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Condominium real estate transactions may require extra scrutiny

Given the dearth of available single-family homes in Alberta, many people are setting their sights a little higher. Condominium buildings are a popular choice, especially for those looking to be closer to the city, or who do not wish to worry about maintaining a home. However, all real estate transactions were not created equal, and anyone looking to by a condo should probably do a little homework, first.

One expert on the condo market has shared a few tips on what to be mindful of when shopping for a condo. He warns about the possibility of unexpected special assessments that suddenly require the owner to pay a sum of money outside the normal fees. Typically, these extra payouts are to cover unanticipated repairs to the building. While it may not be possible to avoid them completely, there are ways to reduce the risk.

The simplest tactic is to take a walk around the building and have a look. Assess the overall look of the building and whether it seems well maintained. Any evidence of disrepair could be an indicator that funds are short and a fee is imminent. Asking questions of the tenants is also a great way to get a feel for the building and find out if management is on top of the maintenance situation.

Condominiums come with rules and regulations for tenants to follow that a typical homeowner does not have to deal with. Carefully reviewing the condominium documents will alert the prospective buyer to any fees or exclusions he or she may have missed. If possible, read the reserve fund study to understand what repairs may be coming up and if the corporation has the funds to cover them.

Although all real estate transactions require careful review, condominium purchases should be undertaken with extra attention to detail. During such transactions, it may be beneficial to have a practiced eye review all contracts and documents before signing. A skilled Alberta real estate lawyer can help ensure a safe and smooth transaction.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Faulkner Real Estate Report: Knowledge is power for condo buyers", Dennis Faulkner, Feb. 17, 2017

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