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How to Choose the Condo that is Right for You

Today, with more choice than ever, deciding whether to rent or buy a condo can be a daunting task. Newspapers and rental guides provide endless listings with little meaningful information. And they all seem to promise the same things. How can you make sure you're choosing a property and management company that will provide real value for your rental dollar? Try these suggestions:

1. Decide where you most want to live.

  • Close to family, work, public transportation, schools or religious centre?
  • Easy access to shopping, banks, post office, parks or recreation facilities?

2. Work out how much you can pay.

  • Usually your total rent should not exceed one-third of your total family income.
  • Remember that your total rent includes any utility costs you have to pay.

3. Define what you want in return.

  • Need to have – What size of rental unit do you need? How many bedrooms? Are there any features you can't live without, such as 24 hour concierge or extra in-suite storage?
  • Nice to have – What would you be willing to do without to ensure you get what's most important to you? Could you forego a gym, for instance, to have a balcony?
  • Don’t forget you generally get what you pay for. Plan to find the best value for the dollars you'll have to spend.

4. Select a few buildings to visit.

  • For immediate look-sees, try our Search button to view any of Realstar's many rental properties that match your needs.

5. Trust your first impressions.

  • Right from the start, does the property accommodate you with extended visiting hours? Or do you have to make an appointment that's inconvenient for you?
  • When you arrive, look around outside. Does the property have curb appeal? Is the property well maintained?
  • When you get inside, notice the common areas like lobby, hallway and elevators. Are they clean, attractive and in good repair?
  • When you meet the property management, what's your impression? A property run by responsible, caring staff will attract responsible caring residents who are interested in building a community.

6. Look below the surface and ask tough questions.

  • Ask if staff members live in the building. If it's their home too, they'll have the same concerns you do and be eager to fix any problems. What's more,'they'll be on hand to respond quickly to your needs, as well as to 'security issues and emergencies.'
  • If you 'encounter property staff on your visit, are they friendly and approachable? Do you feel they'll be easy to deal with when a maintenance issue or other concern arises? Ask how long it usually takes to resolve a 'maintenance request.
  • Ask about the management company and their level of commitment to service and training 'of staff.'
  • Are added 'value services provided – like pre-authorized rent payments, a resident insurance program or storage facilities?
  • Ask if events are organized for residents to create a community feeling? Do you notice things like bulletin boards for residents?
  • If you decide to apply for a unit, how convenient do they make it to sign a lease? Do you have to make repeat visits, fill out more forms, or wait for days while they review your application?

Source: Realstar.ca

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