Buying a Condominium In and Around Ottawa
Condominiums are a popular choice among homeowners in Ottawa, and with the many conveniences they offer it is easy to see what attracts buyers to this specific lifestyle. Buyers are often drawn to this option of home ownership because of the lifestyle it offers. Amenities range from swimming pools, party rooms, and theatres to a luxurious white glove service, and common grounds maintenance offers peace of mind that can’t be beat. Different condominiums can be found scattered throughout the city, as well as in the town and country locations. However, before making your purchase there are some considerations to make, including evaluating and choosing the right condominium for you. Here are some tips to guide you through buying a condo in Ottawa.
When buyers are looking to buy a condo, they need to be prepared to pay for a status certificate. This added expense is ordered by your lawyer, who will then discuss it with you. The status certificate discloses financial and physical information based on previous inspections, as well as any rules or other necessary information in regard to the condominium.
While the interior of your condominium unit belongs to you, there are common areas that you will have access to as well. Check if these areas are to your satisfaction, when they can be used, if they will accommodate you, and whether they require prior booking.
It is recommended by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) that a buyer has their inspector take a look at aspects of the building outside of the primary unit, as well as any other common areas. If the buyer is unsure about the physical condition or technical aspects of the building, hiring an inspector could put your mind at ease or flag any issues that you want to avoid as a condominium owner. Make sure to hire an inspector with condominium experience, and a provincial licence or credentials from the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors.
Condominiums come with a monthly condo fee that is typically paid monthly. This fee is used to cover specific costs such as building repairs, maintenance of common areas, amenities or services, and reserve fund contributions. While this is more money out of your pocket on top of your regular mortgage payment, it also means you won’t be hit with the bill that comes with big ticket items such as roof repair or window replacement.
On top of your monthly fee, you can also be charged for “Special Assessments”. Special Assessments can be done at the discretion of the board of directors, and is typically done to cover unforeseen expenses, or to make up the cost for under-budgeting. It is up to the condo owner to pay their portion of the special assessment when it arises, alongside their regular condo fees. It is important to be prepared for this as a condo owner.
Condominiums also have a set of rules for residents to abide by. We will discuss any rules and regulations you must consider before buying your condo, and request a copy to review on your own. There may be restrictions on owning pets, hosting parties, and renting out your unit. Ensure you know the rules, and are able to abide by them while living in your condo.
If the condominium you’re looking at is a new building, there are a few questions you will want to ask before making financing arrangements or planning your move. Especially if you are selling your current home to buy your condo, you will want to make sure the timeline given for the project’s completion seems reasonable. Look through the purchase agreement to find out if there are provisions in place that allow the developer to alter move-in dates.
You may also want to inquire about the new building’s home warranty, and be aware of what it covers and the timeframe set out so that you can report and repair any issues before they become bigger, more costly problems.
Condominiums have regular meetings with property managers, board members, and residents. You should know as much as you can about your investment at all times. It is recommended to be involved, attend the meetings, review your condominium corporation’s financial statements, and be aware and engaged in the financial and physical health of your condominium.
Buying a condo is an exciting time in someone’s life. I will ensure you are afforded the guidance needed to secure a condominium that meets your needs and falls within your budget. I have specialized knowledge on buying and selling condominiums, and may have additional information on projects and developments in your area, amenities, school zones, and transit systems.
Lisa Fitzpatrick ABR, SRS
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