How a lawyer can help when you’re buying a condo

Condo 6

Condo 6Buying a condo is as exciting as buying a house, but there are a lot more rules that go along with it. While having a lawyer is not an option in Ontario when purchasing a property, there are even more reasons to bring your lawyer on early if you are buying a condo:

  1. Lawsuits are, unfortunately, more common in a condo than in a house, whether the condo suing the developer or a resident suing the condo. Either way, a lawyer can help you assess whether that ongoing lawsuit is going to be relatively minor or might result in a big payment one day soon.
  2. Fees, including expected increases and special assessments, are supposed to be disclosed in the status certificate. A lawyer will know exactly where to look to see if these have been disclosed and whether they seem to be in the right range.
  3. Your lawyer will be able to tell you whether the reserve fund study appears reasonable (and whether it is up-to-date). If it’s way past due, you will want to know before you buy.
  4. Your lawyer will know whether any of the rules seem unusual. While ultimately it is up to whether you can live with them, you will want to know whether the rules are reasonable and whether any of them aren’t allowed.

It’s also not a bad idea to have an accountant take a look at the budget to make sure that it seems reasonable and in line with the particular building. A client of mine recently had me review the legal documents and then consult with her accountant about the financial documents. That client is now extremely well informed about what is happening in her new condo building.

Whatever you are buying, you always want to be sure you are as informed as possible.

Thanks to David Fleming over at the Toronto Realty Blog for the inspiration for this post.