When buying, or looking to buy a condominium, the same rule applies as with all other real estate transactions: there is no rush. Take the time to think before you act.
You dream of moving into a condo because it will simplify your life. You might be right but it does not mean that you should not analyze your needs in a more detached way. If you are an empty-nester, you will probably want at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Will you be near mass transportation considering the expenses of running a car if not two? How far are you going to be from your workplace?
Do you, or will you, have children living with you? If so, chose an area that is welcoming to children. Every family has specific needs regarding sporting activities, educational requirements or religious communities, etc.
Condo living is gaining in popularity because it suits those who are not willing to spend a lot of time taking care of the lawn or the house and other menials chores that are not universally appreciated. But it is what can be described as “proximity living" and it can have its drawbacks. Make sure that you are familiar with the day to day environment and that you have a ‘feel’ for the locality before making an offer on a property.
Chose a building where the owners have a similar economic profile to yours, since you will have to live and share the costs of up-keep and renovations with the other owners. You don't want to go on the cheap, but on the other hand you want to be able to live and keep up with your neighbors.
Finally and most importantly, make sure to ask your real estate agent very specific questions regarding this property and the neighborhood. These will be covered in upcoming articles.
Gilles Martin is a Real Estate Agent, accomplished Entrepreneur and long-time businessman. His articles can be read on Musings of a Real Estate Agent .