Buying a Condo
Ontario's hot condo market can be a great investment. First-time buyer or experienced condo owner, it's never too early to get in on the ground floor. Axess Law's licensed real estate attorneys can look over your agreement of purchase and sale or close a condo sale for far less than you would pay for conventional legal services.
Is Condo Living for You?
Condo living is a different lifestyle. If you're used to living in a single family home or renting, be prepared to pay your fair share of common expenses like maintenance and landscaping and be responsible for the whole building, not just your unit.
Factors to consider when buying a condo:
- Does living "small" suit your lifestyle?
- Do you want a yard or freedom to change your unit without strata council permission?
- Is the condo reserve fund adequate to fix problems like wear and tear?
- Do owners have major, outstanding strata assessments -- special charges for repairs or purchases like the lobby carpet?
- Is it in a desirable neighbourhood? What are crime rates like? Is the area established or upwardly mobile?
- Is the strata council well run? Check the operating budget, end-of-year financial statements and two years of council minutes for clues.
- What is included --blinds, appliances, parking, a storage locker?
- Can you afford monthly strata fees and what do they include (gas, power, hot water or recycling)?
- Do you get pool or gym access that would otherwise cost you extra?
- Is the new home warranty still in effect?
- Is the condominium corporation in court over owner or building disputes?
- Are you protected by the wording of your home inspection clause?
How you answer can decide if condo life is for you.
Condos to Buy
You can get a great deal on a new condo by buying a condo unit before construction begins. Pre-construction purchase contracts let you pick the finishes, layout or unit you want. And you can be the first and original owner.
You may wait a long time to move in though -- or even lose some of your deposit altogether (possibly any part over $20,000) -- if the project falls through. It can be years before your pre-construction condo is ready (see Condo Assignments for Sale). Once construction is complete, you must wait for the condo project to be registered with the Ontario land registry, which can take a month or even a year or more. You only get legal ownership of your unit after registration.
While you can move in without having title to a condo property, mortgage lenders won't advance loans until registration is complete. Rent-like interim occupancy fees paid monthly to the developer cover your property taxes, maintenance and interest on the unpaid balance of your condo purchase until you have legal title.
Condo Assignments for Sale
Being the first to buy a pre-construction condo unit is exciting. What happens if you change your mind? A new job in another city, getting married or having children can all affect your pre-construction condo purchase.
If you have a change of heart, talk to the developer or an Ontario realtor about assigning your unit for sale. Selling the purchase contract before your unit is legally registered transfers all your liabilities to the new buyer. The purchaser assumes your interest in the unregistered or yet-to-be-built condo, along with dealing with construction deals, paying HST on closing and hassling over new home warranty issues.
New Build or Converted Condos
Buying a new build or rental converted to a condo has some advantages. Besides the "new car" feel, most new condos come with a 10-day buyer's remorse clause. You can cancel your purchase if you want, based on your review of condo documents, legal advice or because you find a home you like better.
Disclosure packages are free -- you pay when you buy a resale unit -- and major structural problems or faulty workmanship are covered by the Ontario 1-2-7 year Tarion new home warranties plan. And it covers new elements of buildings converted from rentals to condo units (but not the original construction). No more worries about leaky condos or building code violations.
Resale Condo Homes
Resale condo buyers get a gently (or not) used home with a condominium corporation that knows the ins and outs of your home's issues. You pay for a status certificate that includes information on your unit, the condo's common elements like the parkade or lobby and condo bylaws.
Since the building has been operating for some time, budgeting is easier for owners and issues like can you have pets or how many units are rentable have already been worked out. Ask for a copy of the condo guide if you are new to condo owning. It has useful information on how condos are governed and your roles and responsibilities.
Be aware that older condos can cost more to own and be less energy efficient. While your unit may be larger and deposits lower, condo fees go up over time as more frequent updates are needed to major systems like heating, A/C or the roof. And if the owner failed to pay "common elements" fees, you may wind up hassling over it in your offer to purchase.
Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer
Like buying any home, getting an experienced realtor and having a home inspection are well advised when you condo shop.
Axess Law's licensed Ontario lawyers can review your agreement of purchase and sale and point out changes you may want to make. We go over status certificates, the condo corporation's declaration of its audited financial statements and reserve funds for repairs, and check pre-construction purchase contracts or assignments for sale for legal issues.
Our legal professionals close condo real estate transactions so you meet all the mortgage discharge and financing, subject-to conditions and obligatory home buyer or seller clauses on time.
We have Greater Toronto Area real estate attorneys nearby who can receive legal documents from realtors and mortgage lenders and search titles to property for outstanding debts or liens that could delay your sale.
Our lawyer fee for buying a condo is all-inclusive -- no extra fees when you receive your statement of adjustment, just our regular, low flat fees for only those legal services you need or want.
Our Flat Fee Real Estate Lawyers
Short deadlines or complex mortgage arrangements are no problem when you hire Axess Law's flat fee real estate lawyers. Our qualified Ontario real estate lawyers charge $999.99 and up to buy a condo or $799.99 and up to sell your pre-construction or resale condo. We can remote in by video conference anywhere in Ontario, 7 days a week, with convenient day or evening appointments that suit your schedule.
Book an Appointment Online or By Phone Today
Dial 1-647-479-0118 for a free quote on buying or selling your next home or book appointments online. It just takes minutes of your time. In person meetings are available at any of our Greater Toronto Area law offices nearby you. Pop in any time to arrange an appointment or call toll-free to 1-877-402-4207.