Buyers Were Asking: Understanding Condo Fees

Understanding Condo Fees

Condo living can be quite appealing; offering a turn-key lifestyle, free of maintenance, with a boost of security! While you’ll often be faced with a phone or key pad requiring a resident to buzz you in to gain access, some will have a concierge and we recently sold one with a live-in superintendent.

Your condo fees can cover a variety of things and may differ slightly from building to building, the most common being:

  • Insurance – not to be confused with insurance for your personal contents, this is building insurance, outside of your own unit.
  • Exterior Maintenance – leave the window washing and yard work behind, the condo corporation ensures this is taken care of, usually with a specific schedule.
  • Heat / Water – Heat and/or water can be provided and covered for the whole building. Your unit will still have it’s own heating controls and thermostat.
  • Parking – Individual units normally come with one parking space, if you’re lucky… two! Oftentimes, there is a need for an additional space. This is where the elderly resident who no longer drives can come in handy; providing an opportunity to rent their space for a small fee. Don’t forget visitor parking – how much? Where? Restrictions on use?
  • Lockers – Locker space becomes important because your unit can only hold so much. You’ll have your own locked space within a secure room in the building; ideal for storage of seasonal or oversized items.
While it’s important to know what your fees cover, residents need their lifestyle to fit into the building of choice. This leads to extensions of your living space such as Party Rooms, Fitness Rooms, Pools or Rooftop Patios… all of which can be a real appeal to residents. Keep in mind though, the more amenities offered, the higher the fee! Tailoring your building choices to those offering amenities of interest to you will ensure best bang for your buck.

If you’ve got a furry friend (or two) making the move, you’ll need to know the pet restrictions! We’ve found, as of late, buildings are making changes revolving around pets. You’ll often discover that while they are permitted, there is a restriction on weight or quantity. Most definitely there’ll be guidelines on use of common areas.

So, how do you set all of this straight in your search? A quick call to the condo corporation – that’s who manages the property – can get you the answers you need. Rest assured, however, your Agreement of Purchase and Sale will be conditional on Status Certificate. This document provides full insight on fees, special assessments (required in the case of a monetary shortfall) and the overall state of the finances! Your lawyer is given the opportunity to review the Status Certificate in full, prior to a firm purchase. Protection, built right into your offer!