Q: How much of a deposit is required for a pre-construction condo?


With a condo, it depends on the builder but you are often required to have at least a 20% down payment. That amount may seem high but the full payment is broken up into smaller installments spread over time. This is typically referred to as the deposit structure. Freehold low-rise homes are often a fixed amount which can also be scheduled over a few months.

Q: Do I need a lawyer to review my agreement of purchase and sales within the 10-day cooling off period?


Typically, a contract will contain information that’s specific to you, the purchaser, and the home you are buying, as well as general information outlining the builder’s practices, limitations, disclaimers and warranty. Contracts can range from a few pages to sizeable documents with many schedules or attachments. Having a lawyer explain the benefits and risks specifically to you allows you to enter the binding contract with eyes wide open. A lawyer may also make requests for changes to the Builder for consideration. A good real estate lawyer knows exactly what to look for and what not to get hung up on.

Q: What is included in condo fees?


Your monthly condo fees pay your portion of the cost to maintain and repair the common property. These costs may cover:

  • Removal of snow, garbage and recyclables;
  • Landscaping;
  • Cleaning (carpets in common areas and outside windows, for example);
  • Heating and cooling systems maintenance;
  • Amenities (such as a swimming pool or party room);
  • Insurance policies for the condominium’s common areas;
  • Security systems maintenance and monitoring;
  • Salaries of employees (if there is a superintendent or security guards, for instance); and
  • Property management fees.

A portion of your condo fees will also likely go toward the building’s reserve fund.

Q: Why should I use a Realtor?


When using a Realtor to lease, buy or sell a home, you can trust that the transaction will be completely in a knowledgeable and professional manner. Get the best advice from a skilled and competent professional who knows the real estate market and who can ensure that you make sound and informed decisions.

Q: Should I get a Home Inspection?


It’s a good idea to make the purchase of a home conditional upon an inspection by a licensed professional. It usually costs a few hundred dollars but it is money well spent. The inspection can reveal problems that you might not notice when viewing the home. Before deciding to proceed with the transaction you may request that the current owners fix some items before you move in, which could save you time and money. Alternatively, if the inspection reveals a number of deficiencies that the seller is unable or unwilling to remedy, you may request that the purchase price is reduced to cover some of these expenses that you as the Buyer may be required to fix yourself after closing.

Q: What’s in a Condominium Status Certificate?


The status certificate is a document that is prepared and issued by the condominium corporation.  The condominium corporation charges a fee of $100 to issue the status certificate and it normally takes up to 10 days for it to be issued.  Almost every condominium resale agreement contains a clause which makes it conditional on the buyer reviewing the status certificate with a lawyer and being satisfied with its contents. The importance of this document cannot be overlooked.

The status certificate and related condominium documents answer many hidden questions about the unit and the condominium building.

A properly drafted Agreement with the usual “conditional on status approval” clause will allow the buyer’s lawyer to review the status certificate and related condominium documents while the offer is conditional.  The lawyer can then discuss its findings with the buyer so that the buyer can make an informed decision to go ahead with the purchase or not.  In most cases, the status certificate, while not always perfect in every aspect, will be acceptable to the buyer who will then decide to waive the condition, thus making the offer to purchase firm.  In some cases, however, the status certificate may disclose an issue which the buyer may not be willing to accept and the buyer may cancel the Agreement.

The importance of the review of a status certificate cannot be overstated and should never be overlooked even in the situation of a hot real estate market.

Q: Will I have to pay utilities on top of a monthly rental payment?


In condominiums, the Tenant is typically responsible for paying any utilities that are not included in the monthly maintenance fee that is paid by the Landlord. In most cases, a tenant can expect to pay their own hydro utility costs, cable television, internet and phone costs. When renting a freehold home, the tenant is usually responsible for paying all water, gas and hydro costs, and is usually also responsible for their own lawn maintenance and snow removal.

Q: What information do I need to provide when signing a lease?


In order to lease a condo, you will need the following:

  1. A bank draft or certified cheque for the deposit within 24hrs of acceptance of the agreement.
  2. You may need to provide a current credit history report including the FICO score.
  3. An employment letter stating your job title and salary which can be obtained from the Human Resources department at your workplace.
  4. A completed rental application form which can be provided to you by your Realtor. This form will need to be printed and signed at the bottom.

Sometimes it is nice to have this information ready at hand in the event that you look at a condo that you really like and want to put in an offer right away. If you’ve finally found the property you love, you wouldn’t want to waste a day or two preparing these documents.

Q: What happens at the end of the 1-year lease I signed?


The tenancy will continue on a month-to-month basis unless both the Tenant and Landlord mutually agreed to sign a new lease with new terms. Typically, the Tenant will provide an additional 12 post-dated cheques to cover the monthly rent. If at any point the Tenant decides to vacate the premises they must provide the Landlord with a minimum of 60-days notice from the date of their next rent payment. If the Landlord decides to sell the property during this month-to-month tenancy period they must also provide this same notice to the Tenant to vacate, in the event that the new Buyer needs to move into the property.