Tips for Buying Pre-Construction

by Irina Popova

Originally published by NextHome

Purchasing a pre-construction home offers many benefits and advantages, such as choosing your own finishes and paying today’s price for future value. In order to maximize your return on investment as well as you enjoyment of the home, there are a few key points to keep in mind when making this purchase.


Floorplan

Whether you’re buying a condo or a single-family residence, one thing’s for sure - layout matters. Only taking into consideration the total interior square footage is simply not enough. Look for layouts that avoid wasted space in transitional areas like hallways, or acute angles that create unusable wall space.

Ask yourself - does the layout offer an obvious furniture layout, or will I be forced to purchase special furnishing items to work with this layout? Don’t just rely on the developer’s depiction of furniture on the floorplans - often times those pieces are not to scale.

Try to avoid floorplans where “public spaces” are only accessible via “private spaces”. For example, when the only bathroom in the condo is an ensuite in the master bedroom. Or, if the powder room is only accessible through the kitchen. I’ve seen both of these examples in real life and both of those listings took a long time to sell.

Light and Exposure

I have yet to come across a buyer that hates natural light or nice views! When looking at a floorplan, make sure to note location and size of the windows and try to avoid a strictly northern exposure. A south-facing balcony or backyard will typically get you the most sunlight.

Whether you’re looking at a condo or a single family residence make sure to do your due diligence in researching the zoning and future plans for the lots around you. While there is rarely a guarantee that future construction won’t ever obstruct your views, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.

Condo Specific

What’s above the condo you are considering purchasing? If it’s a unit of the same layout, your chances of not having additional bulkheads in the middle of your living space are way better than if the floorplan above you is different. For example, if the kitchen above you does not match the location of yours then there might be some additional bulkheads needed to cover that plumbing, which would then lower your ceiling in more areas than desired.

Be mindful of your unit’s location of the floor plate - resale potential might be affected negatively if your condo is near the garbage chute or right beside the elevator. I would also suggest to avoid proximity to common amenities. Fitness rooms can create a lot of noise and some developers don’t go the extra mile to sound-proof those spaces.

Freehold Home Specific

If you are purchasing a home in a new subdivision, be mindful of your lot’s location in that community and whether your street will become an artery road to other streets. Try to map out the routes your neighbours might take to get to the main roads. It’s also important to note how wide your street is and how much street parking is going to be allowed near your home. Avoid being close to the neighbourhood mailbox stop, at a road junction or intersection - anything that might maximize the amount of traffic in front of your home.

Finishes

When time comes to choose your interior finishes, I suggest steering clear from passing fads. Choose neutral, timeless, un-imposing design features that will appear to a broad range of buyers in the future.

While it’s nice to express yourself through your home style, you can do so through light fixtures, paint colours and furniture. When it comes to finishes that are harder to change in the future, like flooring and kitchen cabinetry, try to stick with styles that are not too personal.

Avoid too many dark finishes - dark hardwood floors with a dark kitchen tend to make spaces seem darker and smaller than they really are. If you feel overwhelmed or unsure of your own design skills, hiring a professional interior designer to visit the show room with you is an investment worth making!

In summary, you owe it to yourself and your pocket to make the best investment decision possible. This might seem pessimistic, but I always think in terms of the “worst case scenario” situation - if you have to re-sell your property in the middle of the winter, in a slow buyer’s market, what can you do now in order to give yourself the best chance at a successful sale?

Irina Popova is the Director of Sales at NewDev Agency and the Broker of Record at Blue Panda Realty. She is a monthly contributor to the New Home + Condo Guide Ottawa Magazine.
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