When you make an offer on a condo, it should be conditional on a review of the status certificate. It’s a document that includes a lot of critical information about the condo corporation.
- By-laws and rules: make sure you can live with the condo’s rules. If pets aren’t allowed, don’t try to sneak in your puppy. Instead, find another property that is more suitable.
- Financial records for the condo corporation: the certificate will include the corporation’s most recent budget and the balance of the corporation’s reserve fund. If costly repairs are required in the future, insufficient cash in the reserve fund could require a steep increase in your condo fees or result in a special assessment.
- Utilities: utilities could be included with your condo fees or paid separately. Each unit could have its own hydro and water meters, or there could be one set of meters for the whole building, with everyone sharing the costs equally. You’ll want to know so you can budget accordingly.
- Rental status: when owners lease out their units, they are required to notify the condo corporation. The corporation keeps a tally and includes the figure as part of the status certificate. If you want to rent your unit, it may make sense to buy in a condo that contains many other tenants. On the other hand, if you plan to live in your unit, a place where most owners live in their condo may give you the kind of community you desire.
- Parking details: your unit may include a parking space, but it’s important to understand whether you will own the parking space yourself, or whether it’s a common element owned by the condo corporation that you are assigned, but that you don’t own.