high rise condo

10 critical questions to ask when buying a condo


Thinking of buying a condo?

If the latest launch and sell-out sales event in Waterloo Region is any indication, condos are gaining a lot of popularity here. Condos are popular for many first time home buyers not only because they are more affordable, but because they are also a great lifestyle choice.

We all know that there are pros and cons to buying a condo versus a house so there is a whole set of other questions that we need to ask. Here are some:

What are the monthly condo fees and what do they cover?

Typically, your condo fees will cover, building insurance, reserve fund, inside and outside maintenance, parking, garbage removal, and landscaping. Some older condos will also include water and sometimes other utilities.

Is there a special assessment pending?

Special assessments are necessary when a condo has to undertake a major repair or improvement and does not have the funds built up in the reserve fund.

You will also want to find out if there is any history of special assessments.

What percentage of the building is owner-occupied?

You do not want to live in a mostly rented building. Owners are less transient than renters. Owners generally take more time to get to know one another and take better care of the building.

What is the pet policy?

Some buildings don’t like dogs. Some don’t like dogs above a certain weight. Some don’t like certain breeds of dog. Some don’t like exotic pets or farm animals.

Are their any liens or current litigation?

You don’t want to buy into a legal battle.

What are the biggest complaints?

If you know anyone in the building you might ask them how they feel about the place. Find out the good things and bad things about living there. Is it noisy? Are the elevators slow?

What is the property management company like?

Most condos are not self managed. Most have a professional property management company handle the day-to-day running of the building. Find out what they are like to deal with. Do they have a move in/move out policy? How do they deal with conflict resolution?

Storage, parking and bike lock-up

Find out if your unit comes with a personal storage unit. How many visitor parking spaces are there and what is their policy of use. (Are the visitor parking spaces used for piling up the winter snow? – I hate that!). And, is their a secure and monitored bike storage room?

Rules and regs

Are there any rules that you cannot abide? Are there any rules you would like to see?

Communal space

Is the communal space free to use anytime? Can you reserve communal space for private parties?


Living in a condo can be pretty awesome. But know what you are getting into before signing on the dotted line.

Further reading