Condos can represent a great investment for a young family or first-time home buyer, but like anything else, buyer beware.

Here are several things that you should keep an eye out for when exploring your condo options:

1. Make sure that you understand the fee structure

It is important to know how much the fees are, and exactly what those fees entitle you to. Condos can range from your traditional unit in a building scenario, to freehold condominiums. Before buying, make certain that you know which utilities, types of maintenance, and other key items are included.

2. Get a copy of the by-laws/regulations

Be sure to read and fully understand the regulations for your condo. For example, you likely do not have carte blanche with renovations, or may not know how emergency funds are handled. These are just two things that first-time condo buyers may not fully understand.

3. Get an inspection before buying

Even if you are purchasing a unit in a solid looking building, it is important to have an inspection done before purchasing. Never assume that all necessary maintenance has been done, or that the corporation has been diligent. The benefit here is that the inspector will review not just your unit, but the common areas that you pay to maintain and have access to.

4. Check to see what the neighbours are like

What are your neighbours like? Do they tend to own or rent? Remember, the quality of your living space, and its future market value is dependent on your condo community as a whole.

5. Review the Condo Corporation’s Financial Statements

This is a big must, and one that is often overlooked. No matter how things look on the surface, make sure that the financial statements are properly reviewed. If something is unclear, ask. The last thing you want to do is to buy into a condo corporation that is about to go broke.

Even if you’re an experienced condo owner, always remember to make these 5 steps part of your buying process!

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