Buy early, it’s worth the wait

Depending on when in a condominium’s development process you purchase a suite, you will have to wait some period of time for your move-in date. If you purchase early from designs, you benefit from the optimum selection and, of course, the lowest prices. But the biggest advantage to buying early in the process is the equity you earn over the time span of construction, which can vary if weather does not cooperate, or unexpected labour or materials shortages occur.

Look on the bright side – your equity during this time can average as much as five per cent per year, which is quite attractive.

Another benefit of buying early in the process, especially for first-time buyers, is having time to save additional money toward your down payment.

I have known young professionals who have taken the equivalent of their maintenance fee and banked it each month to use toward the deposit. This provide the extra funds for the down payment and gets you used to budgeting for your eventual carrying costs.

In addition to saving money during your condo wait, you can make the most of the time by considering the design of your decor and layout. You have room dimensions, so plan your colour schemes, etc., so that when you have your colour selection appointment, you will have a good idea of what will complement what. Look critically at your furnishings and accessories, and decide what to bring to your new home and what to give away or sell.

This is particularly appropriate for the more mature buyer. I have met several empty nesters who spent years making the decision to sell their longtime family home and buy a condo suite. When they were finally sure they wanted to take advantage of carefree single-level living in a residence with wonderful amenities, they were actually happy to have time to make the transition psychologically, as well as physically. They also appreciated the opportunity to pare down possessions gradually in preparation for occupancy. This may involve passing along family heirlooms to younger generations and figuring out which items will fit into your new living space.

Remember, too, that if you are among the first to move into your condo, you may have to wait a while before the building is totally complete. The upper floors are finished after the lower ones, and some of the amenities may not be entirely ready for use. This is a similar scenario to moving into a house in a lowrise community where homeowners have to experience some dust and dirt before all the driveways and landscaping are installed. A highrise condominium is built from the ground up, so keep that in mind if you see tradespeople going up and down on the elevators. Residents do receive things like snow removal, lawn mowing, concierge service and the like right away, which is a big part of what maintenance fees cover.

Be realistic with your move, and be patient before and after you move in. As you wait for your suite to be ready, you can use time to your benefit by becoming even more prepared for a wonderful move-in day.

Enjoy the wait – and remember that your investment will most likely increase in value by the time you move in. Whether you buy from plans when the sales office opens, an inventory suite when the condo is complete, or any time in between, the main thing is that the timing is right for you.

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