Condo Purchase Checklist
What You Need to Know When Purchasing a Resale or Presale Condo
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
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Purchasing a condo has its pros and cons, and with that being said, it is a completely different homeownership experience than a detached single-family home. When you buy a condo, you own your unit within the boundary of your walls. However, outside of those walls is considered common property, and is something that the residents of the building share ownership of in a cooperative. Therefore, the condo experience is one that can be seen as a team effort and when you are purchasing a condo it’s important that you follow our condo purchase checklist to ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting in to.
Read below for our condo purchase checklist and what you need to know:
Checklist for Buying a Resale Condo
When you are buying a resale condo you are purchasing a unit that has already been built and likely already has a strata formed. Therefore, you’ll be able to view the unit, do more in-person digging via a home inspection, and also read through the strata documents. It is very important that when buying a resale condo that you follow our condo purchase checklist for resale homes:
- Check the fees and specifically find out what your monthly condo fees are based on the Form B document. This is the one that comes directly from strata, so it is the most accurate source for this information. Try to find out if there have been any fee increases in the past, and if there are any expected in the future. Also make sure that you know what is included in the maintenance fee. On top of the monthly fee, check to see if there is a one-time move in fee. [usually $50-200]
- Check the rules & restrictions by obtaining the bylaws. This document will contain important information on use of property, pet/rental/age restrictions, and other important rules imposed by the strata. You’ll want to know what you can and cannot do, based on the rules and bylaws, prior to moving in.
- Check the finances & contingency by reviewing the depreciation report for a reserve fund study to see if the current reserve fund [amount can be found on the Form B] is up to par. Review the corporation’s annual operating budget and end of year financial statements.
- Check the insurance covered by strata as you’ll need to make sure that your insurance coverage is enough to satisfy the lender.
- Check to see if there’s remaining warranty coverage on the unit. If it’s built within the last 10 years then you may still have the remaining portion of the 2-5-10 warranty for properties in British Columbia.
- Check the anticipated depreciation and find out whether any special assessments are anticipated, what they are for, how much they might cost and when they will need to be paid. Ask your experts to verify that there’s enough money in the reserve fund to cover the cost of major repairs and renewal projects.
- Check to see what is included in the purchase price. Be very clear about what is included and what is not included in the purchase price. Is the seller leaving furniture behind? Are all the light fixtures included? Are all the appliances including the microwave included?
- Check to see if updates can be made by reviewing the bylaws to see what the restrictions on upgrades and alterations are. Also make sure to review the minutes to see how requests for upgrades were dealt with in the past, and how long it took. Consider calling the property management company directly to discuss your anticipated renovations as well as a likelihood of approval.
- Check the property disclosure statement which will have been filled out by the seller, and will answer questions about the history of the unit. Make sure you check this document to see if you need any further elaboration on their answers prior to committing to the property.
- Check the title search to verify that the owners are the registered land title owners, and that everyone on title is involved in the selling process. Also check to see what charges are listed on the title search, and ensure that you know the details of each charge and what the restrictions are, if any.
- Check the unit and get an inspection to evaluate the condition of the unit you are thinking of buying, as well as the building as a whole. The inspector will prepare an inspection report for you to review in order to determine immediate repairs, upcoming repairs, and what you need to maintain overtime.
- Check out what the neighbours are like! Do they have loud pets? Do they have loud children? Is the unit above you constantly stomping around and making noise? Try to get a feel for who you’ll be living with, and what noise reduction measures and solutions have been used in the past.
- Check to see if there are outstanding amounts owing by reviewing the Form B document to see if the current owner has any outstanding amounts owing to the strata corporation. Make sure that it is very clear in the contract that if the deal goes firm that it will be the seller’s responsibility to pay it off upon completion.
Checklist for Buying a Presale New Build Condo
The presale process is different than the resale process in the sense that when you are buying a new build presale the condo is not built yet. The strata documents will not be present as the strata has not been formed! However, it is still important to use the below condo purchase checklist for presale homes:
- Triple check your contract and make sure you are aware of any hidden fees, what’s included in the contract, the anticipated completion date, end date, and details of your contract.
- Make sure you receive a disclosure statement from the developer if you’re in a jurisdiction that requires one (BC does) and read through it carefully with your realtor.
- Find out if the developer is entitled to extend the occupancy date to a later time and educate yourself on what you and the developer are entitled to do if your occupancy date is missed.
- Inform your mortgage broker that you are purchasing a presale and assess your future financial plans and affordability before moving forward.
- Find out your colour scheme options and determine what customizable options you have for your presale condo.
- Ask the developer and municipality about future construction and zoning in the area in case the surroundings will affect the value of your property.
- Ask the developer about noise & odour reduction measures as well as environmentally friendly features that might set the building apart from others.
- Check the new home warranty and the extent of that warranty. If this is a new build then you can also utilize the BC Housing New Homes Registry by searching the address to review the builder and the warranty.
- Research the developer or builder on the Public Registry of Residential Builders to review their history.
- Find out what your monthly condo fees are anticipated to be along with what they include.
- Be aware of your assignment options and the assignment fees, MLS restrictions, and developer consent required if you plan to assign.
- Have a home inspector help you conduct your pre-occupancy walk through. You only have one chance to do your pre-occupancy walk through and have the developer fix up all the cosmetic defects not covered by the 2-5-10 warranty. To ensure that nothing is missed, it’s important that you hire a home inspector to write a report for the developer on what needs to be done prior to or upon occupancy of your unit.
Thinking of purchasing a condo in the near future? Whether it’s a resale or presale condo, if you’re looking for a realtor that will protect you throughout the process, then give us a call at 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200 or email [email protected] to start a conversation. We’re here to help, and we can provide you with a list of everything you need to know when purchasing a condo.
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