Imagine that you have just purchased your dream condominium. Your Lawyer has been instructed to complete the necessary paperwork to ensure that you will be inscribed as the official owner of the newly acquired property. The first step in this process is for an Estoppel Certificate to be requested. This bizarre document contains many important details. In this post we will examine Estoppel Certificate Mysteries.
Perhaps your attorney has conducted a thorough title search to search for liens on title and the title appeared to be clear. Only once you have moved into your new residence do you discover that the prior owner did not pay the required maintenance fees to the property management office. How could this have happened? Details such as maintenance fees, paid or unpaid and what they cover or included in the way of services to be provided are contained therein. The Estoppel Certificate package will detail the amount of condo fees (common expense and reserve fund) for which the unit owner is responsible. It will also outline timely options for payment of maintenance / condo fees: annual or monthly payments. As well as methods of payment: post dated cheques, or automatic bank account withdrawal. Within the Estoppel Certificate package one should find the following items: Bylaws of the condominium corporation, building policies, use of facilities rules, hours or operation of management office, allowable hours for moving in / out and for booking of elevators and equipment. Also, complete contact details for management and security, as well as the building Superintendent may be contained within the package.
According to an article on Wikipedia: “An estoppel certificate provides confirmation by the tenant of the terms of the rental agreement, such as the amount of rent, the amount of security deposit and the expiration of the agreement. Further, the estoppel certificate may give the opportunity to the tenant to explain if she may have any claims against the landlord, which may affect a buyer’s or lender’s decision to complete the proposed transaction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoppel_certificate
If you did not receive an Estoppel Certificate, then you would not have even known what the maintenance fees were. This vital document contains details about building policies for moving in and out, times that the garbage rooms are in operation and information about amenities and rules about being a resident in the condominium building.
To ensure that you are fully informed about all parts of the process for effective and legitimate transfer of the deed to your property you need to be sure that you have retained the services of a competent Real Estate Lawyer who is known to have an impeccable reputation.[tc-logo-slider logo_cat=”Clients”]
Before you make the largest purchase of your life, by buying a condominium you need to be sure that you have all of the relevant details. A condominium is not ever going to become someone’s total or autonomous property.
By the very definition of a condominium you can easy know that a condominium is a collection of units in a building that have been apportioned according to size and level or floor. The higher floors seemingly being known as the most valuable. Who would not want to live in the Penthouse? The view is phenomenal. Unless you need to walk to your unit, the top floor is the most illustrious place to live in a condominium building.
As a prospective purchaser you need to know that, even if you may seem to own your unit, you do not have sole authority over it. If you want to renovate your condominium you will need permission of the building management. Perhaps you want to install a new floor or have work done on your in-suite plumbing. Before you hire a contractor you will need to obtain an estimate and a work plan for the renovations. You will need to complete a form(s) provided by the building management and provide details, such as insulation or padding for new flooring; specifically stating the thickness and density of the padding. Likewise, a similar process is mandatory for plumbing and other renovations that could potentially encroach on the units of other unit owners in the building. While your floor and your plumbing exist within your unit, the correct padding for flooring will ensure that no one is disturbed by your walking in your own unit. Your plumbing must be properly installed to prevent leakage to other units.
You will want to assess the attitude of the management staff for your building before you buy a unit in a set building. You should request a meeting with the Manager of the building, in advance of buying your new or resale condominium. Knowing all of the forms to be completed for renovations, booking the party room, billiards room, media room and / or other amenities is of utmost importance. You do not want to live in a building that is housed in massive bureaucracy.
You should request an Estoppel Certificate far in advance of buying a condominium. This document will include by-laws or internal policies of the condominium corporation and list particulars, such as the deposits required to rent facilities like the elevator or party room and also state the maintenance fees for your unit. You can call the local tax department to find out the monthly and yearly property taxes for your unit.
You should request a copy of the Management Agreement. This document will explain the obligations and / or duties of the building management. Cleaning and maintenance of the building; including facilities will be detailed herein. You may need to specifically inquire as to what repairs, if any are provided by the building management. Generally no repairs within a condominium unit will be completed by the building Superintendent. Other than refinishing of the front door of your suite the Superintendent will not repair any part of your condominium. Replacement of smoke detectors and HVAC filters is usually standard maintenance covered by the Management. Some buildings have a combined agreement for cable television, which is incorporated into the maintenance fee. Not all buildings offer this perk.
In the rare case hydro (water), HVAC and insurance for your unit may all be covered in the maintenance fee. To be sure, you should probably bring a Real Estate Lawyer with you, along with your Real Estate agent before you officially present your offer to purchase. This will enrich your chances of knowing all you can and should know before you sign on the dotted line to buy a condominium.
One other item of consideration is which property management company will be managing a condominium. Usually builders have a broad agreement with a property management company to be installed for all building they construct. Once in place, it is nearly impossible to vote them out. This because positions on the Board of Director’s are for a most 2 (two) years, while a Management Agreement is often for 3 or 5 years. This means that the management company will likely outlast many officers of the condominium corporation.
The company hire to clean and maintain facilities at the condominium is hired under contract by the management company on behalf of the Board of Directors. The same is the case for the waste removal and exterior building maintenance and also the situation for the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. The security company or concierge services is hired under a similar arrangement. It is highly recommended that you thoroughly research any and all of the companies that will directly or indirectly providing services to the condominium building where you plan to buy a condominium. Once you a resident you will are stuck with whoever is working there and the policies, which govern their work.
On the following links you will find useful information about legislation that governs condominiums, in Ontario, Canada.
You need to ask yourself if you really want to live in a condominium. There are pluses or positives and minuses or negatives with every option. If you choose reside alongside many other people in an apartment like setting, then are some issues of concern that you should consider beforehand.
Every condominium building has a management company that administers the day to day activities of the building, including enforcing or not caring about policies.
Policies can include enforcing boundaries of smoking areas in compliance with local and Provincial by-laws.
Other policies can include facility maintenance, in compliance with municipal and Provincial standards.
Every condominium corporation will also have a Board of Directors that votes on issues related to the building. While the so called Board is meant to govern the policies of the building, as with many forms of government the administration of policies is a bureaucratic responsibility. Bureaucracy is managed by management, likewise at a condominium corporation.
Before you choose to purchase a condominium be sure you know how it is managed. Request a copy of an Estoppel Certificate for the unit your plan on purchasing, far in advance of submitting an offer. As management for a meeting, as a prospective purchaser. If granted a meeting, be sure to bring a set of questions you want to ask. Also, bring a notepad for noting answers to your inquiries.
Walk around the area surrounding the condominium building and find out for yourself how close amenities are to the property. You may purchase a nice looking condominium building, but you need to be sure that you will be able to live well while you reside there.
You will also want to find out what traffic patterns are like near the condominium building. Inquire about air quality outside and inside the building, pollution levels and smog in the area near the building. Depending on the direction your unit face you may receive a lot of wind and / or sunshine. Conversely, if you unit is across from a shopping centre, then you could have a lot of fumes from vehicles and pollution, as well. If your unit is above the so-called designated smoking are you may receive a lot a second hand smoke.
Be sure to ask as many questions about the overall living conditions in the building. Find out from prospective neighbours, on your future floor what their experiences are in living at the building and ask them if they recommend that you move in or buy elsewhere.
Here are some useful references to review before buying a condominium:
- Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation Condominium Facts
If you are in the process of purchasing a new home, then you need to ask yourself some important questions. Firstly, Why Pay Market Price for A Home? Do I have the money to buy what I want? Will I be purchasing the house or condominium that I need?
If you are single, then your situation is surely different from married people who will be competing for the same property. As a single person you may not have the same credit history or credible standing with bank or loan company. A lender may view you, a single entity, as being unstable.
Whether or not their is any credibility to the lender’s view of you, the way market yourself matters. If you present yourself as being grounded and interested in putting down roots, then the lender may be willing to take a chance on lending you money. The leverage a married couple may have over a single person is that the lender envisions the married people as one unit that is focused on one goal: building a home in their house or condo.
Real Estate Agents, similar to lenders, also assess prospective purchasers. They will size you up based on their set criteria. Perhaps they will consider you a more serious investor if they know you have already been pre-approved for a line of credit for a substantial amount. If you have a strong career, in which you are advancing in terms of job position and salary, then both a Real Estate Agent and a lender will consider you to be someone to bank on.
Based on how you present yourself and your financial position to lender’s and Real Estate Agent’s, you will likewise receive measurable service. If an Agent knows you will certainly qualify for a mortgage and that you have a readily available down payment, then they will be more inspired to show you their special book of property listings. Agent’s may not show the same properties to all clients and / potential clients. This is because they do not want to sully the relationship they have will a seller and also do not want to build a relationship of bringing would-be buyers to the table who are just not serious, or who are unable to close the deal.
If an Agent brings buyers to sellers and deals do not close, then eventually the Agent will become known as an unreliable Agent. To build and establish a portfolio of successful transactions, Agents will reserve their best buy’s for buyers that can close the deal. The benefit to for real buyers who have cash on hand, is that they will be able to get bargains on properties. If there is no condition based on financing and a down payment, without limit, can be provided on a moments notice, then a seller will likely be willing to substantially bend on the price.
But there is such much more. Power of Sale properties, urgent sales due to divorce, bankruptcy or general financial problems can be secured by buyers who can show the money quickly. These real deal properties need to be liquidated to satisfy immediate debts. Buyers who have liquid capital will be able to cash in big time on these super- save homes.
To pay less than market price for a house or condominium you need to be known as a buyer who can close a deal without any doubt or fuss. Seem to be an Agent’s dream and you will be able to make your own dreams come true.[tc-logo-slider logo_cat=”Clients”]
So you want to buy a beautiful new home and you need to know it is free and clear of debts and issues. As a qualified prospective purchaser you will want to know with certainty that there are no title insurance mysteries. Whether you plan to purchase a condominium or a house, you will need to be sure there are no debts on the title to the desired property. Liens, certificates of pending litigation and judgments against a property can become a financial problem for the new owner.
To avoid becoming responsible for debts of the current or former owner you should conduct a full title search to be sure the property is free and clear of debts; current or pending. A Writ Search can be conducted on the name or reference number of the debt as registered with the municipality. A Province-wide search can also be completed on the owner – using their full name or company name. If the property is owned by a company then you may want to utilize the company name search. A property search can also be performed on the name, address or PIN # (Property Identification Number).
You should be sure that your title search is professionally completed and that the searcher of title is fully licensed and insured. When you choose to have a title searched is up to you. Perhaps you will want to know once you have a tour of a potential property for purchase, whether or not the title to the home is free and clear. You could also have a title searched conducted upon closing. This search may be the responsibility of your lawyer.
Teraview / Teranet Inc. offers a variety of options for title searches. For a listing list of registered conveyancers visit and review Ontario Association of Professional Searchers of Records.[tc-logo-slider logo_cat=”Clients”]
Close now pay later. Why not close a home transaction today and pay later; up to six months later?”Legal fees, title insurance premiums, land transfer tax, applicable registration costs and program fees” can all be deferred for a small administration fee. Please review the Smart Close Program offered by RE/MAX Realty Brokerage’s for more details. According to a the LawPro website: “Real estate lawyers may now offer their clients access to deferred closing costs and extended home warranty programs, thus reflecting a movement towards one-stop shopping for the consumer.”
But what if the condominium corporation takes the same attitude? It could decide it will wait to make major improvements, such as; building a recreation centre or extra guest suites and defer these costs to one year or more after the building has been built. This could result in an unforeseen increase in maintenance fees that a new condominium owner will need to shepherd, in addition to undetermined property taxes for their suites. Depending on the local infrastructure and the size of a new condominium, property taxes will vary and not be immediately set or determined by the municipality. For more information on these and other must know details on buying a new condo, new home-buyers in Ontario should visit the Province of Ontario’s informative Consumer Protection Website for Newly-Built Condos.
According to a popular Real Property website YourMortgageOptions.ca: “You should budget for insurance on your new home. Insurance costs can include default mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, mortgage life insurance and title insurance.” Money should be set aside for incidental expenses such as legal fees and disbursements, land transfer tax, mortgage insurance, title insurance, property tax and prepaid utility adjustments, property appraisal, home inspection, interest adjustments for mortgage payments.
To be sure that you will be able to complete your purchase with the least amount of surprises and be prepared for any issues that may arise you will need to rely on a team of professionals. Almost like a draft for a sports team, you will need to carefully evaluate the unique skills of Real Property experts, and select the most qualified specialists to ensure your deal closes with you as the winner!
Team of experts to assemble:
- Real Estate Agent
- Home Inspector
- Financial Planner (insurance options for mortgage, life insurance, investments, retirement plans)
- Mortgage Agent / Broker (financing matters for mortgage and pre-purchase loans, including closing costs)
- Title Searcher
- Personal Assistant
- Renovation Specialist / Contractor
- Furniture company
- Landscaping and snow removal company
Should you employ the services of Real Estate Agent or not to sell your home? Or should try to sell it yourself and save on the potential commission you would otherwise have to pay? To correctly decide on the best choice to sell your home quickly at the best price you need to consider the following factors:
- Total payable commission as a percentage of the sale you will need to pay
- Actual dollar amount of commission you will have to pay the agent & broker handling your sale
- Benefits of a marketing campaign managed by a qualified real property professional
- Amount you could save by listing and promoting your property yourself
- Time you will need to devote to advertising your property by yourself and time to show it
- Resources you have available relative to a trained agent who has office support staff
- Documentation to close the deal (Offer / Counter Offer / Agreement of Purchase and Sale)
- Do you have a website or access to an online resource where you can list your home?
Selling a home is a great amount of work and requires that you be accessible nearly 24 / 7. A prospective purchaser could contact you at anytime to submit an offer or to request a showing. Having the valuable experience of a real property agent could prove useful, especially because they do have office hours and they have many resources available; many of which a homeowner may not have access or use of regularly.
Even if you do choose to sell your home on your own you will still need to be sure to hire a competent lawyer to manage your side of the sales transaction. You will also want to seem professional and be able to provide a buyer with a detailed feature sheet that highlights the valuable components of your home and lists amenities and details of local utilities.
- You might even consider having your own business cards printed which will display a photo of the best room in your home or a view of it from outside in the best perspective; along with top saleable features and your contact information.
- You may want to consider having a separate e-mail address specifically for your home for sale.
- A distinct phone number (preferably a cell phone or internet phone line) would be a good choice, since you don’t want to be pestered all day and night by unqualified buyers. You can turn off this phone and turn it on when you want to be available. You can also set up voicemail with options for a vast amount of messages to be left.