The Promise to Purchase for Condominiums

As for any single home, you will have to write a promise to purchase to acquire the condo you wish to buy. Although the content of both forms is similar, the promise to purchase for condominiums includes some particularities. It is in your best interest to know them well.

In the case of a divided co-ownership property, the promise to purchase includes:

  • the cadastral description of your private portion;
  • if the parking lot and storage space are also private portions;
  • the cadastral designations of the parking lot and storage space;
  • the share and cadastral description of the common portions; and,
  • whether the parking lot and storage space are private portions, common portions for restricted use or other; and,
  • the area of the condo’s private portion described in the certificate of location.

In the case of an undivided co-ownership property, the promise to purchase should include:

  • the exclusive uses relating to the share being sold;
  • the area of this share; and,
  • whether the area indicated on the certificate of location is “gross” or “net”.

You have the right to require, in the promise to purchase, the inspection of the premises by a professional. It is strongly recommended to have the private portion and the entire condominium inspected to determine the state of the building before buying it. Otherwise, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you receive a special contribution to pay for roof or parking garage repairs.

In the promise to purchase, you must demand to see certain documents that the seller must provide you. There should be a deadline for you to read these documents as well. It is rather easy for the divided co-ownership property because some documents are already required in the promise to purchase form, like the declaration of co-ownership, the by-laws of the immovable and the minutes of the co-owners’ general meeting.

In the case of a divided co-ownership property, the seller must provide you with a certificate of location describing the present state of the entire co-ownership, private portions and common portions combined. A simple indication of lot numbers and doors of the private portion is unacceptable. A detailed description is required. If not available, the certificate could only describe the private portion. If there is no certificate, insist on obtaining it because it defines the space in which you will be living. If renovation work is expected in the private portion, it must appear on the certificate.

All of the foregoing information has been drawn largely from the website of the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ). You will find a copy of the form relating to the divided co-ownership property and a copy of the one relating to the undivided co-ownership property.

To help you further, here is some advice from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) experts.

  • Read all the required documents to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
  • Find out how the condo association makes its decisions and be certain you agree with the management
  • Understand the principle of the right to vote and what it means when you lose that right.
  • Do not hesitate to check with the co-owners if any major problems have been going on for a while.
  • Do you have the right to park any vehicle (recreational or commercial) in your parking space? Can you arrange your balcony the way you want?
  • In the case of a new dwelling, after reviewing the construction specifications, you may require the developer to write down the unfinished work and the date of its completion.
  • Is the door of the dwelling part of the private portion or the common portion? The building plan will confirm the boundaries between the private and common

Is this a little confusing to you? Do not worry. Your real estate broker will be by your side to answer all of your questions.