Now is a wonderful time to buy a condominium suite in the Greater Toronto Area, with mortgage interest rates still so low, and a fabulous selection of residences from some of the Ontario’s finest builders. Whether you are a first-time or seasoned buyer, a new home purchase is a major investment – and worth the time it takes to make your decision an educated one. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your “homework” before you buy.

As you narrow your choices, consider all the parameters and compare fairly. Location is always at the top of everyone’s list. Check out how long it will take you to get to work during rush hour. Do the commute a couple times for a realistic idea. Is the condominium located in a spot that is handy to amenities? If so, that saves a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle. In fact, depending on your life circumstances, you may not even need a car if the condo is close to public transportation.

How about architecture? If you are a modern free spirit, a sleek glass tower may reflect your personality more than a traditional European-styled building. Does the exterior appeal to you? Are there outdoor areas such as terraces, rooftop gardens or courtyards where you can sit or dine alfresco? One of the best things about living in a condominium is having interior amenities under your roof. Take a look at what common areas are included in the buildings you are considering, and ask yourself which ones are important to you and to the future resale value of your suite.

Features and finishes should be a critical component of your ultimate decision as well. Which appointments are included in the purchase price, and are they of a high enough quality that you will not feel you have to upgrade to get what you want? Today’s builders are incorporating outstanding choices; when you compare, these can make a big difference in how much value you receive for the price.

And how about builder reputation? Does the developer have a track record, and have you driven by completed condominiums to see their finished products and how the buildings are aging? I know of many buyers who actually create a spreadsheet to list all these considerations, so that when they are ready to take action, they can compare item for item. The object is to find the right condominium for you – and only you can make that happen. Take heart – this is one kind of “homework” that can be fun!