Before You Buy a Condo, 5 Things You MUST Consider

Congrats, you’ve chosen to buy a condo! For some, the choice to buy a condo comes down to convenience as condos tends to come with fewer obligations versus owning a house. For instance, you won’t need to stress over shovelling snow or cutting the grass. For others, buying a condo is an attractive option because it often means that you are in a downtown core, urban centre or close to amenities that suit a desired lifestyle.

Once you’ve chosen you’re suited for the condo way of life; there are a few things you MUST consider before your sign those papers for purchase.

Here are 5 things to Consider when Buying a Condo:

1. Location

As the old adage goes, when looking for real estate, choose “location, location, location”.  This is especially true when buying a condo since close-by amenities are generally of higher priority.

Is there a grocery store close by? Bank? Transit Routes? Is the area on the rise? What are the plans for the area?Think about all the conveniences of the location of your condo today and in the future. All that surrounds your condo could significantly impact its value in years to come.

The view matters, as well. If you have a perfect ocean or mountain view, will that remain?  Empty lots won’t remain empty forever and 1 or 2 storey buildings could turn into high-rises in the future so be aware of those possible changes.

2. Amenities

Amenities are those services that come with the building. You building could offer things like a gym, party room, swimming pool, security, visitor suites and guest parking.

Consider the building’s amenities and whether you’ll use of them. Then consider the condo fees associated with those amenities and decide if you are willing to pay for it. Also, don’t forget, condo fees aren’t static. They can go up with more maintenance costs so what you are paying today might increase and might increase more significantly based on the type of amenity your building offers.

3. Strata Bylaws

Condo living doesn’t, by and large, accompany same flexibility as owning a home. A strata corporation is in charge of the administration, maintenance and overall operation of your condo building and, as such, they will have some rules and bylaws in place.

This could mean policies about rentals, pets, visitation, parking, storage, etc. If you are looking to buy a condo as an investment and rent it out, then you’ll definitely need to consult the strata building’s policies on that. Also, if you are looking to make improvements or renovations on your condo, beware that you might be restricted on what you can do.

Of course, Strata policies and bylaws are NOT meant to be a “limitation” but can interfere with your own expectations and plans. Before you buy, ensure you are aware of the condo building’s bylaws to make sure that there are no surprises.


4. Reserve funds

In BC, Strata Corps are mandated to put aside approx 25% of Strata Fees for a reserve fun. That fund is put in place to handle any costs to the building. This could be used on such things as repairs to amenities, repaving the parking garage and repairing the rooftop.

Before buying your condo, it’s a good idea to check how much exists in that reserve fund so that you don’t risk being caught additional unforeseen costs.


5. Storage

Finally, when buying a condo, people often overlook the storage options. Space often comes at a premium with purchasing a condo and space to store your belongings is certainly valuable. Is there a place to put extra boxes, bedding, bike, kayak? Not having this room for some of your essential items could affect the “liveability” of your condo so make sure the storage options suit your own unique needs.


Interest in buying a condo in Nanaimo? Check out Condos Page for a list of all current active listings as well as the our up-to-date Nanaimo Condo Market Report to see a snapshot of inventory, days on market and media sale price.