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Top 4 Tips for Buying a Condo

Published on September 17, 2019

Without a doubt, condos have taken on a new popularity in Quebec. Condominiums are quickly surpassing the traditional family home for first-time buyers.

While a condo might seem like an easier purchase than a house, there are a few things buyers need to consider before signing any papers. These top four tips for buying a condo will ensure you enter a condo buy in the know, instead of entering the unknown.

1. Make sure you revise the condo regulations

One of the top tips for buying a condo has to be that you read and understand the condo regulations. Living in a shared building with a number of strangers means it’s going to be hard to please everyone. Condo regulations are put in place for the well-being of the occupants and the building. Ask for a copy of the condo regulations and make sure you read them well and understand them. Some buildings have strict policies regarding outdoor barbecues and pets; these are all things you need to consider when buying a condo.

2. Revise the verbal homeowners’ association (HOA) board meeting regulations

Condo occupants (who make up the HOA) meet on a regular basis to ensure their shared living space is being cared for properly, and that everyone is satisfied with the living conditions. Another great tip for buying a condo is making sure you understand the verbal meeting regulations so you can properly participate in any and all HOA board meetings as soon as you move in. No sense in being a wallflower; make yourself heard. This is your home, too.

3. Make sure you know the monthly condo fees

Condo owners need to inform themselves about the monthly fees associated with living in a shared space, put in place for building upkeep and establishment extras. A tip for buying a condo that’s a must is knowing the condo fees before you purchase your unit. Knowing the condo fees before you sign ensures you budget accordingly. Watch out for fluctuating fees or hidden costs. Make sure you ask for all the paperwork.

4. Inquire about emergency condominium funds

Just as you may have an emergency fund set aside for car repairs, medical bills or maybe a much-needed emergency vacation, sometimes condo owners are requested to contribute to an emergency fund. This money is used towards building maintenance and upkeep. There’s less of a chance of an emergency fund emerging in newer buildings. So, ensure you ask about any extra fees, such as an emergency fund, before buying a condo so you can budget accordingly.

Finally, just as you would when buying a house, you’ll want to get a professional inspection done before you sign on the dotted line. An inspection ensures the structure is sound, inside and out (building materials, piping, electrics, foundation, etc.). However, unlike a home inspection, a condo inspector won’t only be looking at your unit; they’ll also be inspecting the shared living space (lobby, hallways, elevator, stairs). And if they don’t do the communal space inspection, then it’s time to hire someone else. You are, after all, going to be living in the entire building and this is a must-do tip for buying a condo.