08.02.2019 | Buying A Home

Maintenance Fees: What Every Condo Buyer Should Know

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There are many benefits associated with owning a condo, and one of the biggest is the time you’ll save when it comes to maintenance. Condo fees pay for a range of important services, from snow removal to building repairs. That said, this monthly cost isn’t always well understood. What (exactly) do these fees cover, and how are they calculated? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not alone.

Here’s what every Toronto condo hunter should know about monthly maintenance fees…

What they cover

If you purchase a unit, a significant portion of your monthly fees will go toward upkeep for common elements. Shared spaces (such as your lobby and hallways) will be included, as will any on-site amenities (like your pool or fitness room). Some utilities may be covered, though it varies from one building to the next. Water, heat, and central air may or may not be included, but hydro rarely is. Some builders also leave it to condo owners to rent a hot water tank or heat pump, which can add to your overall monthly costs.

Another large portion of your maintenance fees will go toward your building’s reserve fund. Essentially, this sum is set aside by your condo corporation to cover major, unexpected issues (like a roof or furnace repair). Knowing how much is in a reserve fund can help you assess the overall financial health of a building, and you’ll find this information in your status certificate.

Why consider a condo in Toronto? Think of all of the incredible experiences that await you in this world class city. Here are just a few ideas you should know about:

How they’re calculated

Maintenance fees are impacted by several factors, including a building’s age, its amenities, and the number of units it contains. You might pay a higher sum if you live in an older development, since aging systems and materials tend to fall more easily into disrepair. High-quality amenities, such as a state-of-the-art fitness centre or pool, may also come at a premium. Lastly, because maintenance fees are split between owners, buildings with fewer units may also charge slightly more each month.

Condo fees in Toronto are usually calculated on a cost-per-square-foot basis. The amount you’re charged will represent the value of your unit as a percentage of the development as a whole. For this reason, the monthly sum you pay may be higher if your unit is more spacious or in-demand than others in your building (due to a great view, for example).

Where to find them

Your condo fees—and how they’re calculated—will depend on various factors. You can find an in-depth breakdown in your status certificate. This document contains crucial information related to your building’s finances, its governance, and its rules and bylaws (among other things). If you’re buying a pre-construction unit, you should find fee information in your disclosure statement.

To figure out exactly where your money is going, it’s important to read your status certificate or disclosure statement carefully. You should also have your legal counsel review it before you sign an agreement of purchase and sale. Unfortunately, a lack of transparency surrounding maintenance fees can deter buyers from finding the perfect unit. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. By asking the right questions—and ensuring you have a knowledgeable real estate agent and lawyer in our corner—you can make a truly informed condo purchase.

Ready to buy your dream condo in Toronto? Get in touch—we know the market, and we’d love to discuss what you’re looking for!

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