Do you really need a Patio, Balcony or Deck?
It’s amazing how many people put stock into outdoor space when they’re looking for a 1 or 2 bedroom condo in Kits – and for good reason. Fresh air (without having to put on shoes and use the elevator), the idea of having a different room in your home, entertaining friends, smoking (though make sure the bylaws allow it!), enjoying the view of the North Shore mountains from Kitsilano, BBQ-ing (check those bylaws!) and more.
However, have you really 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 that it’s 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 at it’s leisure.
Perhaps it’s glorious Kitsilano Beach (and Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, and Locarno Beach) that draws people off their balcony to the beautiful public spaces and beaches in Kitsilano when they want sun and fresh air. Or perhaps it’s a North Facing balcony that is in the shade most of the day (that isn’t so appealing). Or perhaps it’s not covered so when it rains in Vancouver, it pours! For whatever reason, when you’re looking for a new 1 bedroom condo/apartment or 2 bedroom condo/apartment in Kits, think about your lifestyle – do you absolutely need outdoor space?
For the people who don’t generally use their balcony: why give up interior square footage for exterior square footage you don’t use? Often, because balcony’s are revered, the price of a condo in Kits with a balcony is higher than the price of a comparable property without a balcony. Or, an apartment in Kits with a patio or balcony will be the same price as a similar unit with more indoor square footage and no outdoor space.
Consider buying into a Kitsilano condo building that offers a common rooftop or ground level outdoor space – one that all owners can use at their leisurely. The plus side? Most Kits buildings have FANTASTIC views of the mountains and oceans from the roof top, and most of these common patios aren’t used very much by owners. Often, the strata will provide tables, chairs and maybe even a barbeque for you to use. The downside? It’s not your own space, so you generally have to follow times (most close by 11pm), or you have have to carry a chair, book and your drink with you every time you want to enjoy it. A small price to pay for a great space that serves your needs. Quite a few buildings in Kits offer common rooftop patios.
In terms of new condos, it’s much more expensive for developers to build balconies. Also, they’re expensive to maintain, 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 with offers in hand.
Luckily, thanks to the mild Vancouver weather, if your balcony is covered you can use it for a majority of the year! Especially with some of the older buildings in the city, you’ll find some great outdoor spaces where the Architects wanted to take advantage of the weather and views here. The newer condo balcony’s can lack personality, though you’ll find that the higher end units in most new buildings have some fantastic outdoor space.
Consider your lifestyle and see if patios and balconies would be a nice addition, or an empty space.