Buying a Condo? Know All The Costs

Home ownership is exciting and having a piece of real property that is yours provides a great investment and sense of security. Of course, it costs money to own property, and it’s always best to be prepared. Here’s a look at the costs that come with owning a condo, both those well known and others you may not have heard of.

The Basics: The Mortgage and Maintenance Fees

The current average condominium in Toronto is $471,256. With a 15% down payment and a 3.3% mortgage the monthly payment will be $1,793 per month. Average Toronto rent is $1,200, so based on the mortgage alone you might be thinking it’s better to rent. Of course, money you pay to your landlord you’ll never see again, while money paid to a mortgage goes towards building home equity and is an investment in the future.

But what about the other costs? When you own property you’re responsible for repairs and maintaining the property around your home. A condo is no exception except it’s paid through a maintenance fee. Every apartment in a condo building is responsible for paying a certain percentage of these fees. A small condo in a 10-unit building might owe an 8% share. Perhaps this will work out to be 1,800 annually or $150/month. However, it’s important to remember that a maintenance fee is not fixed. If a building needs to make unexpected repairs, or costs go up, then the condo association can choose to raise those fees, which will affect all condo owners.

The Costs You Won’t Expect

It’s not hard for unforeseen charges in condo ownership that you’re not accounting for to add up to thousands of dollars. Here are some of the more obscure fees and charges to be on the lookout for:

  • condominium special assessments
  • assignment charges
  • interim occupancy rent
  • development levies
  • environmental fees

 

Make sure to ask the seller about each of these fee types and, if necessary, get an opinion from a condo law professional.

Should You Use a Condominium Corporation Set Up?

There are certain legal reasons for an individual to opt not to own real property together. Perhaps you are concerned about purchasing with a partner, or want to make your assets as easy to deal with as possible if and when you choose to transfer them to your children. In many of these circumstances you may find it best to set up a condominium corporation, which would mean that the condo is owned by a company, not by you as an individual.

This is an overview of the costs that come with owning a condo, but if you have further questions or want to find out how to best consolidate, it’s a great idea to turn to qualified condominium lawyers. At HLD we will be glad to offer a free consultation to let you know how we can best be of help in your specific situation.