To make sure you’re making a smart, conscious decision, here are a few things to consider.
Examine the reserve fund
A healthy reserve fund is an essential element to look into. What if the building’s roof needs to be replaced shortly after you move in? Can the condo fund pay for the repairs or will you have to pay several thousands of dollars? Determining the health of the reserve fund can help you avoid nasty surprises.
Look at the various fees
Various mandatory fees are added to the purchase price of your condo and the cost of potential repairs. Municipal taxes, “welcome tax”, inspection costs, notary fees will catch up to you, so you should budget for them.
Using our loan capacity calculator helps you validate the maximum value of the property that you can purchase based on your income and expenses.
Calculate the cost of renovations
Have you found the perfect condo where you can just move in? Congratulations. Or have you found a diamond in the rough that needs a little love and a lot of demolition before you can move in? Calculate how much it could cost before putting in an offer. If major renovations are necessary, you may have to spend a lot of money. You may have to spread the work out over a few months to get there. Do you have the money for renovations? Do you have to hire professionals or can you do the work yourself? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine whether you’re looking at a realistic project or if you should look for a home that more closely matches your tastes and your needs.
Read the condo rules
The right to have a pet, do short-term rentals à-la Airbnb, invite friends and family to the communal pool are but a few examples of rules that may have a direct impact on your daily life and your lifestyle. Read the rules before you envision inviting your friends to the sunny terrace. Are you comfortable and do you agree with most of the rules?
Check out the neighbourhood
Choosing a neighbourhood and neighbours. If you don’t already live in the neighbourhood, take the time to get the lay of the land. Check out business that are close by, identify points of service and parks. Take a walk around during the day and the evening so you can get a good idea of what’s happening at different times of day.
Meet the neighbours
If you see a neighbour when visiting the condo, go over and say hi. Interacting with people in the building or who live close by will give you a good idea of what living in the neighbourhood is really like, especially if social interaction is important to you. Are they friendly or stand-offish? By talking to them, you can learn the pros (or cons) of the neighbourhood. You can’t pick your neighbours, but it may be a good idea to test the waters and get a feel for the neighbourhood’s vibe before you buy.
Find out how the condo is managed
Reading the minutes of the last few condo board meetings will tell you a lot about how the building has been managed over the last few years and the agreement among the various condo owners.