4 reasons why you should buy an older condo

Posted by on Monday, November 28th, 2016 at 5:01pm.

New multi-family home builders in Kelowna can hardly keep up with demand.  People are quick to put deposits down for a brand-new condominium with a modern floor plan.  They want the latest design, luxurious appointments, the stainless appliance package and space-age technology in their homes.  Many are attracted by the additional amenities that builders are happy to provide (for a price).  Amenities like party rooms with full kitchens and barbecue area, a fitness centre or even a pool.  But an older building in an established neighbourhood in Kelowna could be an alternative to the splashy new building.  Here are something things to consider:

Older Condominiums Offer More Room

No doubt you’ve heard people say that when it comes to homes, they’re not built the way they used to be built.  The same holds true for condos.  While design and lifestyles have evolved over the last 10 years, with extensive use of windows that can be the entire length of the room, the available square feet in new condos has shrunk.  Perhaps it’s not as noticeable because of those huge windows.  The open concept layout can also be deceiving as to how much room you actually have versus the actual square footage.  Open concept living can be over-rated.  For the home owner that enjoys a bit of privacy in the kitchen or isn’t a rabid house keeper and dish washer, having a wall between the kitchen and living space can be a good thing.  The average size of a two-bedroom condo in Canada is approximately 700 square feet.  Older two-bedrooms can be on average just over 1,000 square feet.  Much of that extra square footage is often in the bedrooms.

Older buildings are sturdy often made of solid brick and walls of cement or cinder block. Plumbing behind the walls is often copper pipe which can last for years. 

More Sustainable Condo Fee Structure

A shiny new building might often advertise reasonable condo fees, even with those sparkling amenities.  Older condominiums might have more expensive maintenance fees but historically, when new condo buildings get up and running, rest assured that those fees will go up.

There’s a warranty on new condominiums from the developer, but that will expire.  A new building is untested and there could be hidden structure defects that would have already been apparent and fixed in an older building.  Things like the boiler or the elevator, even a swimming pool haven’t been test driven yet.  An older building is stable.  The amount of money it takes to operate the building and conduct annual maintenance is established.  If there’s a good condo board, there should be a healthy reserve fund which a new building’s board has to start saving for.

Established Kelowna Neighbourhoods

Older buildings in Kelowna’s inner-city areas are established and ready for you to start experiencing.  No doubt there’s a neighbourhood culture waiting for you to enjoy.  There are night spots and favourite restaurants, shopping and good transit service.  City infrastructure is already there.  If you need a school or a nearby medical facility, those things are already in place.

Good Neighbours Invested in the Kelowna Community

An established condominium development most likely has residents that call this place home and have done so for several years.  There are more investors who purchase condos in new buildings and you might be living in a building of renters who may be nice people but who aren’t concerned about the future of the building or the neighbourhood as much as you might be.  Older buildings have a larger ratio of units occupied by owners themselves.  Attendance at condo association meetings is greater.  In a new building, there might be a smaller pool of people making very important decisions that affect everyone.

Get Advice from the Experts

Looking for a Kelowna condo?  Like the idea of an established area and an older building?  Work closely with a real estate professional who can help you choose a good neighbourhood, who has some history on an older building.  

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