A blog cannot deal with all aspects of a subject and is not intended to replace professional advice. It's purpose is to highlight information and identify areas of possible interest. Anyone wishing to discuss this blog or to make any comments or suggestions about this blog is invited to do so by either posting comments or emailing me directly.
Yesterday, I was reviewing a new Calgary MLS System listing of a condo apartment property and it reminded me of something that should be of importance to buyers and sellers.
When you are looking for a licensed real estate agent to market and sell your condominium property, PLEASE find one that is certified on Condominium sales or at least has significant experience in condominiums.
As it is, a basic real estate license is all that is needed to market, sell, and assist buyers with condominium purchases. However, it really is a specialty with some significant nuances. The entry-level real estate license program covers only the basics, provides a good summary as to why they are different, and provides a direction that the purchase and listing agreements needs to include key items and wording. It is expected that someone licensed in residential sales who is looking at completing in sales of condomiums (or acreages) will get additional training – but it isn't specifically mandated. It is...
A Condominum Document Review is one of the many standard conditions that can be entered on an offer to purchase for Alberta real estate. This condition is inserted to protect the buyer's interests when buying property with condominium ownership. In many cases reviewing the condominium documents is far more important than even doing a home inspection with a licensed property inspector. There are dozens of documents to review: audited and unaudited financial statements, operating budgets, board meetings, engineer reports, a survey(s), 25-year cash-flow projections, owner's obligations, restrictions, by-laws, rules and policies. There are just so many important and costly things that can be hidden in those documents relating to the condominium corporation that you're getting involved in and how well it is being run. In buying a unit in a condominium corporation, you become an partial owner of that corporation. The condominium corporation is a not-for-profit corporation which...
Find a LOCAL REALTOR® who has a condominium specialist designation. In Calgary, this is an optional upgrade designation for REALTORS®. Condominium real estate transactions are significantly far more complex than freehold property transactions and require additional care and attention to details.
In Alberta, condominiums can be apartments, townhouses, 4-plexes, 8-plexes, attached homes, detached homes or even a few acreages just outside the city. All types of property can provide the benefits of condominium ownership. A condominium specialist should be able to spot the tell-tale signs of a well-run condominium corporation and in the case of townhouses, rowhouses, multi-unit properties can easily explain why they are far, far superior to "freehold" townhouses, rowhouses or multi-unit properties.
If you are buying a brand new condominium, recognize that the "sales person" in the show suite is an employee of the vendor and CAN NOT represent you in your transaction – they work only...
Calling the listing agent is the BIGGEST mistake a potential buyer can make!
The listing agent is legally working for the seller to get them the very highest price and best terms possible!
The listing agent is required, by law, to disclose three important facts to an unrepresented potential buyer:
- They are working FOR the seller,
- They are NOT working for you, and
- The buyer will likely get a better deal with their own agent.
The listing agent is prohibited from sharing with the potential buyer knowledge they may have about a home or the seller – unless the seller gives them authorization to share the information ahead of time. And why would the seller offer to share negative information?
The listing agent is going to try to push a sale of the home – whether or not it meets the potential buyer's criteria. Keep in mind they work FOR the seller.
The seller has already agreed to pay a certain fee to sell their home through the listing agent. They pay no...
Have you ever wondered what Condominum Special Assessments are? Or who is responsible for paying them?
Here is a link to great blog post by one of our team of experts that I rely on:
Click here to read more: Condominium - Special Assessments
If you're considering buying a condominium apartment, you’ll have a pretty wide variety to choose from in Calgary these days. Some view the top floor units as the best and therefore are willing to pay a small premium in price; with the middle and ground floors as somewhat less desirable. The debate about ground floor apartment condos is always pretty polarized. Either they are almost as highly desirable as the top floor or they are absolutely hated. There really doesn’t seem to be a view of “they’re the same as second or third floor apartments.
In the resale condominium market, they seem to be valued higher than second floor units, but less than third or fourth floor units. They do seem to take a little longer to sell because there are somewhat fewer people willing to consider them as a purchase option, I presume.
Some people love the fact that the ground floor condo apartments most often come with direct access to the outside and have a door that can...
It is an unfortunate fact that many condominium owners do not know they need to insure their individual living units. In media reports we hear of condominium buildings that have been severely damaged by fire or other perils. These reports often include a quote from an owner who has lost everything, “We thought the corporation’s insurance covered us.”
This is an very unnecessary situation. Every condo owner should know that they need their own insurance. To be properly insured, the corporation’s policy should be compared with the owner’s needs. For example, does the corporation’s policy cover upgrades the owner has made? An insurance adviser experienced in condominiums can help condo unit owners get a policy that will suit their needs.
Here is a helpful brochure put out by the Insurance Bureau of Canada to help condo owners and potential condo buyers with simple and helpful tips that may prevent them from a disastrous experience.
Condominium apartments and townhouses offer a quite affordable option to single-family homes in the Calgary area, and they're ideal for those who truly appreciate the maintenance-free lifestyle. Buy before you buy a condo, make sure you do your "homework."
These are some of the really important elements to consider:
- Maintenance: Many condo properties hire onsite maintenance personnel to care for common areas. Those with a concierge service may coordinate repairs in your unit and let in workers when you're not at home.
- Amenities: Many condo properties have swimming pools, fitness centres, or other facilities that would make life much more convenient and would be hugely expensive in a single-family home.
- Security: Keyed entries are the norm for most condos. You're also closer to other people in case of an emergency.
- Neighbours: You're much closer to your neighbours in a condo apartment or townhouse. If you like a sense of community, make sure you introduce yourself to...
If You're Buying a Condo from Plans, Read the Fine Print and Avoid Condo Buyers' Remorse...
When you buy a condominium from plans that won’t be built for a few years, the developer has to give you a list of important documents when you sign the sale agreement. These include the rules that will govern the condominium and a budget for the first year, so you can figure out in advance what you will pay for common expenses.
You have 10 days from the date the developer gives you that information to change your mind. If you do not cancel, then it is a firm deal.
Considering Buying a Condo?
Condominiums are a very popular housing choice for many Calgarians. Today, it accounts for well over 30% of all homes purchased and sold. Across Canada, ownership of condominiums is growing at a phenominal pace. However, there are a number of things to research and keep in mind before making an offer on a condo.
Condominium corporations collect fees on behalf of their owners that cover a variety of items from modest maintenance and upkeep fees to high fees for extravagant luxury amenities. Sometimes some utilities are even included in these monthly fees. Before you place the offer on your dream condo, make sure that you clearly understand what's included in the monthly fees and whether or not there are any out-of-the-ordinary expenses likely to be incurred in the near future. These aren't always due to deferred maintenance, but can be planned upgrades. A little investigation can keep you from being taken by surprise.
Reserve Fund Studies
Heading into the holidays can be a stressful time for most people, especially when you have a home to sell in the midst of all the celebrations. Many sellers take their homes off the market before the holidays to avoid the added stress, but this time of year can actually be a blessing for the home seller. There are some good reasons to keep marketing your home over the holidays.
- Less competition. Since so many sellers take their homes off the market you will have less competition. If your home shows well (holiday decor is ok and is expected at this time of year) and is priced well this could be a big benefit to you. There are buyers out there who need to find places to live over the holidays. If you are worried about showings when you are celebrating or have guests, simply have your agent ask for more notice in the MLS for showing times.
- Serious buyers. Buyers who are looking for homes over the holidays tend to be serious buyers, given the fact that they are looking for homes during the...
Originally Published: December 10, 2010
Check your condo rules before you put up that menorah or Santa decoration, or you might find yourself taking your holiday decorations down a lot sooner than you planned.
I want to flout condo rules and put up holiday decorations despite an HOA rule banning them. What’s going to happen to me?
- Option 1: Nothing may happen because the HOA rules aren’t enforced.
- Option 2: You might get a letter asking you to take down your decor.
- Option 3: You might get fined for breaking condo rules. Constructive ways to balance your need to deck the halls with condo rules that ban decorations:
Talk to your neighbours. If it’s your first holiday in your new home, check with your neighbours to find out what's really allowed. Condos that ban lights and signage most of the year may ignore illegal decorations during the holiday season. "But do understand these rules and regulations are enforceable by boards of corporations that are created...