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Condo Document Review Companies in Calgary

Updated 2022-04-11


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 is run by the board of directors who are elected from the unit-owners and are volunteers (usually). The board of directors then hires a property management firm to do much of the day-to-day work, but it is under the board's authority and under their supervision. A well-run condominium corporation charges their unit-owners appropriate monthly condo fees – not too high, and most importantly, not too low.


[A home inspection condition and financing condition are two other standard contract conditions that are regularly entered on an offer to purchase. You should use all three! An insurance condition is another condition that may be worthwhile to consider in some cases – like in the case of homes that were past grow-ops or are situated in designated flood zones. Your real estate professional or real estate lawyer should be consulted further on these.]


Since I am one of the few well-established real estate professionals in the Calgary area with a Condominium Specialist Designation and am experienced in ownership of condominium property, I highly recommend a professional, third-party review of the documents to all of my clients.



[Buyer Tip: If you are considering buying a condominium property - apartment/townhouse/bareland condo  then seek out a CERTIFIED CONDOMINIUM SPECIALIST to help you. They can save you money and shave time off of your home search since they know condos and the complex work required to find an acceptable one and to complete a sale. Of the 6,200+ REALTORS® operating in the entire Calgary region, it's estimated that less than about 500 current agents have bothered to take the series of courses and have the experience to hold this desigation.]



Condominium review companies and individuals are not regulated in Alberta and they come from an assortment of backgrounds from past lawyers, property managers, real estate agents or condominium owners that have developed an expertise. There are now even a few real estate lawyers that are now doing reviews as part of their practice, however most law firms subcontract them out (+$) since this isn't an area that most have strength in.


In the selection of your document reviewer, you should ensure that it is a third-party opinion. i.e. They are not your real estate agent, mortgage broker or lawyer who have an interest in the completion of the sale; nor should they have completed recent work for the condominium corporation like a Reserve Fund Study, an update to bylaws, or on-going property or condo management. You really want an unbiased opinion. It probably doesn't need stating, but I will anyway: Your real estate agent should NOT be hiring the reviewer on your behalf (for that unbiased opinion: Recommend: Yes; Hire: No). Every agent should recommend one, or two.


Fees being charged, currently, for these reviews run from $395 to $550 (plus GST) and usually include a written report (PDF) and may include either an online review or a personal meeting and discussion at a location of your choice. In all cases, you should get more than just a written report that you then need to interpret. Once the reviewer has all the documents required, they can usually have the report completed within 3 to 7 days. The review cannot make a "buy" or "not buy" decision for you, but a good report will help in your decision. If you have questions about the report, call and get your concerns answered before releasing your condominum review condition. Like a good home inspection, they WILL find issues – it comes down to how many, and how serious are those issues.


Here is a list of several of the condominium document reviewers that work in the Calgary area:


Condo Max, Inc.

(403) 278-7310

Joanna Coates

www.CondoMaxInc.com

jj@condomax.info


Condo Savvy

(403)999-1686

Rebecca Hewitt

https://iamcondosavvy.ca

CondoSavvy@shaw.ca


Expert Condo Review Ltd.

(403) 383-2920

Roy Rasmusen

RRasmusen@shaw.ca (note the single "s" in the email address)


Condo Document Due Diligence

(403) 251-0201

Craig Brygidyr

www.CondoDocDueDiligence.weebly.com

AdHocLan@shaw.ca


Condo Docs Review

(403) 998-7888

James Lam

www.CondoDocsReview.com

CondoDocsReview@gmail.com


Calgary Condo Docs

(403) 542-2255

www.CalgaryCondoDocs.com

condodocs@shaw.ca


Condominium Document Inspection Centre

(403) 228-6770

www.cdicinspections.com

info@cdicinspections.com


Condo Check

(403) 509-2462

www.condo-check.com

intake@condo-check.com


Condo Review Ltd.

(403) 258-3627

www.CondoReview.net

info@condoreview.ca


Condo Diagnostics Ltd.

(403) 269-4321

www.CondoDiagnostics.com

email - visit website


Condo Services Alberta Inc.

(403) 483-1502

www.CondoServicesAlberta.com

info@condoservicesalberta.com


Although we strongly believe that these individuals and businesses will meet or exceed your expectations, please investigate each provider prior to using their services to help ensure they will fully meet your needs.

Comments:
Charle Griffith on Mar 23, 2019 5:11 PM posted:
special assessment concerns to discuss with you.
John Roggeveen on Jun 28, 2021 6:59 PM posted:
Most condominium reviews are useless because you can't rely on them. Every condominium review company I have ever contacted limits their liability to the cost of their review, which is generally around $500, give or take. That's not much use if you buy a bum condo.
Tom Bushey on Jun 28, 2021 7:26 PM posted:
John, Thank you so much for your comment. I think you are probably correct that many document reviewers limit their liability in their contracts (similar to licensed home inspectors) to the value of their report. The most recent document review that I saw (last week) did not have a liability notice in it. I believe the purpose of a condominium document review is really to point out issues that may be of interest or concern to the potential buyer – similar to what happens with a home inspection. Because many people don't reference financial documents, corporate minutes or engineer's reports very frequently, any bit of help in guidance is almost always useful. They are buying into a corporation and really should be aware of how it is being run by the volunteer board of directors. Recently, insurance certificates have become important to review as many condo corporations have increased their deductibles and the buyer needs to know this. Many engineers and accountants can review the documents themselves, but they still require the Condominium Document Review Condition to get the documents. However, most people don't have the time nor expertise to do their own review.
John on May 1, 2022 4:51 PM posted:
Tom, I am the President of a condominium complex. The consultant on the review of a condominium purchase ought to include comments from the Board of the condominium. Mostly owners list their unit and then once the sale is complete we know nothing of the sale, or of the purchaser. I realize that this is a privacy issue, which is not my point. I have spoken with realtors that I encounter in the building and they are pleased to discuss the property, a consultant would provide a useful addition if the Board was asked to comment on the property on behalf of the client.
Tom Bushey on May 1, 2022 5:53 PM posted:
John, Thank you for your comment! Great idea on the consultant speaking with a member of the board of directors. However, it is for that reason that we require reviewing 1 year's worth of board meetings. I have personally spoken with board members in the past and occasionally found the comments unreliable, and really, do they have authorization to speak on behalf of the board? As far as knowing of the sale, you should speak with the condo management firm that you employ since for every sale the seller's lawyer requests an estoppel certificate prior to completing the sale – so the management company is aware of the sale coming up Many of the estoppel certificate request forms require the buyer's name. At the very least, the buyer's lawyer verifies the zero balance on the estoppel certificate is valid on the morning of closing day. Getting the name and contact info of the buyer from the document review consultant would be very pre-mature in the process. Not only are not all documents being professionally reviewed, but an equal number of sales do not complete. I provide all of my buyer clients with contact information of the property management firm on possession day to set up their fees and to be entering into the intercom system. Do they communicate the information with the board? I hope so, as they are the body that is employing their services. One of the issues real estate agents have with condos is the cost of accessing the required documents. Most agents are now purchasing these documents on behalf of their clients when they list the condo for sale and get a quick update when their is a conditional sale. While the condo act revision in 2020 limited how much they should cost, many condo management companies are charging two or three times this amount in order to get them in a timely bases (i.e. within 24 hours) claiming the act allows them to charge this as the timeline is in the act is 10 days. Since most are actually stored online and don't require any manual preparation. This is extortion for documents owned by the condo corporation (not the condo management firm) and rarely do the sale of the documents get credited to the condo corporation (it ends up and an additional income stream for condo management companies). When a new form is available, ideally it is immediately uploaded onto their document server to be accessed by owners, agents and their board. A few condo boards and condo management companies are now providing documents at no additional charge to owners and their agents with the exception of the ones requiring manual preparation: the disclosure letter and occasionally the most recent financial statements. I understand why condo corps don't want the forms to set up fees provided ahead of time, but realtors and the new owners shouldn't have to repeated request to be provided with a copy the documents. Nor should they have to pay for it.

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