Do your homework before buying a condo

Moving into a new condo can be an exciting experience. The amenities and features that condo-living offer are appealing and convenient. However, it is important not to let your emotions get the best of you, say observers in this field.

“Although condo-living is an attractive option, there is a potential for letdown if you don’t do your research ahead of time,” says Carlo Racioppo, a broker with Royal LePage Realty Plus in Mississauga, Ontario.  Racioppo offers these three tips for avoiding condo buyer’s remorse:

• Check the condo fees.  When you begin your search, be sure to keep in mind that the listing price does not include your monthly maintenance fees. Just like detached housing, condos require regular maintenance and there are owners’ utility costs. Your condo fees will generally cover maintenance and operating expenses of the building’s amenities. Racioppo recommends setting aside three months’ living expenses for unforeseen costs.

• Read the disclosure statement. If you are buying a condo which is under construction, be sure to read the builder’s disclosure statement. This document outlines a description of the property, the estimated date of completion, the number of units intended for leasing, and the corporation’s budget, among other important information. As a buyer, you have rights, and reviewing this document should eliminate any unexpected surprises.

• Research your builder. Like detached housing, condo builders should be carefully scrutinized and researched before any offer is made. You can search for complaints, free of charge, by using the Better Business Bureau or, better yet, you can hire your own home inspector to examine your condo, even if the builder has provided one. It is important to err on the side of caution, avoiding any unexpected repair costs and potential disappointment.

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