So you have decided to purchase a condo. Whether you are upgrading from a rented apartment or downsizing from a house there are w few things to consider before you sign the papers.
1) Do your research
Find out if there have been any special assesments in the last few years. If there is something that needs to be fixed or upgraded in the building that affects all the residents then the Condo board will issue a special assessment. This means the cost of repairs will be split between all the residents, and can be very costly. To find out if there have been any recent cash calls review the minutes from the meetings. You’re real estate professional should be offering you guidance and recommending having a professional document review service going over your documents with you.
2) Inspect the entire facility
Don’t just look at the unit you are interested in. Check out the outside of the building and the common areas. Check for any damage (cracks, water damage, rust, mold etc) that could be indicators of larger problems. If these areas are neglected either the board doesn’t have the funds to fix them or they don’t care to. Either way, be wary. Some home inspectors will now only inspect the physical unit and not the common areas. Your real estate professional should be providing you contact information for inspectors that will inspect all of the areas. Many of the common area infrastructure expenses can be estimated from reading the reserve fund study of the condominium corporation.
3) Be clear on all policies
Do you have pets? Or children? You want to make sure they are welcome in the building. Many condos have restrictions. Some only allow residents who are over 18, and sometimes pets are banned or there is a maximum weight for your pet or a maximum number of pets you can have. You should also be clear about any other restrictions. You can review the rules in the condominium corporation bylaws.
4) Talk to your real estate professional.
Your real estate agent will be able to help you with any general condo questions, and will likely be able to answer questions specific to the building.