Written By Chris Doucet
The Condo Conundrum
New condo presales are springing up everywhere. The Seattle area has gone from only resale condo inventory for many years to a vast selection for those buyers willing to wait for buildings to be out of the ground or finished.
These new buildings are sexy and shiny and, for the most part, offer or promise to provide, a vast array of concierge services and enticing community spaces.
As always, condos offer a wonderful option for the first time (often millennial) buyer desirous of a simplified solution in a residence; and with the aging of the baby boomers, empty nesters in hoards are looking to condos to downsize and free themselves from home maintenance and upkeep.
So you have decided on a condo. Do you buy new or invest in a resale?
Price is a major consideration. Buildings under construction are listed in the $1,500 range per sq ft in presale. Resale homes in urban Seattle and Bellevue are typically in the $800 to $1000 sq ft range. Older buildings may not have the latest in technology but they may have more living space. They may also have dated systems that may require updating with potential assessments and higher home owner dues. If price is a consideration, resale is more affordable.
It is always nice to live in a brand new dwelling. Like a vehicle with that new car smell, it can be intoxicating. Waiting for completion of that new project can be an issue. Is it worth the wait on a building that may not be ready when you are? Are you overpaying? What will the housing market appreciation be until then? Will the amenities be up to expectations? What about the developer warranties?
How about views? Since Seattle has become “crane city”, lots of condo views have been impacted. Be sure that the view that you are paying for will not get compromised. Seattle in Progress is a great site to research as are city sites on rezoning boundaries (Housing Affordabilty and Livability) and the LID (Local Improvement District) for upcoming Seattle city assessments to help fund our new waterfront park.
Do your research. Armed with the right information, you can make the best decision for your future condo home.