Tips for Buying a Resale Condominium

Find out exactly where your unit’s boundaries lie and if your unit factor is reasonable.

Hire a home inspector to evaluate the condition of the individual unit you are thinking of buying, as well as the building as a whole.

Consult the condominium’s technical audit (a building-wide inspection) and/or reserve fund study, if possible, to determine the condition of the building and common property. (Also complete the Physical evaluation checklist.)

Review the financial documents the corporation is obliged to keep. These include:

  • the annual operating budget;
  • end-of-year financial statements; and
  • the estoppel or status certificate.

Be clear about what is and isn’t included in the purchase price so you can compare overall costs with other condominiums. For example:

  • Are there amenities, such as pools and parking, and how are they paid for?
  • Are there other charges over and above the purchase price you should be aware of?
  • Are utilities (gas, electricity and water charges) covered in the monthly condominium fees?

Ask your experts to verify that there’s enough money in the reserve fund to cover the cost of major repairs and renewal projects.

Find out whether any special assessments are anticipated. For instance, an underground parking garage may need renovation or your building may be retrofitted for wheelchair access.

Investigate whether there are any “hidden” costs. For example, some developers take out long-term leases on building fixtures, such as furnaces, to save on capital costs. These costs are inevitably passed along to owners.

Ask what municipal services, such as garbage pickup and snow removal, the condominium receives. Even though you pay for these services through your property taxes, condominiums sometimes have to assign this work to contractors and you may pay for them twice. 

Check what, if any, new home warranty coverage remains on the unit.

Confirm that there are no legal actions against the condominium corporation.

Consult with your lawyer before signing any documents.

 

Canada

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