This is the first time I’m buying a home from a plan. Yup, I made one of the biggest purchases of my life and I couldn’t see it up close and personal and I had to buy it quick from rinky dinky floor plans because my choices were slim and the market is competitive. (Honestly, I had less time to think about buying this then when I’m buying jeans).
My new condo search from start to finish literally lasted a week because I had to move fast to get the best of what was available. I was basically living a real-time episode of House Hunters. I finally whittled it down to three choices (just like the show), each from a different building, but before I came to them, there were a lot of factors I had to consider before making my decision.
- Surprisingly, I didn’t have a lot to choose from. My neighbourhood is not chock-a-block with new developments and my NIMBY area won’t allow anything higher than 6 floors to be built so even existing stock was low.
- Larger units over 1000 square feet are hard to come by, whether old or new build. My real estate agent showed me that only 9 units over 1000 square feet had come up on the market in the last year.
- I didn’t want to move far from where we were already living, so looking that bit further east or that bit further west wasn’t an option to drum up more selection.
- The best floor plans were sold because that’s how it goes when you’re buying from plan, especially in buildings that are close to breaking ground (which were most of my available choices). However the upside is less waiting to move-in (at least I hope so; fingers crossed).
- A lot of the plans I loved had obstructed views. I’m guessing this is strategic to help sell the less coveted square footage.
Here’s my advice before starting your own search:
- If you have a specific budget, accept that you’re not going to get everything you want.
- Prioritize your wish list and consider yourself lucky if you get most of what you want (let’s say your top 3 to 5 must-haves).
- Sometimes you have to act fast, so go with your gut. T-R-U-S-T.
- If you’re meh about your new box when you finally see it, smart design choices are your best friend to make the most of a space and all it’s lovely quirks.
- Remember, at the end of the day, all you need is love—and a big kitchen island with a wine fridge—to be happy.
My Final 3 Family-Friendly Floor Plan Options
The Big Ol’ Box
The first impression: Okay, there’s nothing exciting about this one. It’s literally a well-priced box.
The pros: There’s a den that’s not just a nook being sold as a den. There’s a storage closet in the unit (right next to the hall closet). The balcony is nice and roomy at 250 square feet. It faces south and none of the bedrooms open up onto the living area.
The cons: The only unit left is situated on the second floor and it overlooks the backyards of a residential street (the sales office even had drone photos of the view). It’s not a corner unit with more windows which is on my wish list. Phooey.
The Pretty Finish
The first impression: You can’t see the finishes for this one, but trust me, they were drop-dead luxe with a sticker price to match.
The pros: Two balconies. It’s a tighter squeeze but it is a corner unit with a more established address. Wood panelled ceilings, finished balconies with tiled floors and walls, standard upgraded Euro appliances…oh the list goes on and on.
The cons: The building is situated on a corner that’s rather busy for me and it’s shy of my ideal square footage of a minimum 1200 square feet.
The Spacious Triangle
The first impression: Wow, this one’s roomy, but is it practical? FYI: The price is right.
The pros: Tons of space and it’s clocking in as big as many average-sized houses in the the 6ix. Check out the wrap around windows and two balconies. There’s the option to have a third room as an office or playroom and the second bedroom is in a separate “wing”.
The cons: It is a triangle which means it could be potentially weird to furnish. Two of the bedrooms walk out into the living room and kitchen and the balcony is not quite deep enough for entertaining.
And the winner is…The Big ‘Ol Box. Let’s look at it again…
Here’s why it won: Yeah, it’s basic and normcore. It’s like a grey crew neck sweater. There’s nothing exciting about it but it sure is functional. The big balcony, the extra play room for the kid (and the cat), the in-suite storage closet (for the vacuum, mop, gift-wrapping supplies etcetera), the lovely price and the proper bedroom hallway all made up for it’s second floor view and the lack of wrap around windows. Sure, I’m worried if there will be enough light (it is south-facing so I’m told by many not to sweat it) and I’m freaked out the living/dining/kitchen area will feel like a bowling alley but isn’t that when good design choices come into play? Let’s hope I make the right ones when the time comes.
Which one would you pick? Let me know in the comments below. xo