Buying a Condominium

With real estate prices getting higher and higher in Toronto, living in a condo becomes a more popular choice for a lot of people. 

Personally, I love living in a condo. Worry no more about shoveling snow in the winter, cutting grass in the summer, easier access to a swimming pool and gym which is in the building, greater security with 24 hours concierge, and better location for public transit.

Condominiums can be:

♦ High-rise buildings

♦ Low-rise buildings (less than 4 storeys)

♦ Townhouses or rowhouse complexes

♦ Stacked townhouses

♦ Duplexes (one unit over another) or a side-by-side; triplexes (stacked of three units)

Condominium Ownership:

♦ When you purchase a condominium, you are buying a private dwelling unit that is registered under your name

♦ You become a member of a condominium corporation: Unlike buying a house where you own everything on that piece of land, buying a condominium unit is more like you own shares in a corporation

♦ You have certain rights and responsibilities

     ▸ You have the right to vote at general meetings on matters that affect the condominium. For example, is short-term rental allowed in the building? are pets allowed?

     ▸ You are eligible to help elect the board of directors who take responsibility for the management of the corporation's business affairs.

     ▸ It will be your responsibility to participate in governing of the condominium. Make sure you read all the condo newsletter, condo corporation's budget and financial statements, attending general meetings and information sessions, and even serving on the board of directors (the board is generally made up of individual owners).

 ♦ You also share ownership of the common elements and assets of the building: lobbies, hallways, recreational facilities, walkways, gardens and other amenities.

     ▸ Other common elements may be outside the unit you have but are for the sole use of the owner of a particular unit: balcony, parking spaces, storage room/lockers, driveways, lawns, etc.

Monthly Maintenace/Condo Fees:

 ♦ It covers the maintaining and replacement of common elements; it may also cover the corporation's insurance policies, utilities and services such as snow removal.

 ♦ Part of those monthly fees may be put into a reserve fund to cover the estimated cost of future maintenance and repairs.

 ♦ In fact, there is something called a reserve fund study, conducted by a professional. It is used to tell owners how much should be paid into the reserve fund.

Buying a Resale condominium

 ♦ Status Certificate is a very important document when buying a resale condo unit, and it is provided by the condominium corporation to buyers of resale condos.

 ♦ It contains related information about the individual condominium unit: if the current unit owner is in default of paying the monthly common expenses, if an increase in the common expenses has been declared by the condominium board, the amount in the reserve fund, a current budget for the condominium corporation, a copy of the most recent reserve fund study, additional legal issues that may affect the condominium...

 ♦ This document should be reviewed by the lawyer and explained to the buyer. 

 ♦ Buying a new condominium from a builder is different

Click here to know more about closing costs calculation and down payment

Click here to know more about buying a new condominium: Pre-Construction or Assignment