Eight things to consider before buying a retirement condo

Buying a retirement condo is a great option for people who want the equity of owning without the hassles of maintenance.

Condos can be found in many active living and independent living retirement communities such as Hearthstone by the Bay in Toronto’s west end, The Manor Village at Rocky Ridge in Calgary, Alberta or at Palisade Gardens in Cobourg, Ontario.

Many people will be able to buy their condo outright, particularly after the sale of their house; for others, there are mortgage brokers and lenders who can help with this kind of purchase.

Before you buy your retirement condo, here are eight things to think about:

  1. Ask if the condo regularly meets its budget and find out how well the budget is maintained.

  2. Find out what amenities your condo fees will cover; don’t pay for what you don't need and won’t use.

  3. If you are considering a unit in a new retirement condominium development realize that costs can rise once the building is completed and/or the community board is in place.

  4. Find out what your property taxes will be.

  5. Ask what the utilities cost and compare them to utility costs in other condominiums.  If heating bills seem high it could mean that the end units aren’t well insulated.

  6. Get a market analysis of the selling prices of other condos in the building and in the neighbourhood.

  7. Make sure that your deposit is refundable.

  8. Be a hard sell; read the contract carefully before you sign, ask questions and make sure you get all the options you want at the price you want to pay.

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