Buying a Condo in London Ontario
Everything You May Want to Know When Buying a Condo in London Ontario!
When you are looking for a condominium, you may find different options on the market. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the types of condos available in London Ontario.
There are two main types of condominiums: freehold and leasehold.
Freehold condominiums fall into one of three categories:
- Standard condominium corporations
When you buy a condominium, you are likely buying a unit in a standard condominium corporation. This could be a building divided into condo units, row townhouses or stand-alone townhouses.
Your money buys you:
- ownership of your unit; and
- an interest in the property’s common elements and assets (such as hallways, elevators, etc.). You cannot separate this interest from the ownership of your unit.
Before a builder can transfer the title of a unit to a purchaser, the condominium must be registered. Move into a unit before the condominium is registered. You will likely have to pay “occupancy rent” until the condominium is registered and you get title to your unit.
2. Common elements of condominium corporations
This type of corporation has no units but has common elements like roads, a golf course, or a ski hill. Owners enjoy the common elements and jointly fund their maintenance and repair.
For instance, if you buy property in a community that includes a common elements condominium corporation:
- you own your house and the land on which it sits, and
- all owners within the community share ownership of the roads and community centre.
Your part-interest in the corporation is attached to the parcel of land you own, not your house. The parcel of land on which your house sits is:
- Considered a parcel of tied land (POTL).
- The title to that parcel of tied land is permanently attached to your common interest in the common elements condominium corporation.
- Not included in the land described in the common elements condominium corporation’s description.
- Situated within the boundaries of the land titles and registry divisions of the land registry office where the developer registered the corporation’s description.
Unlike in standard condominium corporations, as there are no units, developers do not need to divide the land into units before registering a common elements condominium corporation.
3. Vacant land condominium corporations
In this type of corporation:
- Buildings do not need to be constructed before the condominium corporation is registered.
- Structures can be built after the declarant registers the condominium.
- Several types of structures can be accommodated in a single development.
It’s essential to read the condo’s declaration, which may restrict development size, construction or design standards and maintenance requirements.
Leasehold condominium corporations
The land is not owned by the condominium corporation in a leasehold condominium. Lease purchasers buy a leasehold interest in units and common elements but do not own the land. The Condominium Act treats leasehold condominiums much like freehold condominiums. Key differences include the following:
- A common expenses fee that includes a portion of the rent payable to the landowner.
- Once the ground lease expires, the owner’s right to occupy the unit is automatically terminated
The cost of the land isn’t included in the price of the condominium, but a portion of the rent payable to the landowner is included in the common expenses fee. The lease term must be between 40 and 99 years, so you will enjoy many of the advantages of owning a freehold condominium. You can sell, transfer, mortgage and take other actions with your unit without asking the landowner for permission. However, the sale price you can ask for your unit may be affected by the time remaining on the land lease. Once the ground lease expires, the owner’s right to occupy the unit is automatically terminated.
OK, The Nitty Gritty of Buying a Condo in London Ontario
Buying a condo in London, Ontario, an apartment, a townhouse, or a townhome, takes much more care than purchasing a house. The reason being is that due diligence is required to understand the condominium corporation’s bylaws and financial status, rules and regulations!
Apply these strategies, and you will never regret your decision!
Understand What You Need & Want.
NEEDS & WANTS. They’re two very different things. You may need three bedrooms because you have guests or need a place for your home office or hobby room. What you’ll find is your needs are relatively basic, and the ” wants ” take a little more time to clarify. Here is a list of requirements you might consider before looking for your condo:
- Size. The number of bedrooms? Bathrooms?A balcony or not.
- Location & style. Are you looking for an attached or detached condo, a townhouse, an apartment condo, a ranch or a bungalow condo?
- Style and layout of the condo. Do you want a more formal plan or a contemporary plan?
- Parks, Entertainment, Shopping, Distance to Work?
Understand What You Want In A Condo.
A great way to handle your wants is to look at where you live now. What do you like about it? Do you like its floor plan? Do you like the kitchen and eating areas? List out everything you want about your present home or condos you’ve visited.
Now, let’s take a look at what you don’t like about your place. If you dislike something in your present place, you most likely will not like it in the place you buy. So the quicker you can identify these items, the happier you will be in your new place.
Understand What Each Other Is Looking For, And WHY
If you’re a couple looking for a condo, this exercise will eliminate many disagreements down the road. You will both understand what the other wants and WHY they want it.
I recommend you RANK each feature regarding its importance to you and your partner. You’re both going to live in the condo, so as my wife tells me, it is wise to understand what she wants! For example, a well-designed gourmet kitchen (remember, list ALL the kitchen features you’re looking for) may rank high with a woman, while having a man cave may rank high with a man. Or vice-versa. Try to understand each other’s priorities. If you have been married for a long time, hopefully, you are told that by now! If you are single, do this as well, you never know when that perfect person shows up and if never, no harm in going through the exercise.
Some People Have More Dreams than Money
The ranking will also show you areas you may need to eliminate because of price constraints. And by having each person rank the importance of the features they want, you won’t be eliminating a high-priority item and putting additional stress on an already stressful time.
Understand What You Can Afford.
Like it or not, there are two guidelines bankers and mortgage lenders use to determine how much loan you can afford. The first guideline is the Payment to Income Ratio, and this guideline compares your income, or your total household income, to the amount of mortgage payment you’re considering.
To calculate the “payment” part of the formula, the lender will take the mortgage payment (principal + interest) and add it to its property taxes and condo fees. Hence the terms “PIT” (principal, interest, taxes). Usually, lenders will loan up to a payment amount of 28% of your total household income.
But before you think you’re home free, there’s something else you need to know. It’s called the Debt Income Ratio. Debt refers to ALL the significant monthly payments other than your mortgage payment (PIT). To arrive at this amount, the lender will consider it.
- Your car payment.
- Your credit card debt
- Any Revenue Canada liens or payments due.
- Any other payments and debts you have (boat, second home, etc.)
They’ll then compare your total debt to your ability to make current payments with your condo loan added to the equation. Now, here’s the “stickler.” Most lenders have set different limits on your Debt Income Ratio, which is why it’s critically important to shop around. (I have seen huge differences in rates) Don’t follow the “canned” financial advice you see on TV. Most of that advice is a “rule of thumb” and designed for the lowest credit rating and highest interest rates.
Think about this; if you spend two or three days to find a loan that saves you $10,000 to $60,000 over its term, your time is WELL WORTH SPENT! Doing a little homework on your own or suggesting where to shop will save thousands over your loan term.
How You Evaluate (put a value on) Condos Will Save You Thousands of Dollars and Heartaches!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when buying a condo is they rely solely on “local neighbourhood market analysis information” to determine the right price to pay. Before purchasing a condo, INSIST on seeing a “total market overview” of exactly what is happening in the ENTIRE market, and then narrow your analysis to local market information.
Why do I say this? Because you want to know two things: 1) what is the ENTIRE market doing with values? Are they going up? And by how much? 2) What is the specific area doing with market values? How does it compare to what the total market is doing? Are the growth rates the same, lower, or higher than the overall market? Understanding these parameters will save you thousands of dollars when you offer a condo. Take the time and ensure that the real estate person you have decided to work with knows how to count, compare, and are those numbers accurate?
OK, so let’s say you’re now pre-qualified with financing, and you have narrowed down what you can afford, what, and you know where.
The Way You View a Condo for Sale Can Save You Enormous Amounts of Money and Time
It’s now time to find a condo that fits your needs and one that will not be a money pit. Below are three important considerations you may want to take before making a rash decision.
- Location of the building or condo corporation
The general location of the condo you’re considering could determine how happy you’ll be living there. Here’s an important tip that will almost always make you money; “Buy the Midrange Condo in the Best Condo Complex You Can Afford”
Why do I say this? When you buy the midrange condo, the unit will “generally” appreciate faster and more significantly than a higher-priced unit in the same complex. Plus, you will most certainly spend money updating or decorating your new condo, and you don’t want to get “upside-down” on your condo’s value after spending money on improvements.
- Unit location.
The unit location has to do with WHERE your particular unit is in the complex or building you’re considering. Is it near a common area? Does it capture better views than other lots in the area? Is it more private or shaped better than other lots? Is it near a loud street? Near the elevator? Near the garbage chute and so on. Location in a complex or building will give you a basis for knowing how well the condo will appreciate vs. other units (assuming the apartment is reasonable).
- The condo layout.
How well did the builder take advantage of all the amenities the unit offers? Are the views great? How’s the curb appeal? Is there a balance between the front and back? Think through these things as you visit each condo.
As you approach a condo, keep in mind the following:
- What is your initial reaction (curb appeal)to the condo as you approach it from the street? Curb appeal dramatically impacts the value of the condo complex. Is it sited right on the lot? Notice the areas around the condo? Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed?
- Take a look at the structure of the condo. As you go through the unit, windows and doors should be square, and they should close correctly. Look around windows and doors for cracks. Check corners of rooms for sloping or tile/wood cracks. These may reveal foundation or water problems.
- Now think about the floor plan of the condo. Is it functional? Do the common areas flow the way you want them? Are the halls narrow and long, or are they open? How far will you have to carry the groceries from the garage or underground parking? Are the rooms the right size and height for your desires? If there have been any additions, were they done professionally? Do they fit with the flow and style of the home?
- Now, check the roof, windows, doors and ceilings. Are they in good condition? Those will all be in the Status Certificate. The what? (I will go through what a Status Certificate is, who orders it, who approves it and what decisions you may need to make.)
- Now make a basic check of the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems. Do drains and toilets work correctly? Is the electrical wiring up to code? And are the mechanical systems working properly? Make sure you get these systems inspected by a licensed contractor or inspector BEFORE you close any transaction. I insist!
Save Thousands of Dollars Writing Your Offer and Negotiating Your Purchase
Years ago, a real estate oldtimer told me that the less motivated party gets a better price. The ONE single element that will determine how well you negotiate your offer is:
How MOTIVATED Is the Seller, And How MOTIVATED Are YOU?
If the condo has been on the market for over three weeks, perhaps it’s because the seller hasn’t been motivated enough to sell. Or probably by now, the condo hasn’t sold, and they are very motivated. And if you are transferred, have your home listed, and you wish to downsize, or your spouse kicked you out, or you left, or you’ve had it with your landlord, YOU may be very motivated to buy! Nevertheless, here’s a tip you MUST bring to any real estate transaction:
Move Heaven And Earth To AVOID Emotional Attachment To the Home, You’re Considering
If you’re all excited about the condo and you can’t hold back your emotions when around the home, then you’re going to get destroyed when negotiating the purchase. That’s just ONE reason why you should use an experienced, well-grounded Realtor® representing you during any transaction, and the middle person alone will help save you money.
So let’s say you do not have a Realtor representing you, and you’re ready to write an offer. What’s the single best piece of information you can have? Other than my phone number 519-435-1600, (I couldn’t resist!)It’s the comparable sales and market data for the entire market and the area. Ask your Realtor to print out both for you to use.
Now, here’s what you may want to do
You want to take a look at Five crucial “market telltale signs:”
- Take a look at the current (for sale) listings and the sold units for the past three-six months in the area. Was the condo you’re considering priced within reason to the others? If so, you know you’re at a reasonable starting point.
- Now, take a look at what is the average selling price compared to the listing price. You may notice that most apartment condos in London are selling close to the asking price or more. Take this into consideration when making your offer.
- Now, make sure you visit, if you can, several of the other listings in the area. How does your choice compare to the others on the market? Is the unit you’re considering in a similar shape? Is it better suited? Is it bigger, smaller, better style, better landscaping, etc.? These factors will help you determine how much you should pay for your condo vs. how much others paid for similar condos in the neighbourhood.
- Now, take a look at the average market times (how many days it took to sell) for condos in the area. If they’re long, the market may be soft, and you might have more negotiating room; however, if they are less than ten days, it could be challenging.
- What is the ratio of owners versus investors in the building or complex?
Use A BUYER’S REPRESENTATIVE! (That’s a Realtor!)
Avoid Dual Agency if possible; if you find a home on your own, know that the listing agent represents the seller, not you! It’s true, and the question you have to ask yourself is: “Is this person going to represent MY interests?” Think about this: If you had to go to court, would you use the same lawyer the opposing side was using?
I think you know the answer! But did you know that by creating a “buyer’s representation” with a Realtor, you not only get someone representing you but…
- A buyer’s representative doesn’t cost you a nickel more. Even though they represent you, they are paid out of the standard commission that the home seller has built into their price.
- Buyer representation is straightforward to enter into, but be very careful; buyer representation can be hard to get out of if you are not happy with the Realtor you have chosen. Know what you are signing.
- A buyer’s representative will keep everything about you and your transaction confidential!
Fully grasp the difference of who is representing whom. If more buyers and sellers of real estate understood this, there would be far fewer issues.’ What an excellent real estate person can do to help:
- Knows the area you want to buy in because he/she is out always looking at homes.
- Be able to spot trouble for you as they daily look at homes and see things you might not see.
- Can simplify the buying process.
- Can provide you with motivated, reliable financing sources and options.
- Can refer you to proven inspectors, lawyers and accountants and other service providers you may need.
Who Are All The Key Players in a Real Estate Transaction?
Buying or selling a home requires more than just the buyer and seller. You’ll also need the services of various home-related professionals, and we can help you find many of the right ones.
Here are the key players in a transaction and the roles they play:
Finding a home to purchase is a big task, and a Realtor can make it a lot easier by doing a good deal of looking for you.
The Realtor’s role is to help you sift through available properties, identify those that most closely meet your requirements, and arrange for you to view them. Ideally, your Realtor is more than a salesperson.
The top Realtors help provide you with Listings AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; they have 2 or 3 systems to do so because we all know that well-priced homes sell quickly. They should serve as a resource person who can provide valuable advice and help you make an informed purchase decision. They will also help you with your offer if a buyer’s agent works for you; they help negotiate the offer in the BEST terms for you, the homebuyer.
- A licensed real estate person keeps tabs on the latest properties by tracking the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other sources.
- May also be acting as the Realtor for the seller when the property is an MLS listing. However, suppose you have already engaged a Realtor to help you find a property. In that case, he or she will act expressly and contractually in your best interest and known as Buyer’s Agency.
- Negotiates terms and conditions of your purchase with the seller’s Realtor or with the seller directly (if a private seller or their listing).
- The seller pays the Realtor’s commission out of the proceeds of the sale. Usually, it is split between the buyer’s Realtor and seller’s Realtor if both are involved.
- Arranges to get information for you or certain conditions to be fulfilled, as agreed with you — i.e. survey, appraisal (for mortgage purposes), and a home inspection report.
- Selecting a Realtor to help you buy or to sell a property is something you should take some time doing so. Professional Realtors thrive on questions!
The REALTOR® Consumer Relationship
In Ontario, the real estate profession is governed by the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, and Associated Regulations (REBBA 2002 or Act), administered by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).
All Ontario REALTORS® are registered under the Act and regulate real estate brokerages’ conduct and salespeople/brokers. The Act provides consumer protection in deposit insurance and requires every salesperson/broker to carry errors & omission (E&O) insurance.
When you choose to use the services of a REALTOR®, it is essential to understand that this individual works on behalf of a real estate brokerage, usually a company. The brokerage is operated by a Broker of Record, responsible for the employees registered with the brokerage. When you sign a contract, it is with the brokerage, not the salesperson/broker employee.
The Act also requires that the brokerage (usually through its REALTORS®) explain the types of service alternatives available to consumers and the brokerage’s services. The brokerage must document the relationship between the brokerage and the consumer and submit it for approval and signature.
The most common relationships are “client” and “customer,” but other options may be available in the marketplace.
A “client” relationship creates the highest form of obligation for a REALTOR® to a consumer. The brokerage and its salespeople/brokers have a ﬁduciary (legal) relationship with the client and represent the client’s interests in a real estate transaction.
The REALTOR® will establish this relationship using a representation agreement, called a Listing Agreement with the seller and a Buyer Representation Agreement with the buyer.
The agreement contains an explanation of the services the brokerage will provide, the fee arrangement for those services, the obligations the client will have under the agreement, and the agreement’s expiry date. Ensure that you have read and fully understand any such agreement before signing any documents.
Once a brokerage and a consumer enter into a client relationship, the brokerage must protect the client’s interests and do what is best for the client. A brokerage must strive for the beneﬁt of the client and must not disclose a client’s conﬁdential information to others.
Under the Act, the brokerage must also make reasonable efforts to determine any material facts relating to the transaction that would interest the client and inform the client of those facts.
Although they represent their client’s interests, they must still treat all parties to the transaction with fairness, honesty, and integrity.
A buyer or seller may not wish to be under contract as a client with the brokerage but would instead be treated as a customer.
A REALTOR® is obligated to treat every person in a real estate transaction with honesty, fairness, and integrity. Still, unlike a client, it provides a customer with a restricted level of service. Services provided to a customer may include showing the property or properties, taking customer direction to draft an offer, presenting the customer offer, etc.
Brokerages use a Customer Service Agreement to document their services to buyers or sellers. Under the Act, the REALTOR® has disclosure obligations to a customer and must disclose material facts known to the brokerage that relate to the transaction.
What Happens When?
Buyer(s) and the seller(s) are sometimes under contract with the same brokerage when properties are shown, or an offer is contemplated. There can also be instances when more than one offer on a property and more than one buyer and the seller are under a representation agreement with the same brokerage. This situation is referred to as multiple representation or dual agency.
Under the Act, the REALTORS® and their brokerage must make sure all buyers, sellers, and their REALTORS® conﬁrm in writing that they acknowledge, understand, and consent to the situation before their offer is made. REALTORS® typically uses a Conﬁrmation of Co-operation and Representation form to document this situation.
Offer negotiations may become stressful, so if you have any questions when a reference is made to multiple representations or multiple offers, ask your REALTOR® for an explanation.
REALTORS® are obligated to disclose facts that may affect a buying or selling decision. It may be difﬁcult for a REALTOR® to judge what facts are important, and they also may not be in a position to know a fact.
It would help if you communicated to your REALTOR® what information and facts about a property are vital to you in making a buying or selling decision, and document this information to avoid any misunderstandings or unpleasant surprises.
Similarly, services that are important to you and are to be performed by the brokerage or promises that have been made to you should be in writing and documented in your contract with the brokerage and its salesperson/broker.
To ensure the best possible real estate experience, make sure your REALTOR® answers all your questions. You should read and understand every contract before you ﬁnalize it.
Note: All the reasons why it is crucial to work with a Realtor in Ontario. For sale by owners (FSBOs) who are selling their home do not have to comply with the regulations that a Realtor does, so caveat emptor (the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.)
Your lawyer makes sure that the property you purchase is legally yours and comes with no strings attached.
When you buy property, you are not just buying the land and building; you are also accepting the legal rights of ownership, so you need to be confident that no other party has a claim to them. Your lawyer will confirm that there are no legal obstacles to your purchase and help it proceed smoothly.
- Conducts a title search to ensure that the seller is the property’s valid owner, ensuring that the current or proposed occupancy usage conforms to local by-laws.
- Obtains all necessary documentation, including:
- Compliance Letter acknowledging that no outstanding liens (legal claims) or work orders are in effect
- Tax Department release verifying that property taxes are up to date
- Will handle the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer and the mortgage’s registration on the title.
- Ensures arrangements are in place for funds to be available for closing.
- Coordinates with lenders the setup of legal documents for any mortgage security.
- Ensures that all mortgage terms and conditions are fulfilled and that title is clear to make undertakings to the lender(s). May obtain title insurance on your behalf if there is an issue surrounding the title that may cause a claim or work order of some kind in the future.
- Arranges for the signing of legal documents and the submission of remaining funds.
- Coordinates closing of the purchase transaction with the lawyer(s) for the seller of the property.
- See “A role of a Lawyer”
The mortgage lender is the financial hub in your real estate venture and can either work for the Canadian banks or be a mortgage broker who has access to not only the big banks but secondary lenders as well.
It pays to shop around in today’s mortgage market because there are many lenders and different financing options available, and fees! Save yourself some time and trouble.
Appraisers assess property value for the lender.
When purchasing a property, the lender must be satisfied that the price reflects its actual market value. An appraiser is an officially accredited evaluator hired to inspect the property for the lender to assess and certify its value.
- Provides the lender with an accredited opinion about the property’s market value (to be) purchased, which can be compared to the purchase amount.
The Home Inspector acts as your extra pair of eyes, seeing things about a property that may not be visible to you.
If you are buying a resale home, it’s always advisable to have it checked by a Home Inspector as a purchase condition. This individual (not requiring provincial licensing in most cases) will inspect the property for significant deficiencies, which may not always be apparent. The results are presented in a written Home Inspection Report. See this report on choosing a home inspector and why!
The Home Inspector:
- Identifies the soundness of the structure and any improvements that have been made.
- Notes any specific deficiencies and their impact on the value of the property.
- Estimates the cost to correct any identified deficiencies.
Note: There can be many other professionals or non-professionals involved in your real estate transaction. An excellent, thorough Realtor will ensure you are working with qualified professionals.
OK, so you know the difference between any Realtor and creating a “buyer’s representation.” But did you know what a dedicated professional real estate person could do for you?
- A good experienced Realtor knows the area you want to buy because he/she is always looking at condos.
- A good Realtor can spot trouble for you. He or she will be experienced at looking at condos and will see things you might not see.
- A good Realtor will significantly simplify the buying process.
- A good Realtor will have reliable financing sources and options
Which One Do YOU Want Representing Your Interests?
I hope the information above has given you helpful advice on finding and buying a condo? And at this point, you’re probably pretty clear that to find the right home and save money, someone competent and professional to represent YOUR interests is very prudent. There’s a difference between Realtors who ‘do’ real estate and those who COMMIT to whatever it takes to serve clients.
Condo Living Explained
More and more Londoners are choosing to live in condominiums. Be they apartment-style, a townhouse or a townhome. Empty-nesters, singles, couples and families enjoy the freedom from routine maintenance like grass cutting, raking leaves, shovelling snow, in most cases, replacing roof shingles, windows or doors.
Owning a condominium in London, Ontario, includes sharing common areas with other residents and following by-laws and rules set by the condo corporation. It’s essential to understand how a condominium corporation is established and operates so you know what to expect from condominium living.
A Status Certificate Explained
When people think of a condominium’s financial position, they believe it regards money in the reserve fund. The myth that has grown up around this is that a condo corporation with a large amount of money is better than a condominium with a much smaller sum of money.
A Status Certificate contains the condominium corporation’s operational, legal, and financial dimensions. The corporation must give each person so requesting a status certificate concerning a unit in the corporation.
A request for a Status Certificate is given to the property manager. On behalf of the condominium corporation, the property manager is allowed ten days to deliver the Status Certificate to the requester. The cost is generally around $100.
The enjoyment of owners is most directly affected by the By-laws and House Rules of the condominium corporation. The by-laws explain to owners how a building is managed on a general level.
The following are the types of matters by-laws cover:
- The Board of Directors – how many, how they are nominated, elected or removed, and how long they can serve.
- How the condominium corporation can borrow money.
- The assessment and collection of contributions to ordinary expenses.
- What constitutes a standard unit? This covers what the condominium is or is not responsible for in-residence regarding damage, repair or replacement. Owners need to know this to get insurance for their unit.
- How the units and common elements are to be maintained, they are used and managed.
- Members’ meetings and annual general meetings. The appointment, remuneration, functions, and duties of agents, officers and employees of the condominium.
By-laws must be reasonable and consistent with the Condominium Act and the condominium’s declaration.
By-laws can be added to, amended or removed. Changing a by-law requires a majority vote of the owners (i.e. 50% of Unit Owners plus one). That vote must occur at a meeting of the owners that must be called explicitly for. All owners are given 15 days written notice of that meeting.
The 1998 Condominium Act requires that a minimum of 3 directors be appointed. Generally, boards will have between 3 and 7 directors depending on the size and type of Condominium Corporation. More often than not, within aboard, there will be a President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary at minimum.
In most condominiums, directors of boards restrict their activity to making decisions and advising the Unit Owners to maintain or improve the condo’s affairs. They deal with the financial, legal and physical aspects of running the building and the Unit Owners’ concerns.
It is not usually the board’s job to carry out the building’s day-to-day running – that job is delegated to the property manager. However, the board is responsible for ensuring that the property manager runs the structure properly.
A Board of Directors is well advised to seek expert advice and opinions from lawyers, accountants, contractors, architects, and designers before making decisions or communicating information to the Unit Owners.
Once a year (must be within six months of the end of each fiscal year of the corporation), the corporation will hold an annual general meeting for all the Unit Owners.
The involvement of as many Unit Owners as possible at an annual general meeting or generally in the corporation’s affairs (whether on the board or committees) is vital for a condominium’s welfare. More input can
Suppose a unitholder does not want to or cannot attend an A.G.M. or another special meeting. In that case, they can appoint, in writing, another person to represent them as a proxy and vote at the meeting following their wishes.
Unit Owners can call their special meeting provided they can obtain 15% of Unit Owners willing to sign the meeting request.
The property manager has a variety of responsibilities, including the following:
- Enforce By-laws and House Rules.
- Ensure the building is properly maintained.
- Deal with contractors and oversee the work being done by them on the building.
- Hire and supervise employees of the condominium, such as cleaning staff, concierge and door attendants.
- Advise the board concerning the by-laws, house rules, renovations, security and problems arising from the unit holders or such things as damage to common elements.
- Communicate and deal with unitholders. For example, they must advise unitholders of fire alarm drills and window cleaning and deal with unitholders’ complaints. Depending on a claim’s nature, a property manager may want to bring the complaint forward to a Board Meeting for resolution.
- Prepare monthly and annual financial budgets and statements.
- Manage the receipt of monthly maintenance fees and the payment of expenses.
The Condominium Act puts the following obligations on the owner and the condominium corporation:
- Within 30 days of leasing or renewing a lease, owners must notify the corporation of this fact and provide the lessee’s and owner’s names. Within this same period, they must also provide a copy of the lease and furnish the lessee with a copy of the corporation’s Declaration, by-laws, and rules.
- Owners must notify the corporation of lease terminations.
- The Corporation is required to maintain a record of all the notices needed regarding leased units.
A check should be made of the Condominium Declaration, by-laws or house rules as they often contain restrictions on leasing/renting. The following are some typical restrictions:
- The owner is still responsible for the monthly maintenance fees and any damage caused by the tenant.
- The suite cannot be used for hotel purposes or leased for less than one year.
- The details of the lease and information about the tenant must be provided to the property manager before the tenancy’s commencement.
- The property manager must inspect the unit before the lease to ensure it is in a good repair state.
- A tenant cannot sublet a unit.
- An owner must notify the property manager that the unit is no longer being rented or occupied within seven days.
Warning: Here Comes a Sales Pitch!
I hope the information above has given you some helpful ideas and things to think about when finding and buying a home? Now, some self-promotion.
To show you what I think should be done when helping buyers and sellers.
- We’ll evaluate the value of your chosen home with a 12-page home audit we designed, plus an evaluation worksheet that involves about 2-3 hours of preparation.
- Negotiate the best agreement for you, not only price but clauses that we deem necessary to protect you and your family.
- Guide you to locate the best mortgage in the market for your situation if required.
- Coordinate all inspections, and appraisals with the very best firms, so you can feel confident and free to focus on other important family tasks during your move.
- Make the entire process as hassle-free as possible. We have the administrative talent that has been doing transactions for 20 years plus!
- Everything you do and say is confidential.
- When a client, you will receive our ‘Dedicated Home Buyer’ manual with everything you need to know about buying a home, your checklists, moving tips and things to consider as you are getting ready to move.
Before even looking at homes, we will:
- Listen to understand your needs and desires; we will not persuade, convince or sign anything!
- Highlight various condo corporations to determine which ones best suit your needs.
- Allow you and I to evaluate whether we can help you or not; if you feel we are not the right fit for you, off you go, you are under no obligation whatsoever.
- Assist you in pre-qualifying for mortgage purposes if required.
During the Search for the Right Home, we will:
- Launch our detailed High Energy Home Buyer Program action plan;
- Keep you informed of daily updates on newly listed properties that meet your needs.
- Ensure we are available to you for offers, questions and concerns and not passed on to an assistant or an inexperienced Realtor.
At the Time of Offer, we will:
- Prepare and review the Offer to Purchase;
- Explain all conditions and special clauses;
- Represent you in presenting the Offer;
- Present the offer and handle negotiations until we have an agreement.
When we have a Conditional Sale Agreement, we will:
- Ensure that all documents required by your Mortgage Provider are signed and provided.
- Assist you in choosing a lawyer to represent you for a smooth and successful closing, if required.
- Assist you in choosing a reputable and professional Home Inspector; if so, we will be there with you at the home inspection.
- Monitor that conditions are all completed promptly (inspections, mortgage financing, etc.)
Once we have a Firm and Binding Agreement, we will
- Ensure that all documents required by your Lawyer are signed and provided.
- Arrange for a final walk-through 2 or 3 days before you take possession to ensure what you bought is still there and in the same condition.;
- Arrange for keys and other necessary items such as garage door opener, mailbox keys, etc.
These are only a few of the things we discuss with you before, and during the buying process, there are 92 items we cover. Sound like a lot? It is, but the way we see it, if you are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a property, it is imperative to protect yourself, your family and your future.
Where can we help you?
Our real estate brokerage covers London and South West Ontario. We are licensed in Ontario and can refer you to our network of qualified real estate professionals across Canada, Florida, California, Arizona, and North and South Carolina!
What Will It Cost You?
99.8% of the time, we are paid by the listing real estate brokerage, disclosed to you upfront at all times in writing and verifiable. No retainer fee or upfront fees are required; we only get paid once the property you choose has changed hands. I call it our success fee! We get paid after you have successfully and happily purchased a property.
Why Us and Not The Other 1900 + Realtors in London & The Area?
- We work exclusively for you (the buyer) while the listing agent works for the seller. If you were to approach a listing agent, they would represent the seller, not you. Lawyers cannot work for the buyer and the seller on the same property for a reason; why should Realtors be able to?
- We are your eyes and ears in the London, Ontario real estate market. We take as long as it takes to understand your individual needs by creating a personalized “property profile.” We know about all the homes for sale, be it private, MLS or exclusives and for sale by the owner.
- Our network and long-standing relationships with lenders, lawyers, financial advisors, appraisers, trades and Realtors are continually expanding.
- We will give you an objective and an unbiased view of a property’s true worth backed up with documented research of the current market and trends.
To Buy a Home in London, Ontario, Who Gets The Biggest Bang For Their Dollar?
The biggest bang for their dollar goes to the buyer who has the first opportunity to say yes with conviction! And, who is that buyer?
- The buyer who has identified their needs, not their wants
- The buyer understands that buying a home is a process, not an event! In other words, keeping their emotions in check and aware that opinions from family, co-workers & friends, though well-meaning, may not be accurate or up to date.
- The buyer who knows what questions to ask & is aware of all the facts ends up with the home that matches their budget and needs.
Do You Feel You Know Everything There Is To Know About Buying A Condo?
Most wing it or have any Realtor show a few and then buy one. Sounds foolish and not too wise, yet, that is what most do.
How much would you save in money, stress or issues if you knew about the following? Below are a few topics we cover with our condo buyer clients.
- Four Fears Most Condo Buyers Have & How to Respect Those Fears & Handle Them?
- Four Important Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender Before You Sign Anything.
- I’m The One Buying the Condo Who Are All the Other People Who Get Involved, and why?
- When I Buy a Condo, How Can I Protect Myself? Before & After?
- New or Resale, What You May Not Know.
- Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Car or Furniture Right Before You Buy a Condo.
- Five Strategies to Never Ever Overpay for a Condo.
- Getting a Home Inspection for a Condo? Do I Need One?
- How Credit Reports and Credit Scoring Affects What Dolar Amount You Can Borrow.
- What Pricing Strategies Are Sellers & Their Realtor Using to Get You to Buy?
- A Proven Way to Avoid Frustration When Looking for Condos in London, Ontario & Area.
- How Can I Remember Each Condo When I’ve Seen So Many?
- Five Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor at Every Condo You Visit.
- Six Things Most Builders Hope You NEVER Hear.
- 8 Signs That Could Mean Expensive (hidden) Trouble
- Avoid Being Beaten Out by Other Buyers Who Want the Same Condo as You Do.
- A No-Fail Guide to Finding A Mover That Won’t Take You To The Cleaners.
- Ways You Can Save Thousands of Interest Dollars and Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Sooner.
- Why Just Any Lawyer Will Not Do
- How Important Is a Status Certificate? Why Do I Need One? Who Pays for It?
As you can see, we do not leave any stone unturned when it comes to helping our clients BEFORE they buy. You can imagine then what we do when viewing condos, negotiating a sale, and the hundreds of details after an agreement of purchase is made until the move-in date!