by Denis Doucet
What you’ll learn
Before rushing to buy the condo of your dreams, asking the right questions to get the information you’ll need to make a well informed decision is key. Unlike a house, when you buy a condo you also acquire equal ownership of the common areas in the building, like the roof, windows, hallways, elevators and balconies. Like it or not, you are legally bound to abide to the “condo declaration” enforced under the umbrella of a condo association.
Though condominiums don’t always look like high rise multi-unit skyscrapers, they come in a wide range of styles (duplex, triplex or townhouse), sizes and configurations; the commonality is that specific units are all owned individually, and the reminder of the property is owned collectively.
When purchasing a condo, you will have to pay a mandatory non-negotiable monthly fee that covers a wide range of expenses which can be quite substantial. Generally, these fees partially cover utilities, pay for maintenance of common areas in the building, and contribute to a reserve fund set up to cover future costs of upkeep and any unexpected costs that may arise. To avoid financial surprises, an adequate reserve fund is one of the most important things to enquire about when purchasing a condo.
Most condominiums have strict rules and regulations particularly when it comes to peace and quiet. Noise limits must be respected according to your condo declarations, and are usually enforced by the condo association. In other words, if you’re looking to party every night, condo life may not be your best option.
Given the abundance of condo supply on the market, it’s impossible to be aware of every unit out there. Hiring a real estate broker who specializes in this niche sector will save you time, money and the headache of missing out on your dream condo.