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Buying + Selling

How to… Assess the Benefits of a Presale Condo

By Bob de Wit February 9, 2016

As seen in...

Westcoast Condominium

Considering the purchase of a condo? Metro Vancouver is currently in a major development phase with new condo developments throughout the region. Buying new, off showroom plans, might seem a little daunting. However, there are some major perks getting in on the pre-construction phase.

Customize Your Unit

A big advantage is flexibility in customizing your condo. Remember, you are in the pre-construction phase, so there are a lot of options to negotiate.

The obvious upgrades include appliances, fixtures, flooring choices and paint colour. Builders will have a margin to work with, so the rule of thumb when considering upgrades is: the more you upgrade, the larger the discount to negotiate.

The configuration within a condo, in the pre-construction phase, will have flexibility, so be sure to review the layout and compare it with your lifestyle. Maybe a small one-bedroom could be reconfigured into a larger, open-plan studio. There may be opportunities to add or omit a flex wall to customize the size of the living space. An extra storage room or flex room can make all the difference when dealing with functionality and small spaces.

Be sure to review external features including parking stalls, personal bike racks, extra storage lockers and amenities. There may be options to purchase extra or omit from your customized package, affecting the livability and future resale value.

Financial Benefits

Another advantage of pre-purchase is the potential financial benefits. Owner-occupiers buying a pre-sale in a rising market can benefit with time on their side. Pre-qualifying with just five per cent down, coupled with a move-in date of two years down the road, for example, provides time to save for a larger deposit, potentially omitting the need for CMHC mortgage insurance. This may allow a buyer who previously was a high-ratio borrower, to become a low-ratio buyer, saving thousands of dollars in mortgage insurance premiums. And with the state of the current marketplace, the value of the condo will potentially have gone up over time, increasing your investment gain.

As with all new homes in BC, buying a pre-construction condo will come under the 2-5-10 year warranty program, mandated by the Homeowner Protection Office, a Branch of BC Housing. Plus, all appliances, being brand new, will be under warranty, lowering maintenance and unforeseen costs.

Want Free Buying Advice?

It is a good idea to research your options and be prepared for when presale opportunities come on the market. The Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association, a not-for-profit society, is hosting the 22nd annual Home Buyers Seminar on Wednesday, March 2, at SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, from 5pm to 8pm. Featured speakers include industry experts from: the Homeowner Protection Office, a Branch of BC Housing; Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver; Royal Bank of Canada; Kuhn LLP, FortisBC and the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC. Topics include all types of home buying, including the purchase of pre-sale condominiums.

A great opportunity to gather free advice from experts offering their personal, industry perspective, the information presented, is not readily found on the Internet. Considering the current state of the market, with higher demand for real estate placing added pressures on the buyer, this seminar is offered at a time when buyers can use all the leverage possible.

For more information, and to register for this free consumer seminar, go to The seminar will also be streamed live. Pre-registration is required for both options.