Impact of hydro tower, new build condo on fixed income


Dear David,

We visited an open house last weekend and really liked the home, but there’s a hydro tower directly behind it. The tower doesn’t bother me, but my husband thinks it’ll make the house hard to sell down the line. What’s your opinion? – WIRED

DEAR WIRED: If you were to compare two identical homes and one of them backed onto a hydro tower, there would be some difference in value. Your Realtor can estimate the impact, which may depend on what you see when you look out the window.

Unusual property features tend to have pros and cons. Hydro towers are often located on massive greenbelts, which could mean you’ll have no rear neighbours. Modern planners are also transforming spaces like these into parks and walking trails with increasing frequency. Yet from what I understand, some buyers feel uncomfortable living next to high voltage wires, despite the lack of evidence that they cause harm.

In my perfect world, houses wouldn’t back onto towers, but they would back onto green space. You’ll have to do your own cost benefit analysis to decide if this location is worth it.

PRO TIP:  If you decide to move forward with the purchase, make sure your offer accounts for the impact of the tower, just as you would if you were buying a home on a busy street. If you and your husband can rationalize the decision, you’ll be fine. If not, keep looking.

Dear David,

My husband and I want to downsize to a newly built condo. The one we have our eye on should be ready in about a year. We’re on a very fixed income and the price is right, should we lock in now? – READY FOR SOMETHING NEW

DEAR READY: Congratulations on finding something you’re excited about. While it’s great to lock in early and have lots of time to prepare, it’s best to approach a new build with your eyes wide open.

With the completion date so far away, your builder may have numerous opportunities to delay closing, especially if they’ve yet to put a shovel in the ground. Before cementing your moving plans, check the builder’s track record and see if they have a reputation for delivering on time. Once your final occupancy date (a.k.a. move-in date) is set, you can start firming up your own schedule. Your Realtor can match up the timelines.

When it comes to new projects, developers hardly ever overestimate their projected condo fees. Monthly fees may be guaranteed for a set period, but if you’re on a fixed income, be sure to leave yourself a little wiggle room. It’s possible you’ll be surprised two or three years down the line. 

PRO TIP: Established condo complexes may be less flashy, but their fees are typically more stable and predictable, having gone through a few reserve fund studies (an independent check-up done every three years). #AskDavid #Advice