A light dusting of snow on the three sisters is an ominous foreshadow on the winter to come. Word around town is for colder than average temperatures and bigger than average snowfall. There are few certainties in life; taxes, death and tourists in Fernie in the winter.
Its condo buying season, and after a dismal year of sales and sliding prices there are many good deals to be had in Fernie.
Here are some tips to help you with your first or tenth condo purchase.
1. Hire a professional REALTOR(r) to help you in your search. As a buyer you pay no fees and having someone with local knowledge is key. Plus you might get to ride around in a fancy car.
2. Make an appointment with your banker/mortgage broker to figure out what you can comfortably afford. Don't spend your vacation time worrying about how you'll pay for it.
3. Make a list of what is important in a property before you start looking. There is no point in paying a premium for ski in, ski out accommodation if you spend most of your time in the lodge/bar/hot tub. Understand who the primary users of the property will be and their needs. This will help to narrow your search and save your REALTOR(r) gas money.
4. Think about the resale of a condo before you buy. A general rule is buy the biggest unit that you can afford (see #2 above). Studio and one bedroom units are more difficult to sell and few people over the age of 10 like bunk beds. Upper level units generally sell for more.
5. Consider the exposure of the unit. Condo units often have only one exposure, decide whether you would like to be facing the hill, south facing etc... Understand the pros and cons of your choice. A south facing unit will be warmer in the winter but also warmer in the summer. Keep in mind noise from nearby buildings and businesses.
6. Try and avoid units close to the elevator or areas where guests may congregate. Units above garage doors and ventilation ducts will be more difficult to sell.
7. If you drive and even if you don't ensure that your unit has a parking space. Underground parking is a great feature to have and doubles as a storage space for your winter toys in the summer. Again, think about the resale of the unit.
8. In most of the buildings in Fernie, skis and snowboards are not allowed in the condo units. Make sure that your condo has a storage locker for your belongings.
9. Read the fine print, or at the very least have someone with multiple letters after their name read it for you. Look over strata documents and financials and understand the condo association before you become a member of it. Your REALTOR(r) will be able to answer any questions you may have and may have sold many units previously in your building.
10. Understand your rights as an owner for rental of the unit. Buildings will sometimes have rental restriction caveats or mandatory property management in place. Fees for rental management can be as high as 50%, know this information before you buy.
11. Have a look at all of the facilities included in the building and speak with some current owners about the maintenance record.
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