taking the important step of getting pre-approved affords you knowledge and confidence: you’ll know in advance exactly how much financing you qualify for, and you’ll be confident during your search knowing where you stand.
This is also likely the time when you will first be introduced to the often intimidating and complex world of mortgages. It’s critical you understand your options so you can make an informed decision that suits your personal circumstances.
When you meet with your financial representative, if there’s anything you don’t understand, ask. Ask lots of questions. If you still don’t get it, ask again. This is not an area to take chances or to be shy, since how you structure your mortgage could amount to tens of thousands of dollars over the term of your loan.
If during this process you sense your lender representative isn’t patient in answering your questions, move on. The financial services industry is very competitive and, assuming you qualify for a mortgage, if one company doesn’t want your business, someone else will.
With all of the above mortgage considerations, what you choose really depends on your own personal circumstances, preferences, and comfort level. Your mortgage specialist can walk you through a number of different scenarios with these variables, so you can see exactly what each change will cost you.
Surround yourself with a good team of professionals who can advise and guide you through the process.
Here we can also help, and we need to make sure the selling of your current home gives you enough time to move into your next home. We have to co-ordinate possessions on both properties. This link will help you with a current Home Evaluation.
It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but also one where emotions can easily come into play, particularly if you’ve found a Condo you love and really want.
We will help you keep your emotions in check! , balancing against the realities of the market. Think of it as a game of poker — you don’t want to be so excited that you tip your hand to the seller. Nor do you want to be too conservative and bid so low that you lose out.
We will of already advised you of the important step of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you know exactly how much you can afford, and are less likely to get caught up in a bidding war that will carry you above your price point.
Of course, the interest and potential competition for a property depends on market conditions. If it’s a buyer’s market, you hold the cards and you’ll be confident in knowing there are other options out there.
If, however, it’s a seller’s market, acting fast to make an offer that you can afford and is acceptable to the seller is a combination of instinct, preparation, and our experience.
One of the most important tools we have when it comes time to make an offer is the comparable's from the MLS. These are excellent snapshot reports into the recent sales activity of similar — comparable — properties in the same neighborhood. You can see important information such as original and adjusted asking prices, number of days on the market, listing agent history, and actual sold prices.
As a buyer once you have this information, weighed against the details of the Condo you’re making an offer for, you will feel tremendously empowered to make an informed decision.
Lets get together and talk through the process – we need to get an idea for want your “must haves” are! Call or Text anytime.403-850-0669