Condominium Choices in Scarborough
I have been selling north Scarborough condos for close to 10 years. There are a lot of choices and options in this market, and home buyers understandably can feel confused about what to do.
A quick check of the Scarborough multiple listing service will show that there are all kinds of units on the market. E.g one could buy a smaller but newer 600 sq ft newer 1 bedroom high rise near the Scarborough Town Centre. Even in this size range, alternatives abound. For instance, one could purchase a one br unit at 125 Omni Drive, or a 2 br unit at 190 Borough – Centro, or a possibly a 1 plus den at 11 Lee Centre Drive. Alternatively, one could consider a spacious but older, 1900 sq ft 2 bedroom unit at 2350 & 2330 Bridletowne Circle – Skygarden or even a condo at Bamburgh Circle.
So what should a first time buyer do?
The Benefits of Buying A New Condo
There are certainly advantages to a newer condominium in Scarborough. First of all, you will get lower common element or maintenance fees, since developers usually set the fees lower when promoting the condo to buyers in the pre-construction phase. Keep in mind though that the fee can & will go up, as the condo appoints a Board of Directors, develops and implements a budget, and starts to beef up its reserve fund.
What is a reserve fund you may ask? Well, think of it as a savings account for a condominium. The provincial government has rules regarding reserve funds. All condominiums in Ontario must have a reserve fund/savings account, and the amounts in the fund must be sufficient to cover anticipated expenditures.
Other advantages of newer condominium units are the common element amenities, which may include the latest and most in –demand features. As an example, the Centro buildings (190 Borough & 25 Town Centre Court) have a movie theatre which can be booked by residents. Older buildings, such as 125 Omni Drive, do not have this, but may have other compensating features, like landscaped gardens inside the building grounds. Additionally, newer buildings may have up to date features en-suite. Examples include granite counters and built-in fibre optic cables.
The Benefits of Buying An Older Condo
Some buyers are wary of purchasing an older condo (and by this I mean something that was building more than 15 years ago). Their main concern is higher fees, but also the potential for escalating fees due to the age of the building. They are also concerned that the buildings may be more run down. While these are legitimate concerns, and in some cases are warranted, it’s not advisable to paint all older buildings with this negative opinion.
I have sold many older condos in Scarborough neighbourhoods such as L’Amoreaux, Agincourt & Don Valley Village. Many are very well maintained, and actually have lower per sq ft maintenance fees than their newer counterparts. Additionally, they have better reserve funds, are quieter buildings and have larger grounds.
At the end of the day, there is no right answer when determining whether to buy a new condo or a resale unit. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The one thing that’s certain is that an older residence will give you more space and likely will be cheaper on a per sq ft basis. When making the decision, other considerations should be taken into account, such as location, access to public transit & highways, the age & makeup of the respective condo community, the type of recreation facilities etc. These last items may in fact take precedence in your decision – and maybe it should. In my experience, condo living is a very personal thing, & is more often than not a lifestyle choice. So the personality ‘fit’ within the building is very important.