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Eight Things to Check Before Buying a Condo


Eight things to check before buying a condo:

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Review of prospectus and disclosure statement

If the condominium is new, the developer is required by law, to provide you with a copy of the prospectus or disclosure statement.  These documents will "officially" describe what you are buying, whereas the sales brochures are mere advertisements.

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Review by-laws and regulations

Reading the by-laws and regulations will help you decide if this particular building is right for you. For example, you may want to rent out the strata unit someday; are there restrictions on the number of units that can be rented out?

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Review minutes of strata council meetings

Contact the strata council and ask for a copy of the minutes of their meetings held in the last 24 months. These will give you an inside look into the running of the building and any problems which the strata council has had to deal with. There might be problems with car break-ins in the parking lot; false fire alarms by pranksters; or problems with leaking and water damage in the building.

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Find out how the parking is allocated among the strata unit owners; is it limited common property? How are you assured you will have use of it?

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Some buildings have their own recreation centre, pool or gym. Amenities like pools need to be upkept, which results in higher maintenance fees. Consider whether you will use them?

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Maintenance fees

Are there expected increases or special levies being considered? Review the financial statements for the past 2 years, and see if the strata corporation has been meeting their expenses.

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Contingency fund

The strata corporation is required to keep a contingency fund, for larger expenditures like repairs to the roof. Is the amount in this fund reasonable? If not, and there are significant expenditures coming up, you may get a shock from additional charges levied later.

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Leaky condos

One problem which has generated a lot of publicity recently is the issue of leaky and water damaged condos. This problem might be revealed in the minutes of the strata council meetings. You might also want to hire someone to do a detailed inspection of the building.

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This page last updated: November 25, 1999
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