First Time Condo Buyer

For many home hunters, condos are the most attractive option. Between their incredible investment potential and the convenient lifestyles they provide, these properties have a lot to offer. What many buyers don’t know is, purchasing one isn’t the same as buying a single-family home. Acquiring a unit is unique—and knowing the ins and outs of the process can help ensure that it goes smoothly.

If you’re planning to purchase a condo for the first time, here are five things you should know…

1) Ask about the particulars

Condo buyers should be aware of the details surrounding the low-maintenance lifestyle they’ll enjoy. As a unit owner, you’ll pay monthly fees that will help cover building repairs, the upkeep of amenities, landscaping work, and more. The amount you’re charged can vary depending on the building (and even the suite) you choose, so make sure you know what you’re paying for. It’s also critical that you understand your building rules and bylaws, which cover everything from pet ownership to guest usage of on-site amenities.

2) Know which space is yours

If you want to know which future repairs and maintenance costs you’ll be responsible for, you’ll need to understand the precise boundaries of your unit. Case in point, a condo buyer may or may not own their balcony (which means they could be asked to remove any upgrades they make to it, and foot the bill). To clarify where the unit you’re thinking of buying ends and common elements begin, refer to your status certificate.

3) Pay attention to your status certificate

A status certificate is a document that provides an up-to-date financial picture of a unit. It includes information on everything from a building’s reserve fund (money set aside to cover unexpected repairs and other issues) to potential special assessments (one-time payments levied at unit owners when the fund is insufficient). Here you’ll also find descriptions of the maintenance fees you’ll pay, the rules and bylaws you’ll follow, and more. Before purchasing a condo, have your lawyer review the associated status certificate.

4) Understand the inspection process

When you’re buying a condo, a comprehensive inspection may not be necessary. More often than not, purchasers rely on the information in their status certificates instead. If you do opt to have a resale unit inspected, be aware that the process won’t include an assessment of major building systems and common elements (since you aren’t responsible for these components). If you’re purchasing a brand new unit, you’ll automatically receive a pre-delivery inspection through Tarion.

5) Work with a condo expert

The process of purchasing a unit is unique. Fortunately, by working with a real estate agent who has condo expertise, you can ensure that all of your bases are covered. From the features and amenities that make for a good investment to the due diligence that goes into a smart purchase, having access to the right knowledge will allow you to move forward with confidence. During the interview process, look for someone who knows the local condo market—and has a track record of helping buyers find the ideal unit!

Preparing to buy a home? For over 35 years, our clients have trusted us to minimize risk, offer unbiased opinions, and ensure their best interests are served. Contact us today to talk about your needs, by emailing us at or calling us at 416-441-2888 ext. 772.


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