Five things every first-time condo buyer should know.

Deidre Plotnick August 18, 2020
Woman and man in new home signing documents.
There are so many reasons to buy into the condo lifestyle. There’s the joy of never having to shovel snow, never having to rake leaves and, if you’re really lucky, having the convenience of a concierge to help keep your day-to-day running smoothly. 

It’s easy to see why condo ownership attracts so many first-time buyers. But before you jump into buying that first condo, do you know everything you should about condo ownership? Here are five things you might not know.

1. You are not covered by the condo corporation’s property insurance. The condo corporation’s insurance is designed to protect the building’s common spaces and not your personal living space, so it’s essential to have your own condo insurance. This insurance can protect you for any loss or damages to your suite (including any upgrades you have made) or your personal belongings as a result of theft, smoke, water or fire. It also protects you legally, should anyone be injured in your suite or any damages caused by you to someone else’s suite.

2. Your large appliances are your responsibility. While your building will replace communal equipment that breaks down, your personal electronics and appliances are your responsibility. And computers and appliances do break down – often at the most inconvenient times. Since most standard insurance doesn’t cover home equipment breakdowns, CAA’s Home Equipment Breakdown Coverage 1 is a smart way to protect yourself against unexpected mechanical or electrical breakdowns. If repairs exceed replacement costs, you’ll receive a similar unit with an Energy Star rating. You’ll also be covered for hotel and living expenses if you’re displaced while your equipment is being repaired or replaced.

3. You are now a member of a condo corporation. This position comes with a series of rights and responsibilities. You can vote at general meetings on condominium-related matters and elect the board of directors, but you are also responsible for helping the condominium run smoothly by attending meetings and weighing in on decisions.  

4. Your condo fees don’t cover everything. You likely already know you’ll be facing monthly fees to help cover common condo expenditures such as lawn maintenance, snow plowing, painting and general repairs. But condo fees usually only cover things outside the walls of your suite. For example, if you have a burst bathroom pipe or your fridge goes on the fritz, that cost is on you.

5. You may face assessment fees. Monthly condo fees cover ongoing maintenance, with part going into a reserve fund towards emergency repairs. When unexpected expenses arise or a major property improvement is deemed necessary, if there’s not enough money in the reserve fund, you will be charged a special assessment fee. These mandatory fees vary by suite size and if you don’t pay them, you risk having a lien put on your property.

Buying your first condo is exciting, but you’ll want to be sure you know all the facts before you take on ownership. This will be one of the biggest purchases you will make, so be sure to protect it with proper condo insurance. Get a quick, no-obligation quote from CAA online or call: 1-877-222-1717.


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