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Top-5 Disadvantages of Living in a Brand New Condo

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When I have my first conversation with a new buyer-client, I often hear them say, “I want something brand new, never lived in!”. While I can definitely resonate with the appeal of moving into a brand new space, there are some notable drawbacks with living in a brand new condo. Here are my top-5 Disadvantages of Living in a Brand New Condo:

  1. Property Management Issues. New buildings have plenty of ‘kinks’ that need to be worked out. Property management can be stretched pretty thin and your individual needs may not be a priority if there are significant building issues going on. Also, the property management company in a brand new condo is one hired by the developer. Many condo boards feel the need to fire their property management group and hire their own independent third party to manage the building.
  2. Incomplete common areas. This is big one especilaly if you are on a lower floor and you are facing a long occupancy period. The common areas and the amenities are the last thing the developer will complete. Worst case scenario: it could be months or even a year before you can use your gym, party room etc.
  3. Tarion warranty visits. You do your PDI (pre-delivery-inspection) and you find all your unit’s deficiencies, then you move in a couple days later. Chances are there is a long list of items that will need to be remedied. These will be done piece-meal over several weeks or possibly months. You will have painters and plumbers and handymen of all kinds entering your unit on a regular basis until this work is done.
  4. Maintenance fees have nowhere to go but up. The initial maintenance fees are set by teh developer, and almost universally they are set far too low. After the first year of a new building it’s quite common for fees to go up 10-15%, but it can be much higher. Moving into a brand new building means uncertainty of what the maintenance fees will be in the near future. Established buildings are generally more predictable when it comes to maintenance fee increases.
  5. Hidden expenses. Buying a brand new condo means you will have to buy some things that most resale buyers take for granted. Things like window coverings and light fixtures are not included when buying from a builder, but they are essentially ‘must haves’ in any apartment. Depending on your preferences these can cost a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars; money that you will not necessarily get back when you resell your unit.

Questions or comments about living in a new condo? Debating between going with a resale unit or buying new? Please contact me.

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