Condo living is very different from owning a home so its crucial to understand all the responsibilities that come with it well. Unlike homes, condos often have rules regarding pets, noise and even drapes and balcony furniture. So when hunting to buy a condo make sure you are aware of all the do's and don'ts. Although the home buying process does not vary whether you are a home buyer interested to buy new or resale town homes, detached homes, semi-detached homes or condominiums. What's important is when you are deciding to invest in a resale condominium some additional considerations have to be understood;
Review all the financial documents the corporation is obliged these include the annual operating budget; end-of-year financial statements; and the estoppel or status certificate.
- Status Certificate: When you make an offer on a condo, it should be conditional on a review of the status certificate. It’s a document that includes a lot of critical information about the condo corporation.
- By-laws and Rules: Make sure you can live with the condo’s rules. If pets aren’t allowed, don’t try to sneak in your puppy. Instead, find another property that is more suitable.
- Financial Records for the Condo Corporation: the certificate will include the corporation’s most recent budget and the balance of the corporation’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.
- Utilities: utilities could be included with your condo fees or paid separately. 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. You’ll want to know so you can budget accordingly.
- Rental status: when owners lease out their units, they are required to notify the condo corporation. The corporation keeps a tally and includes the figure as part of the status certificate. If you want to rent your unit, it may make sense to buy in a condo that contains many other tenants. On the other hand, if you plan to live in your unit, a place where most owners live in their condo may give you the kind of community you desire.
- Parking: your unit may include a parking space, but it’s important to understand whether you will own the parking space yourself, or whether it’s a common element owned by the condo corporation that you are assigned, but that you don’t own.
Ultimately when you buy into a condo, you are also choosing your community. It’s a big commitment, so take the time to find a place that suits your personal needs. Don’t overlook potential issues in the rush to purchase a property. For more information about buying a condo, check out the rights and responsibilities of condo owners.