Corporate (Condo) Living

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There will be a time when you consider buying a condo.  What should you keep in mind?

There are very good reasons to buy a condo:

  • location, location, location
  • price per square foot
  • home cost budgeting
  • amenties
  • social conscious- saving resources with tigher density
  • mitigating land use municipal by-laws

A condo is not just a home, but you are also buying into a corporation.  It has a regulations for living and spending called By-laws.  It has a Board of Directors to provide over-all guidance to the decision process of running corporate housing. It has management to advise the Board and provide day-to-day operations of the structure.  

Some documents about the corporation you should be familiar with before you buy are (and not just "what are the condo fees?"):

  • By-laws, which covers a host of activities within the corporation, including the appearance and restrictions to the use of common space and use of individual living units, but also the financial powers of the Board and Annual General Meeting
  • Financial Statements, including the Balance Sheet that shows assets and liabilities of the corporation; and, Income Statement that shows a period (usually a year) of income and expenses
  • Budget is the proposal for what is expected to be received as revenue and what are the anticipated expenses of the corporation
  • Reserve Study (a maybe) that shows how much money is needed to be set aside each year in order to replace those items in the corporation that will have to be replaced in time, such as roof, windows, siding, elevators, boiler, etc, etc, etc
  • Engineer reports- is there post-tension cabling reviews, roof reports, utilitiy, structural, and envelope reviews 
  • Insurance for replacement and liability 
  • What is the ratio of renters to owner-occupied units
  • parking and storage rights- under separate title, assigned, unknown, or unavailable 
  • if rural condo- water, sewage and road reports 
  • estoppal certificate to ensure the past owner has satisfied all obligations to the condo so you do not "inherit" them

Careful- what you see today is not necessarily what you will have in the future.  Condo Boards and condo Management may change.  That could be good or that could be bad.  In corporate living you have a vote, but you abide by the democratic principles within the corporate bylaws.

The moral of the story?  Seek the counsel of  professionals before buying: ones versed in local real estate, in condo management and structural engineering.

For more information, ask Phil at 403-630-7952