Get your condo ready for market
A condominium is a type of ownership, not a structure
Brought to you by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario
If you’re planning to sell your condo, consider spending some time, and yes, money, preparing for the process. Making small improvements and having all the information and paperwork ready-and-waiting makes it easier for potential buyers, and that can pay you back in significant offers.
Chartered Accountant Joe J. Marchello is Director of Finance for CountryWide Homes, a builder and developer of residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area, and its affiliate Condor Properties, which develops and manages industrial, commercial and office properties. Here, he shares six tips to help ensure you get the most value from the sale of your condo.
It’s not just about the building – A condominium is a type of ownership, not a structure. Condo owners share a lot, and first-time buyers don’t always understand the full implications of the arrangement. In buildings over five-years old, for instance, utilities are not usually metered separately. So, all owners share in the costs, regardless of individual use.
Pick up a copy of the by-laws and status certificate – Would-be buyers should know the specific rules governing life and behaviour in your particular condo complex, and any details concerning the status of the property. Smart sellers can request both the by-laws and the status certificate and have them ready to share with prospective buyers or agents to prevent hold-ups and the offer being finalized.
Work with what you can – The colours of the lobby, the landscaping and the carpet in the party room are things you can’t control. But new, energy-saving appliances, updated bathrooms and fresh paint in the kitchen will help improve your condo’s appeal and value.
Know the mix – Be prepared for buyers’ questions, like who’s on the corporation’s board of directors and how many units in the complex are rented out. Owners are legally bound to advise the property manager if they’re renting out their unit, so this information should be readily available.
Condos attract a different type of buyer – Smart sellers play up the aspects most likely to appeal to those who already want the lifestyle. Focus on the freedom from maintenance and lawn work, the amenities and the fact that the corporation insures the major structural aspects of the building. Stress the access to public transportation, any retailers on site or close by, and the fact that you can lock the door and leave on vacation with no worries about tending the lawn or garden.
Substantiate the fees – Condos are non-profit enterprises, but many buyers will still need help understanding and justifying the monthly maintenance fees. Have the corporation’s annual budget available, as well as up-to-date information about the reserve fund. Let buyers know what the history has been with respect to special, one-time assessments, and how likely these are to take place in the future.