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.
Expert Condo Review Ltd.
RRasmusen@shaw.ca (note the single "s" in the email address)
Condo Document Due Diligence
Condo Docs Review
Calgary Condo Docs
Condominium Document Inspection Centre
Condo Review Ltd.
Condo Diagnostics Ltd.
email - visit website
Condo Services Alberta Inc.
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.