East Van Condos: The Pros and Cons of Outdoor Space
It’s amazing how many people (read: most) want outdoor space when they’re looking for their new condo – whether it be for fresh air, entertaining friends, BBQ-ing, smoking (if your building bylaws allow it) or enjoying the view (of the mountains if you’re lucky!). However, have you ever looked around to see how many people actually use their balconies?! Whether they lack any furniture, or people just never seem to be outside using them, I find it so rare to see balconies get the attention they deserve. Even ground level patios sometimes don’t get used unless the owner has a dog that needs to run around. The reason why I’m bringing this up is because equal units without outdoor space are either less expensive or have more interior square footage to use.
There are many reasons why people might not use their outdoor space to it’s fullest potential – perhaps it’s north facing and is too often in the shade, or perhaps people get out to enjoy a beautiful city park when they want some fresh air. If the balcony isn’t covered, it isn’t ideal to use for rainy weather Vancouver seems to get most of the year.
When you’re looking for your next 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom condo in East Van, think about your lifestyle – do you really need outdoor space? If you don’t expect to use your balcony very often, why give up some livable, interior square footage for the space you don’t use? Often, because every wants a balcony, the price of a condo in East Van with a balcony is higher than the price of a comparable property without a balcony. Or, an apartment in East Van with a patio or balcony will be the same price as a similar unit with more indoor square footage and no outdoor space. Many condo buildings offer common rooftop decks that you can use at your leisure (generally they close at 11pm, but if you’re quiet it shouldn’t be a problem). Make the most of the large deck space that usually has AMAZING views of the city. Most homeowners don’t use these spaces, so you should have it to yourself most of the time. Often, the roof top patio will have tables, chairs and maybe even a BBQ to use (and if not, bring it up in a strata meeting, there may be other owners who agree that you need furniture up there).
In terms of new condos, it’s much more expensive for developers to build balconies (ironically, balconies are one feature developers use to add interest to the architecture). Also, they’re expensive to maintain (and those costs are passed down to the owners), especially since they suffer the ramifications of weather extremes like rain, sun, cold and hot.
Many people probably think that condos can be harder to sell without a balcony, but this isn’t necessarily true. It’s a hard stat to measure, but units without a balcony do sell, and in good time for a good price. Often, units with extra large balcony’s or patios can be harder to sell in the winter when it’s raining, purely because people see this huge useless space when they view the property. However, sell that same condo when the sun is shining and people will come running. I know of a lot of great buildings in East Vancouver that don’t offer outdoor space, but have fantastic floor plans and are very well managed buildings.
Consider your lifestyle and see if patios and balconies would be a nice addition, or an empty space.