What’s your View?

My wife and I checked into a hotel in midtown Manhattan last year on our first trip to the Big Apple. On the way to the hotel, we excitedly talked about having our morning coffee while enjoying the view of Central Park, or maybe overlooking the Museum of Modern Art. We were like kids on Christmas morning, giddy with anticipation. Well we weren’t looking over Central Park; I think we were overlooking the accounts receivable department of an insurance company. There was an office building about 15 feet from our window (we could see what they were typing on their computers!). We look back on it now and laugh because it only lasted four days. But what if we hadn’t checked into a hotel but bought a condo where the “insurance building” went up a year or so later?

Many people buy condos specifically for the view they offer but cityscapes are constantly changing so here is some food for thought on condo views.

Natural sunlight is a big plus for most condos so if it is important to you, make sure you see the unit at a couple of times in the day. Based on the location of surrounding buildings, the condo that is flooded in natural light at 1 pm might be in complete shade by 2.

Another important consideration is how long will your view last? The upper floors of The Strand condominium at the corner of Somerset and Kent have wonderful western views that fill the units on that side with afternoon sun and gorgeous sunsets. However, directly across the street sitting the opposite corner (primo real estate no doubt) is a Budget Car Rental hut with a bunch of rental cars parked. As my clients bask in the glow of the sunset while we are viewing these units, I always point out to them that, while I don’t have a crystal ball, I doubt that million dollar corner is going to be a Budget rental lot forever. The point here is of course is that your unobstructed view may someday be obstructed and you need to ask questions and do some research before signing on the dotted line.

Another consideration is not the view you are getting, but the view you are offering. Some residents of surrounding buildings in high density areas may make a hobby of peering into your life (if you know what I mean). Have good look around from every window and try to imagine what others can see from their windows. Some condo corporations have strict guidelines on what type of window coverings you can put up so a blind may not always be a solution.

All kidding aside, the view can be one of the highlights of your condo so make sure you consider all of the possibilities if it is important to you. That’s just my view.

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.


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