For many, purchasing a condo is an exciting experience. Condos are popular among young professionals and those with an active lifestyle looking for urban convenience without the hassle of upkeep. They’re also popular among near-retirees looking to downsize from the large family home.
Because condo living is a transition for many, it’s understandable that most first-time condo buyers have some confusion around the monthly payments they can expect. But estimating your monthly costs isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Here are some of the basic factors that will contribute to your monthly payment.
A good first step in estimating your monthly payments is to look at starting prices. Starting prices will give you a baseline to work with. Starting prices are guaranteed to vary depending on the location of the development, proximity to the Calgary city centre, amenities, and so on.
For instance, Streetside Development’s Origins at Cranston development in Calgary’s southeast starts at the $180's. Moving closer to Calgary’s downtown is Streetside’s Vivace at West 85th development which starts in the late $200's with luxury, 2-level condo’s starting in the $480's. Pricing varies widely depending on the condo development; to get an immediate ballpark figure starting prices are a great place to begin.
Styles, Models And Upgrades
Once you’ve found the condo community in your price range it’s time to consider the second major set of factors. What are your needs?
Each condo development will have a variety of floor plans and upgrades for consideration and these of course, factor into your cost. Even if you aren’t sure of the upgrades you’re interested in, it’s important to decide on the essentials. How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? Finished basement? These sorts of questions can alter costs significantly.
Once you have your figure in place, it’s time to decide on your down payment. Your down payment will have a significant impact on your monthly payments. For a quick and easy way to calculate your mortgage payment you can visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website and use their Mortgage Payment Calculator.
The CMHC website also provides information on tax credits like the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit and Home Buyers’ Plan which may factor into your monthly payments. Remember, down payments of less than 20% will require homeowner’s insurance to be added to your monthly mortgage payment.
Last but not least are condo fees. On top of your monthly mortgage payments condo living also includes condo fees. This is where condos differ from most other residential housing options. Condo fees usually pay for common areas in the community, amenities such as lobbies and gyms, and services such as trash and snow removal and any building and unit repairs. Condo fees are designed to create a worry-free, low maintenance lifestyle. Condo fees can be unique in that they may also pay for a portion of your utilities.
Condo fees vary not only from community to community but from city to city as well. Often fees are calculated based off of the square footage of the unit. The easiest way to determine what your expected fees may be is to connect with the sales team.
It’s Always Best To Ask!
If you’re in the process of crunching numbers it never hurts to ask. It’s easy to check off the big boxes of starting prices, bedrooms and bathrooms, but it’s important to look at upgrades and customization as well. Figure out your baselines and work up from there.
The beauty of condo living is it’s practically maintenance-free. Every condo community will have its own individual perks and amenities. Make sure to get a full list of all that your condo fees cover to avoid surprises. Between layout, design and fees you will be in range of what to expect each month after you’ve decided to make your move.