Buying a Condo
Things to Consider when Buying a Re-Sale Condominium Apartment
So, you found the perfect apartment-style condominium, great location, perfect size and perfect price!
Now What? Have you done your homework before making the offer?
Is it indoor (secure, heated?) or outdoor, one space or two? Is it owned (deeded to your suite) or exclusive use? Exclusive use parking may change in the future.
Can you rent a second space from the condo corporation? If so, how much? Where is it? Or perhaps rent one from another unit owner? Remember this option may change as units change hands, or the other owner’s needs change.
Check the Visitor parking, is there enough? Is there overnight visitor parking?
Be sure to LOOK at the parking and locker included with your suite. Check the condition, location, size, accessibility. Verify the numbers.
There may also be restrictions on motorbikes, trucks or commercial vehicles.
Condo Fees :
What do they cover? Usually they cover building maintenance (snow, grass, halls etc. ), water, building insurance, management services, garbage collection and repairs to common elements (roof, driveways, exterior, amenities)
Condo Fees sometimes also cover: heat, A/C, hot water, water softening, parking, locker.
Is there a water heater and water softener in your suite? Are these rented or owned?
How is your heating and cooling provided and who maintains and repairs these systems? Is your hydro separately metered or included?
What amenities are there? Is there a party room, pool, gym, hot tub, outdoor patio areas, BBQ’s, workshop, guest suite, library, games room. Look at these areas. If you intend to use these facilities be sure to read through the rules and potential fees, deposits etc.
Check on the TV provider, Phone? Internet? Most often satellite dishes are not allowed. Sometimes the building has one on the roof for all to access.
Is the building pet friendly? Or NO pets? Number of pets may be restricted or restrictions may include pets up to a certain height or weight, certain breeds of dogs may be forbidden. Exotic pets may not be allowed. If pets are allowed there will certainly be rules about noise and clean-up.
Check rules on window coverings allowed, often only white on the outside, sometimes more specific -like vertical blinds only !
Check rules for BBQ’s, often not allowed.
Check the rules for balconies, often you may only have seasonal furniture and potted plants. You may not be able to hang things on the rail, you may or may not be able to put seasonal lights or decorations.
You may not be able to hang things on the outside of your door (like wreaths or flowers)
You may not be able to bring real Christmas trees into the building
There may be a rule restricting car washing, or there may be an area set up for you do do-it-yourself on site.
Planning to do renovations? New flooring, new kitchen, new bathroom? Be sure to check on the rules and procedures to accomplish these things. Often these projects must be approved by the board of directors. There will be restrictions on how and when work may be done.
Are you sensitive to noise? Is the building wood frame or concrete? Will you be able to hear your neighbours.
Check your view , are you immediately beside or above the entrance for the garage door, garbage bins, driveway for garbage truck or large central air conditioning units.
Note your proximity to elevators, garbage chutes, party rooms, pools etc.
Check grounds and common areas for signs of neglected repairs and poor maintenance. Pay attention to halls and Elevators. How well the building is cared for is often a good indication of the overall health of the corporation and the staff they hire.
Look at the area around you, any building projects planned? Perhaps another high rise blocking your view, new highway, big box store …..
Read the condo’s bulletin boards, look for notices in the halls / elevators, pick up a copy of a recent newsletter, speak to some residents in the hall or elevator. If there are problems, you can often get indications from owners and tenants.
Also Good to Check :
Mail, where is it located, is there a system for parcel delivery? Newspaper delivery?
How is garbage managed, garbage chute (where is it located?) How is recycling and packing boxes handled.
Moving in / out – often the elevator needs to be reserved, there may be special truck entrance / parking area, also check if you plan on getting new furniture or appliances delivered. There may be a damage deposit required.
What percentage of the building is rental vs. owner occupied. Are you located near a university and there may be a high proportion of student rentals?
Is the building professionally managed, can you contact someone with questions.
Security: cameras at front door and / or parking garage?
Keys : how many will you receive with your suite. May you get extras? At what cost ?
Hire a knowledgeable Realtor to review the sales figures for the building and comparable buildings in your region.
Most Important :
Make your offer to purchase conditional on the review of the status Certificate. Have your lawyer review these documents carefully. You need to know the financial health of the corporation, the amount of the reserve fund, is it adequate, are there any Special assessments existing, pending or proposed. Any outstanding law suits against the corporation? Any on-going disagreements between the board and an owner. Understand the standard unit by-law and be sure you have adequate insurance.