(NC) If you're in the market for a new condo, you're definitely not alone this season. Spring is generally the most active home buying time of year. And as condos continue to rise in popularity, so do your options. While condo living has its advantages, the buying process is a little different than for a freehold home. Knowing what to expect when purchasing a condo will help prepare you and, hopefully, make the process a smooth one.
Read the dates in your agreement
Pay attention to what you're signing and be sure to read the statement of critical dates outlined in the Addendum attached to every Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). This will give you a sense of how long it may take for your condo to be ready for occupancy. It is always best to go over this contract with an experienced real estate lawyer.
Know when a delay may pay
Did you know that you're covered for delays and deposits? You are if your builder fails to close the sale or substantially complete construction of your condo as agreed in the APS. In fact, your entire condo deposit is protected in trust under the Condominium Act. As an extra protection mechanism, Tarion also provides a maximum of $20,000 in deposit insurance. There is also delayed closing compensation of up to $7,500 if your condo is delayed beyond certain dates in your agreement.
“Move in ready” may only apply to your unit
In some situations, your condo unit may be complete, but the condo building itself may not be. This is called interim occupancy, and many buyers find out the hard way that they're required to take possession of their completed unit before common element features are finished. Common elements include front reception, landscaping and the swimming pool. This means you could be living for many months in a construction zone—without the anticipated amenities.
Condos come with two separate warranties
Your new condo unit has a warranty, and so does the building's common elements. Your builder provides a seven-year warranty for the condo unit, which is backed by Tarion. However, the shared areas in your condo are covered under the common element warranty. Common elements include roofing, parking structures, exterior cladding, and shared amenities like the pool. Condo owners are responsible for submitting warranty claims for their units only, whereas the condo board handles the warranty for the common elements.
Now that you know what to expect when purchasing a condo, it's time to look at the thousands of units to choose from. If you have any questions during any stage of the new home buying or new home ownership process, more information and resources are available online at Tarion.com.