Purchasing A Condominium
Purchasing a condominium comes with issues that don’t arise with other residential property. As buyer, you will be dealing with both the present owner of the home and the condo corporation. Your lawyer must be qualified to review all of the legal documents involved in a home purchase as well as those specialized documents that are only part of a condo purchase.
What I Do To Protect Your Interests
There are literally dozens of steps which I take to make sure that your condominium purchase is completed correctly and on time and that you are fully protected throughout. These steps include a careful review of the agreement of purchase and sale and of the condominium status certificate you should receive before the agreement of purchase and sale becomes firm and binding on you; completion of all required title searches; handling the mortgage loan you have arranged, while providing advice on mortgage-related issues; and doing everything to complete the purchase with your best interest always in mind.
Every resale condominium purchase agreement should state that before the contract you sign becomes legally binding on you, the seller will obtain for you a condominium Status Certificate, which your lawyer will carefully review to make sure that you do not face any financial surprises. Here are some real life examples of what a status certificate may disclose, that the seller didn’t tell you about:
- Pending lawsuits: Is the condominium corporation involved in a lawsuit? If so, is there a large amount of money at stake? Is the condominium corporation insured? What might happen if a judge decides that the condominium corporation must pay millions of dollars to someone seriously injured due to an accident or for one of many other reasons?
- Financial status: Does the condominium corporation intend to increase your common expenses in the future or to levy a lump sum of several thousand dollars as a “special assessment” against every unit owner in the building to pay for emergency repairs?
- Reserve fund study: Professional engineers must carry out an inspection of the condo buildings every three years. The engineers can predict which repairs will be needed over the next 10 or more years and what those repairs will cost. Will the condominium corporation have to raise your monthly fees excessively to pay for these future expenses?
I will explain to you where your repair and upkeep responsibilities end and the condominium’s responsibilities begin. I will confirm that the seller has paid all common expenses (condominium fees, also called maintenance fees) due up to the closing date and that the amount you will have to pay to the condominium corporation each month is the amount which the seller stated it to be.
If you are buying a new condominium from a builder, there are many more issues that I will explain to you. I will review and explain to you the contents of the builder’s form of agreement of purchase and sale (which is very different from the contract used to buy a resale condo) and the builder’s disclosure documents during the 10-day cooling off period to help you confirm that, having received full disclosure from the builder, you still want to proceed with the purchase.
A major problem with buying a new condominium property from a builder is the hidden costs that will be added to the price at the final closing. These are disclosed in the agreement of purchase and sale and can potentially add tens of thousands of dollars to what you thought you had to pay. I can identify these costs for you and help make sure that these costs are capped at a reasonable level, instead of being left open-ended for the builder to surprise you with.