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Understanding a status certificate's role in a condo purchase

After looking at all home-buying options, you finally decide that a condo is the best fit for your current lifestyle. Condos have been rising in popularity for a number of reasons – many first-time home buyers can afford them, they often provide added amenities like a pool or gym, and outside upkeep and maintenance are typically handled for you.

However, with these pluses come some issues of which you should be aware. There is something that comes along with a condo known as a status certificate. This document, which should be as current as possible, will provide you with details not only about the condo corporation, but also about the fees you will likely be paying.

Answers to some important questions

A status certificate contains important information, and your condo corporation should provide you with the most up-to-date version. Once it has been provided to you, an experienced lawyer can help you review your certificate by carefully walking you through some of the details listed within it, including the following:

  • Whether the seller has been paying his or her condo fees regularly
  • What condo fees you will be responsible for paying and what these fees will be covering
  • The financial health of the condo corporation
  • Information on lockers and parking spots
  • A rundown of the corporation's rules, bylaws and declaration

In some ways, a status certificate is akin to an inspection on a single family home. It may either reinforce your decision to buy the condo or it may make you scratch your head and reassess your decision.

Rules and other points to ponder

When you buy a condo, you will have to abide by the rules of the condo corporation. They can include things like whether you can have a pet and its size limitations and what kind of furniture you can have on your balcony. Some rules can get really sticky, even those regarding things like your décor. If you have a problem with any of the rules, you might wish to rethink things before proceeding.

Read the fine print

Thoroughly reviewing the information a status certificate contains before moving forward may prove invaluable to your future best interests. There are resources readily available to help you gain a greater understanding of the sometimes confusing and complex legalities involved with a potential real estate purchase. An Ontario real estate lawyer can answer all of your questions and concerns while protecting you from many common oversights that happen all too often during the process of buying a home or condo.  

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