Old Condos vs New Condos: Pros and Cons of East Van Options

02.07.2014

We have lots of clients who specify that they are only looking for a condo built in the last 5 years, or post-2000.. nothing “old” since it doesn’t suit their modern lifestyle and they’re nervous about the potential construction necessary to upkeep an old condo building. East Vancouver is an older area in Vancouver and has lots of older condo buildings in the heart of all the established neighbourhoods. If you’re going to live in East Van, there’s a good chance you’ll be living in a building more than 20 years old. Just remember: and older condo doesn’t equate to a leaky condo.

Pros and Cons of Older Condo Buildings: Design

Older East Vancouver condo buildings have a lot to offer: they generally have bigger floor plans with more “character” (think beams, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, etc), bedrooms that can fit more than just a bed, lots of built in storage/closets, good sized balcony’s. When land wasn’t at such a premium, architects had a little more freedom when it came to building design so many older buildings have good sight lines and help you avoid the feeling of staring directly into your neighbours living room. Older condos may also be needing a renovation, allowing you to inject some of your own creativity and design into the space to give it a modern touch.

One of the negatives is older condo buildings typically have smaller kitchens, that are often closed off from the rest of the space. These days many people are looking for large, open, entertainer’s kitchens. If you knock out a wall and re-do the kitchen, you can have this in an older condo building, but it would require some renovation work. Older condo buildings typically have a wood exterior or stucco exterior rather than the glass, metal and brick exteriors of newer buildings. Functionally, they both get the job done, but if aesthetics are important to you, there isn’t much you can do to modernize the exterior. At some point in the building’s life, the hallways and lobby will be updated with new flooring, paint and light fixtures to give it a fresh feeling.

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The Stella – A 2008 Built Condo in East Vancouver

Pros and Cons of Older Condo Buildings: Amenities

Older condo buildings often come with large parking spots and large storage lockers, whereas newer condo building have a surprising number of small spots and a lack of storage lockers (often they don’t build enough for each unit).

An older condo building in East Vancouver may not have the fancy amenities like some newer buildings (think pool, gym, party rooms, etc) but you also don’t have to pay for the extra amenities that you may not use. However, having those amenities can be very useful depending on your lifestyle.

Pros and Cons of Older Condo Buildings: Cost

Mechanically, if the building has updated it’s major systems – boilers, roof, rainscreen, windows, elevators, lobbies, etc. then it’s can be just as good as new, perhaps even better as some of these systems will come with a warranty. Otherwise, the building may need some maintenance in the next few years (we’ll uncover this is information during the buying process), so you may need to be prepared for a special assessment. However, a newer building may also require some maintenance work and you could be charged a special assessment in that situation as well (it’s a little more unlikely, though not out of the realm of possibility). Keep in mind that any maintenance and updates to your building helps maintain it’s performance and your investment.

For investors, newer units are often a good choice because they can be easily rented, and when you buy directly from the developer, you’ll always have the option of renting out the unit (even if the buildings decides to change the rules years later).

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Landmark Manor – A 1973 Built Condo in East Vancouver

Pros and Cons of Older Condo Buildings: Location

East Vancouver is booming when it comes to real estate – lots of people are setting their sights on the many different neighbourhoods: Main, Mount Pleasant, Hastings East and Strathcona, all of which have a lot of older condo buildings but have new developments popping up giving Buyers a range of options when it comes to looking into their next home.

At the end of the day, preference will be your deal breaker – if you’re open to the idea of living in a new or old building, tour both of them to see how far your dollars will stretch. Let us know what you preferences are and then trust our judgment – if we see a great unit in a well maintained older building, we’ll want to show you!

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