RULES: Close look

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Con­dos -

Other rules and re­stric­tions of­ten in­clude strict guide­lines re­gard­ing the al­ter­ing of ap­pear­ances.

You will also want to check into the park­ing rules. Know if your unit in­cludes a stall, or if you have to pay ad­di­tional fees for park­ing.

If these re­stric­tions are doc­u­mented reg­u­la­tions, each unit owner must fol­low them.

Do you un­der­stand your monthly condo fees?

Monthly condo fees, to be paid by each unit, are also set by the cor­po­ra­tion to pay for the up­keep of the build­ings and grounds.

Condo fees are de­ter­mined by the cor­po­ra­tion based upon their needs and are usu­ally cal­cu­lated from the an­nual op­er­at­ing cost of the en­tire condo build­ing and di­vided by the per­cent­age of your con­tri­bu­tion.

They typ­i­cally in­clude dayto-day care and up­keep of the grounds, ex­te­rior build­ing, prop­erty man­age­ment, ameni­ties, util­i­ties, in­sur­ance and re­serve fund con­tri­bu­tion.

These rules, reg­u­la­tions and condo fees have to be pro­vided to each buyer in a doc­u­ment upon sale of a unit.

What is the fi­nan­cial health of the condo cor­po­ra­tion? Is all doc­u­men­ta­tion for the condo ac­ces­si­ble and in good or­der?

“It’s im­por­tant to have a doc­u­ment re­view ser­vice take a close look at the condo doc­u­ments,” says Wegerich. “One good rea­son to take a closer look is to find out what the condo cor­po­ra­tion’s fi­nan­cial pic­ture looks like and whether it is in­volved in any law­suits.”

There a num­ber of con­do­minium doc­u­ment re­view ser­vices out there that your real­tor can put you in touch with.

A seller and the condo cor­po­ra­tion should pro­vide you with gov­ern­ing doc­u­ments (con­stitu- tion, dec­la­ra­tion, con­do­minium plan, and by­laws), re­serve fund doc­u­men­ta­tion, op­er­at­ing bud­get, fi­nan­cial state­ments, an­nual gen­eral meet­ing min­utes and at least 12 months of board of di­rec­tor meet­ing min­utes. What is a re­serve fund? A re­serve fund is set up by the condo cor­po­ra­tion to pro­vide fi­nanc­ing for ma­jor re­pairs and projects over the life of the condo com­plex.

It en­sures that all com­mon el­e­ments are main­tained and up­dated.

The re­serve fund is funded and main­tained by the condo own­ers. If there is not enough money in the fund, the cor­po­ra­tion will ex­pect the own­ers to pro­vide more fund­ing by means of a spe­cial as­sess­ment.

An estop­pel cer­tifi­cate is a signed state­ment from the con­do­minium cor­po­ra­tion that cer­ti­fies the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided is cor­rect, and out­lines condo fees and any out­stand­ing fees that re­mained un­paid

In most cases, the pur­chase of a con­do­minium should be con­di­tional to the buyer be­ing sat­is­fied with the con­do­minium doc­u­ments.

What is the com­pa­ra­ble size of the unit?

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the size of a condo unit when com­par­ing it to oth­ers. There is cur­rently no provin­cial-wide stan­dard for con­do­minium sizes and this can cause con­fu­sion for home buy­ers and sell­ers.

“To help ad­dress this con­cern, CREB re­quires all real­tors who are list­ing a condo on the MLS sys­tem to in­clude the reg­is­tered size as reg­is­tered through Al­berta Land Ti­tles,” says Wegerich. “The reg­is­tered size has to be ver­i­fied on the reg­is­tered con­do­minium plan and might in­clude park­ing stalls, garages, be­low-grade ar­eas, balconies and stor­age ar­eas.”

Buy­ers should also ask their real­tor to con­firm the liv­ing area of the unit.

The liv­ing area typ­i­cally in­cludes only the above-grade, de­vel­oped heated liv­ing area and ex­cludes ar­eas such as balconies, park­ing or stor­age lock­ers.

“We have made the reg­is­tered size manda­tory for every condo list­ing,” says Wegerich.

“To en­sure the ac­cu­racy of con­do­minium size in­for­ma­tion in the MLS sys­tem, CREB’s au­dit ad­min­is­tra­tor checks the ac­cu­racy of reg­is­tered size and reg­is­tered size in­cludes fields for every new con­do­minium list­ing. “If the in­for­ma­tion is wrong, CREB im­me­di­ately cor­rects the data and in­forms the real­tor of this cor­rec­tion.”

The fol­low­ing is a quick check­list of things a condo buyer should con­sider:

Ask your real­tor what their ex­pe­ri­ence is buy­ing and sell­ing con­dos — and choose one you feel has the condo ex­per­tise you need.

Go over the con­do­minium prop­erty sched­ule with your real­tor. This form will be at­tached to the of­fer and will be a part of the con­tract.

Have a con­do­minium doc­u­ment re­view spe­cial­ist go over all of the condo doc­u­ments and have them clearly ex­plain to you any is­sues you should know about.

Make sure there is a cer­tifi­cate of in­sur­ance for the condo cor­po­ra­tion.

Un­der­stand the condo fee break­down and make sure you are sat­is­fied with it.

Check the cor­po­ra­tion’s by­laws to see how their rules and reg­u­la­tions fit with your lifestyle.

Make sure you un­der­stand what was in­cluded in de­ter­min­ing the size of your unit.

Find out if the prop­erty man­ager is per­form­ing at a high level of ser­vice and to the sat­is­fac­tion of the own­ers.

Ask ques­tions of your real­tor through­out the process.

“De­spite all the ques­tions that you need to ask, condo liv­ing can be a great fit for many buy­ers,” says Wegerich. “An ex­pe­ri­enced real­tor can go a long way to help­ing you do the home­work be­fore you buy.”

Cal­gary Her­ald Archive

A con­do­minium de­vel­op­ment un­der constructi­on. It’s im­por­tant to do your re­search be­fore buy­ing a unit.

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