Buying a Condo: An Overview

The last article of our series on buying a condo focuses on additional information the buyer should know before signing the ultimate contract: services, property taxes, new home warranty program, developer, and insurance.

Ask the condo manager about the municipal taxes and the services offered: garbage pickup, road repairs, snow removal, etc. Are the general services included in the monthly fees? Some co-owners pay independent contractors through an additional condo service charge.

To get an idea of the property tax amount you will have to pay, contact the municipality if the building is new. In the case of a resale condo, ask the property manager to provide you with a copy of the most recent property assessment and most recent tax statement. The real estate broker may also have this information on hand.

If you are buying a new unit, you have the right to know what is covered by the new home warranty program and what is not. The program ensures the building was properly constructed according to the rules and regulations and meets the plans and specifications. Furthermore, the program may also cover the buyer’s deposit in case the developer does not complete the unit’s construction for one reason or another.

If you are buying a resale condo, two questions need to be answered about the warranty programs: Has the warranty period expired? If not, what warranty coverage remains?


If it is a condominium that is currently under construction, make certain the unit delivered to you is consistent with the unit detailed in the plan that was previously shown to you. To protect yourself, keep all written materials as proof: advertisements, flyers, etc. Some future co-owners retain the services of a real estate broker when signing the purchase agreement to cover their backs.

If the building consists of ten units or more, the developer is supposed to give you a disclosure statement upon signing the preliminary contract. He is required to do so. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), this document contains, among other things, a plan of the entire project, the budget statement, the governing documents and the declaration of co-ownership.

By the way, it is your absolute right to ask the developer for references. Please, do not hesitate to do so.

The insurance issue is complicated. In fact, the current Condominium Act review aims, among other things, to clarify everything that surrounds insurance practices by changing the rules. For the moment, the most important thing is to make sure that your individual unit and the condo association are sufficiently insured. Tell yourself that the real estate broker will be by your side to guide you.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, insist on asking certain questions. Are there any pending legal judgments against the condominium association? Was the condominium association ever involved in any lawsuit? Is there any renovation work expected? Take the time to read the meeting minutes. You may find information on major work planned. If this is the case, the reserve fund, also called emergency fund or contingency fund, must be in good financial health.

Obtaining all the answers and making a decision based on the information you have collected may seem a little complicated, but rest assured. Your real estate broker is there to explain everything in detail.

Here are the articles that were published so far:

Condo Fees and Inspection

Condominium: The Questions You Need to Ask

Thinking About Buying a Condo: Think Twice!