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Condos: buy new or pre-owned


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#1 LittleMagellan

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:50 AM

I'm from out of town (moving to Victoria this summer), so I can't keep an eye on these developments firsthand. I'm thinking of buying condo in some of the uncompleted buildings (such as the 834 and the Oriental, for instance)... but I'm kind of hesitant to commit to something that's uncompleted. Do you have any advice?

#2 Baro

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:54 AM

David chard, the developer of this building, has a very solid track record and makes nice buildings. He's one of the few developers I'd ever consider a pre-sale from (if I ever became rich enough to afford his buildings of course). Go for it.
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#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 08:56 AM

(such as the 834 and the Oriental, for instance)... but I'm kind of hesitant to commit to something that's uncompleted. Do you have any advice?


Developers of both these properties have a long and favourable track record of delivering the goods. Your deposit is held in trust if you deal with a Realtor, you can not lose it.

I guess there are pros and cons of buying well before completion. You might get a lower price, you might not, that depends how the market goes. You'd certainly be able to choose paint colours and fixtures, but do keep in mind the builder will have to upcharge you for varying from what he is going to buy in bulk. But that can all be done in the negotiation.

Just make sure that you both sign off on an agreed floor plan, and you can even write into your contract the type of appliances and fixtures etc. If anything varies widely from your agreed contract, you'd have the right to cancel.

#4 LittleMagellan

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 09:38 AM

Great, thanks so much for the input you two!

#5 Bob Fugger

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 11:01 AM

Great, thanks so much for the input you two!


Good luck in your purchase...but have you considered purchasing a 'used' condo? If what is going on at the Bayview is any indication, if I had purchased a pre-sale at asking (or above asking), I might today be inclined to climb to the top of the tower and jump, having seen their latest "50% off sale." http://www.vibrantvi...1&postcount=333

I've also never understood the logic of plunking down so much money on faith...and you get so little spacewise in these new constructs.

#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 11:07 AM

Good luck in your purchase...but have you considered purchasing a 'used' condo? If what is going on at the Bayview is any indication, if I had purchased a pre-sale at asking (or above asking), I might today be inclined to climb to the top of the tower and jump, having seen their latest "50% off sale." http://www.vibrantvi...1&postcount=333

I've also never understood the logic of plunking down so much money on faith...and you get so little spacewise in these new constructs.


Me too. But, alas, people like "new". So few people have the imagination or can stomach the thought of doing a $50,000 renovation to a used condo that has so much more square footage. $50,000 can make almost any old condo look brand new. And you still might be $50,000 ahead of the game.

#7 sebberry

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 11:16 AM

Me too. But, alas, people like "new". So few people have the imagination or can stomach the thought of doing a $50,000 renovation to a used condo that has so much more square footage. $50,000 can make almost any old condo look brand new. And you still might be $50,000 ahead of the game.


So far I have put $30,000 into my older condo and the quality/features are easily on par with some of the newer places. Hopefully in the next couple of years I can do new carpeting and reno the two bathrooms.

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#8 G-Man

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 12:24 PM

Renoing a used condo was the best financial thing I ever did. I got a huge place for way less than a place half the price it would have cost new. Put a chunk into cosmetics and then sold for almost as much as a new place would go for. You have to be willing to commit some sweat equity and live in a construction zone for a year at least but after that it is all gravy.

#9 LittleMagellan

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 10:09 AM

Good luck in your purchase...but have you considered purchasing a 'used' condo? If what is going on at the Bayview is any indication, if I had purchased a pre-sale at asking (or above asking), I might today be inclined to climb to the top of the tower and jump, having seen their latest "50% off sale." http://www.vibrantvi...1&postcount=333

I've also never understood the logic of plunking down so much money on faith...and you get so little spacewise in these new constructs.


Holy crap, that's quite the significant drop in prices!

Well I was considering buying an older condo, but I don't really want to go through the headache of renos. I just went through that in my place here in NS, and I don't feel like going through the same in BC. It is a lot of money to plunk down on faith, which is why I am hesitant.

How do the heritage buildings do on resale? Do you think the heritage aspect makes it easier to resell?

#10 LittleMagellan

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 10:10 AM

I'm also wondering if the huge influx in condo developments, and people buying them as income properties, are going to create some bubble type effect in the future. Another reason why I'm hesitant to buy and am thinking of renting instead. Thoughts?

#11 Baro

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 12:10 PM

Is it really a huge influx?
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#12 Mike K.

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 03:51 PM

There is an increase in condo construction within the central business district and along Vic West's waterfront, but other than these two areas the rate of condo construction across the city is smaller than it was in previous decades.

Victoria is a city of condos and apartments, but most folks only associate condos with highrises built within the downtown area. And as such there is a large inventory of older condos that if located within a desirable area, could be good investment opportunities.

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#13 LittleMagellan

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 06:26 AM

There is an increase in condo construction within the central business district and along Vic West's waterfront, but other than these two areas the rate of condo construction across the city is smaller than it was in previous decades.

Victoria is a city of condos and apartments, but most folks only associate condos with highrises built within the downtown area. And as such there is a large inventory of older condos that if located within a desirable area, could be good investment opportunities.


Ok, good to know. I'm not familiar with Victoria's construction history, and not being familiar with west coas real estate, it just seemed like there was a lot being built out there. It's reassuring to know that it's not out of the ordinary.

What, in your opinion, would be such an area? Don't worry, I won't come after you if you end up being wrong. I'm just trying to do some research, which is often best done by asking around.

I hope I haven't hijacked this thread inappropriately, if there's a better place to have this convo, please let me know mods.

#14 Baro

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 09:40 AM

Really anywhere is a pretty good area. The thing to look at more carefully would be the building its self. A lot of our condos and apartments of some vintages are nearing points where they will need major repairs. So that really nice big 2 bedroom investment condo you bought for 250,000 suddenly doesn't seem very good when 2 years down the road the building needs a new roof, windows, and a total sheathing replacement.
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#15 yodsaker

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 10:09 AM

When the time comes for us to leave our house (too old to look after it) and go to a condo/townhouse we'll go used for the reasons above. Bang for the buck and you can do a lot for not much.
New baseboards and interior doors, crown mouldings and window casings, dump the arborite or formica and put on a granite countertop, take up the wall-to-wall or parquet tiles and lay wood/engineered wood.
New bathroom fixtures and vanity and a bunch of paint.
You can make over an older place quite quickly without getting into major construction and expense.

#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 10:15 AM

When the time comes for us to leave our house (too old to look after it) and go to a condo/townhouse we'll go used for the reasons above. Bang for the buck and you can do a lot for not much.
New baseboards and interior doors, crown mouldings and window casings, dump the arborite or formica and put on a granite countertop, take up the wall-to-wall or parquet tiles and lay wood/engineered wood.
New bathroom fixtures and vanity and a bunch of paint.
You can make over an older place quite quickly without getting into major construction and expense.


I agree, a condo make-over is just too easy. The people that say they don't want the "hassle" of a renovation are nuts. PLAN very well in advance for delivery windows of all the custom-made goods like the cabinets, go live in a nice hotel for $3000 for a month, pay professional movers to pack, unpack and store your goods, and there is no hassle. Or at least there is not $50k or more worth of hassle, the difference between buying new and buying old and doing the reno.

#17 sebberry

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:26 AM

Really anywhere is a pretty good area. The thing to look at more carefully would be the building its self. A lot of our condos and apartments of some vintages are nearing points where they will need major repairs. So that really nice big 2 bedroom investment condo you bought for 250,000 suddenly doesn't seem very good when 2 years down the road the building needs a new roof, windows, and a total sheathing replacement.


You just have to make sure you buy into a well managed building with a good contingency fund. I've been in my place for 8 years and since then the roof has been replaced, the exterior has been painted and the place appears to be in reasonably good shape. The major expenses have been paid for out of the contingency fund, no special assessments were needed.

After my renos I still have a bigger place than many in town with upgrades easily on-par with new buildings (if not better in some cases).

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#18 yodsaker

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 03:01 PM

Here's a good example of a very nicely-renovated 1970 Oak Bay 1-bedroom suite, sold for $274,900.
Once a basic box but look now at the slide show on this link:

http://www.suzannemi...ilding_id=90578

#19 MarkoJ

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:39 PM

Here's a good example of a very nicely-renovated 1970 Oak Bay 1-bedroom suite, sold for $274,900.
Once a basic box but look now at the slide show on this link:

http://www.suzannemi...ilding_id=90578


It sold for $382 per sq/ft.

1000 two bedroom sq/ft condo sold at the Falls last week for $399,000 = $399 per sq/ft. Strata fee = $252/month

So ground floor, 1970s unit renovated with laminate and white appliances for $382 sq/ft, they could have at least put some granite in? Versus brand new building, concrete, superb location, secured underground parking, pool, heat pump in each unit, granite, etc...

How do you even compare the two? The difference in the cost of appliances alone brings the price per sq/ft to above even. Probably similar strata fee per sq/ft as well.

#20 Guest_Marcat_*

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 04:47 PM

It sold for $382 per sq/ft.

1000 two bedroom sq/ft condo sold at the Falls last week for $399,000 = $399 per sq/ft. Strata fee = $252/month

So ground floor, 1970s unit renovated with laminate and white appliances for $382 sq/ft, they could have at least put some granite in? Versus brand new building, concrete, superb location, secured underground parking, pool, heat pump in each unit, granite, etc...

How do you even compare the two? The difference in the cost of appliances alone brings the price per sq/ft to above even. Probably similar strata fee per sq/ft as well.


I must say I agree with a point here. How do you compare a 1970's wood frame condo in Oak Bay, or anywhere within the Greater Victoria region to a brand new, Concrete building, with brand new appliances, brand new finishing, state of the art wiring and electronic set up, in many cases other amenities such as pools, media rooms, in some cases green intiatives, state of the art sound proofing and insulation and fire proofing etc etc etc. I'm sorry I've been around the block long enough to know if I was to shell out a few of my own bucks I would not be buying a wood frame condo for any price, especially from the 1970s when I could spend a little bit more and wind up with a brand new state of the art concrete condo.

If you aren't comfortable with purchasing on a presale, as has been indicated there are numerous deals to be had on recent developments such as Bayview, the Falls, I'm sure Aria still has some available as well. Or wait until Chard has completed the 834 if you are dead set on that building.

My advice is don't take these penny pinching price comparisons, you simply cannot compare a wood frame condo to a concrete structure condo, don't let pretty renovations on wood frame, for a few bucks less sway, you'll be far happier in a concrete building.

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