The Condo Buying Process
STEP 1 - Determine and Secure Your Financing
The first step in any real estate transaction is knowing how much you can afford. Your bank will have mortgage specialists that can help with that. You may also want to seek advice from a mortgage broker. Sometimes they have access to more lenders and better rates. It's always good to shop around for the best deal. After all, it is your money!
STEP 2 - Hire a REALTOR®
A REALTOR® is the right person to call when you're in the market for a condo, and can show you any condo in the area you are searching. It is a good idea to seek assistance from a condo specialist, however this is not essential but recommended. Hiring a REALTOR® is no cost to you, the commission is paid for by the seller. Having a professional on your side can not only protect you, make things go smoother, but also will help make sure you're seeing all options available to you.
STEP 3 - Start Viewing Condos
Make a list of the potential areas you would like to live in. Check out what is in the neighbourhood, and make a list of your must haves. You should also get your REALTOR® to set you up on new listing alerts, so you get the newest listings sent directly to your inbox daily. This is essential especially if you're in a hot market.
STEP 4 - Found a Condo You Like? Make an Offer
Once you have found the perfect condo, you will want to sit down with your REALTOR® to go over the contract and he or she will facilitate the process for you to make a formal offer.
STEP 5 - Get Offer Accepted
Now it is time for your REALTOR® to go to work and negotiate the best deal possible for you. There are many items in the contract to negotiate on including but not limited to: price, closing date, what stays with the condo (appliances, furniture) etc.
STEP 6 - Choose a Lawyer
A lawyer of your choice will help review the contract to make sure everything is in order and perform a title search on the property. The lawyer will also aid in the review of the condo documents.
STEP 7 - Meet Conditions of Sale
When buying a condo there are typically four conditions of sale, as follows.
Financing. Your bank will have to supply a letter confirming financing is in place for the purchase.
Insurance. Your insurance company will have to supply a letter confirming that the condo is insurable.
Condo Inspection. You will want to seek the advice of a professional home inspector.
Condo Document Review. Lastly and most importantly, initiate a thorough review of the condo documents. There are a number of different condo documents that your REALTOR® and lawyer will review. Most notable are the financial statements, Reserve Fund study, condo board meeting minutes, Condo Declaration and Bylaws.
STEP 8 - Preparing to Move
Before you move to your new condo, there are a few things you will need to make sure are in order. You will need to contact the power company, cable company and internet company to make sure they are connected in a timely manner, preferably by the closing day. You will need to contact Canada Post to change your mailing address, and should also touch base with the building superintendent to arrange for the elevator to be put in service mode in order to move your belongings in on your closing day or move-in date of your choice after the closing.
STEP 9 - Pre-close Inspection
Once the previous owner has moved out your REALTOR® will arrange for a pre-closing walk through which is typically done the day before or day of the closing. During this time you will want to ensure the condo is in good order i.e. unit and appliances are cleaned, no holes in walls, no junk left behind etc.
STEP 10 - Closing Day
Now the fun begins. You have been just handed the keys to your new condo. Time to make it your home!
"It was very easy, through Andrew, to access all the services that we required to finalize our purchase. Whether it was legal counsel or getting information on such things as window coverings, Andrew made it an easy task."
Russell and Ann Macdonald