Things to consider when buy­ing a condo

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

Buy­ing a con­do­minium com­bines the best of ur­ban liv­ing with all the ameni­ties of city liv­ing. If you’re in the mar­ket for a condo, here are some tips be­fore you buy as there are some dif­fer­ences be­tween buy­ing a condo and a tra­di­tional home pur­chase:

The 10-day rule: Ac­cord­ing to the Con­do­minium Act 1998 when you buy a condo from a builder, you can can­cel the pur­chase within 10 days should you change your mind. How­ever, if you're buy­ing a re­sale unit, there is no such 10day re­course.

The 10-day cool­ing off pe­riod for new condo buy­ers be­gins just as soon as you re­ceive the copy of what's called the signed pur­chase and sale agree­ment, or the dis­clo­sure state­ment (which­ever comes later). If there’s any change to the dis­clo­sure state­ment, you can can­cel the sales agree­ment within 10 days too. If you do can­cel, the builder must promptly re­turn any de­posit plus in­ter­est.

Rules and by­laws: Un­like home own­er­ship, condos are self-gov­ern­ing com­mu­ni­ties with rules and by­laws. Not only do you own your own unit, you share in the main­te­nance of the com­mon el­e­ments such as hall­ways, el­e­va­tors, fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties and grounds.

The dis­clo­sure state­ment is a reg­is­tered de­scrip­tion all of the de­tails of the own­er­ship, whether the condo is free­hold or lease­hold, its ameni­ties, by­laws and bud­get. You should review these dis­clo­sure doc­u­ments with your lawyer.

With a re­sale condo comes a sta­tus cer­tifi­cate, which shows whether the cur­rent owner is up-to-date in pay­ing his or her monthly fees and de­tails of the fi­nan­cial sta­tus of the condo cor­po­ra­tion, in­clud­ing its cur­rent bud­get, most re­cent au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ment, re­serve fund bal­ance and any spe­cial assess­ments in place or planned. Con­sult with a lawyer when re­view­ing this in­for­ma­tion.

In an es­tab­lished condo, ask the ex­ist­ing ten­ants about the board of di­rec­tors and its man­age­ment. Are they re­spon­sive to is­sues and re­spon­si­ble with money?

In re­sale condos, it's also worth ask­ing what per­cent­ages of the units have non­res­i­dent own­ers. In Toronto, for ex­am­ple, any­where from 45 to 70 per cent of res­i­dents are ten­ants. And condos with high levels of ten­ancy gen­er­ally ex­pe­ri­ence many more prob­lems re­lated to noise, pets, cleanliness and park­ing. It may be harder to sell your own unit down the road if at­ten­tive­ness isn’t given to these is­sues.

For more valu­able in­for­ma­tion about buy­ing a condo, log on to the ded­i­cated Min­istry of Con­sumer Af­fairs web­site: www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Condos.

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