Condo rules should be on your shopping checklist

In many ways, buying a resale condo is similar to buying a house. In either scenario, the size, layout, location and condition of the condo, plus your available budget, will all play important factors in your search and decision.

However, there are additional considerations you need to be aware of when you’re looking to switch to the condominium lifestyle.

If you’re downsizing from a home, it’s important to understand that condo living requires more “give and take” than what you’re probably used to. Condos often have rules regarding noise, pets, balcony furniture, barbecues, decorations, drapes and even hardwood floors. These rules will vary from one condominium to another. Take these factors into consideration before embarking on your hunt.

When you do find a condo that you’re interested in, make sure any offer you submit is conditional on a review of the status certificate. It’s a document that the condominium corporation is required to provide on request, which includes a lot of critical information about the condo you will be buying into.

The status certificate will detail a number of items including:

  • The bylaws and rules you’ll have to follow. Chances are they will be enforced by the condominium’s board of directors, so don’t try to sneak in your kitten if pets aren’t allowed. Instead, find another property that is more suitable.
  • The financial records for the condo corporation, including the most recent budget and the balance of the corp.’s reserve fund. If costly repairs are required in the future, insufficient cash in the reserve fund could require a steep increase in your condo fees or result in a special assessment to address a particular repair.
  • The common element fees, which include building maintenance, landscaping, snow removal and other services. Find out what your monthly fees will be and what it covers.
  • The utilities you’ll be responsible for. Each unit could have its own hydro and water meters, or there could be one set of meters for the whole building, with everyone sharing the costs equally.
  • The renter/owner mix in the building. The condo corporation keeps a tally of the number of units rented out by owners. If you plan to live in your unit, a place where most owners occupy their condos may give you the kind of community you desire.
  • Parking arrangements. While the condo you’re looking at may include a parking space, the status certificate will tell you whether you own the parking space or whether it’s a common element owned by the condo corporation.

It’s a good idea to have your real estate representative, and a lawyer, review the status certificate with you before waiving the condition and making your offer firm. By including a properly drafted condition, if you aren’t happy with what you see in the status certificate (for example, if it reveals a significant deficiency in the reserve fund) you can walk away from the deal with your deposit.

The Ministry of Consumer Services offers a useful “Ontario’s Condo Guide” to help you make informed decisions and know your rights and responsibilities when buying a condo. 

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Royal Lepage
Viraj Tanna

Viraj Tanna
Sales Representative

Tel:
416.443.0300

Direct:
416.854.6655

Fax
416.443.8619

Email
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8 Sampson Mews,
Suite 201,
Toronto, ON,
M3C 0H5 

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