While a home owner’s ability to document their own upkeep and expenditures will vary wildly, condo buildings are required by law to document nearly everything. All of these records provide a handy reference point when buying a condo. After all, you will not have to ask the previous owner as many questions if the answers are all printed out for you.
Here are some important documents to take a look at before making a bid on a condominium unit:
The Audited Financial Reports
The recorded budgets will be able to tell a detailed story. You will see any major projects or repairs undergone in the past few years. You will also find any unexpected expenditures that likely would have to be paid out-of-pocket with special levies. Carefully evaluate the association’s ability to anticipate costs and keep its budget balanced.
The Depreciation Reports
Known as a “reserve fund study” in most other provinces, depreciation reports are a mandatory process for condo buildings to undergo every three years. A depreciation report will outline:
- The age and condition for all components of the building’s common elements
- The future cost of repair or replacement for each of these components
- A proposed plan for financing these costs into the future
These three assessments will help you determine how prepared the condo association is to cover their costs for maintenance. You can also see how diligently they held to the depreciation consultant’s financing suggestions when you compare the depreciation report to the finance statements.
Ideally, the condo association will have ample money in its reserve fund to pay for building costs well into the future. Otherwise, you could see problems should any unprepared-for expenses arrive.
The Board Meeting’s Minutes
In these documents you will find out how the condo association conducts the majority of its business. They will show the regular topics of discussion, as well as how the association deals with complications. The minutes will hopefully reveal that the board’s proceedings are civil, prudent and efficient at resolving problems.
The Declaration of Policy
Spare yourself the shorthand version and take a look at the condo association’s official declaration of policy. Here you will find all of the rules and bylaws governing your ownership of any units. You will be able to find out the answer to questions like:
- Can I have pets?
- How many people are allowed to stay in my unit?
- Am I allowed to rent my unit out?
- What renovations am I allowed to make?
If you are unsure how some of the rules will play out, ask a board member. You might consider consulting a real estate attorney to look over the rules and decipher how they might affect your intended use of the property.
With these documents in hand, you will be more confident when deciding between the UBC condos for sale. For more advice on buying a condo or any property in the UBC area, take a look at our buyer’s page.