On the Québec condo sales market, the used condo offerings are relatively large, but before concluding a transaction that looks appealing due to its attractive price, here’s how to know if you’ll really save money compared to a new condo purchase. Buying a new condo, but especially a used condo, requires taking a few preliminary precautions.

Problems in the common areas

Before going to the notary and purchasing a new condo, there are many things to consider in order to spare you from future anxieties and complications that you wouldn’t have imagined and therefore anticipated. Because buying a condo means becoming a co-owner, and because it’s in the common areas in particular that the defects of properties that look clean hide, you may miss the building’s faults during your visits and especially when listening to the seller’s promises. Indeed, because the construction of this type of building has experienced great success in the past two decades, certain buildings may have been made quickly and the hidden defects are now difficult to repair. The problems and hidden defects can often be found in the common areas, which potential buyers sometimes don’t visit or which they observe with less caution, but which may, however, cost them dearly due to major repairs.

Common problems in used condos

  • Poorly fitting doors that are not smoke-tight
  • Poorly done renovations that require co-owners to spend money twice on the same problem
  • Old water heating system
  • Worn-out door and garage door opening mechanisms
  • Faded paint that has to be redone
  • Balconies that don’t meet safety standards
  • Roof, railings, or windows that need to be replaced

Even though used condos may have been constructed according to industry standards, after 10, 15, or 20 years of use, replacements, repairs, and major maintenance must be carried out at the co-owners’ expense. These obligations for the good of the condominium and the building may therefore greatly increase the budget that must be allocated to the purchase of a used condo and may sometimes be even more expensive than buying a new condo directly.

Before concluding the transaction

  • Ask the people who are already co-owners of the condo to get an idea of the condition of the building and the feelings of the people who live there.
  • Do some research on the builder and their reputation. You can check out their website as well as newspaper articles about them.
  • Demand recent reports from the boards of the condominium associations, if possible.
  • Request evidence of the amounts already issued in the contingency fund in anticipation of the absorption of the costs of future work.
  • Conduct a pre-purchase inspection that covers both the private and common areas – if possible, with a professional who will be able to detect the hidden defects.
  • Compare the purchase price of a used condo along with its normal repairs due to the aging of the building with that of a new condo that doesn’t require any repairs.

Buying a used condo in Québec can help you save money in some cases, but you have to keep up to date on the work that will need to be done in the near future, as well as the associated costs. You must also take the burden of these works into account for your daily routine and weigh the pros and cons in your own financial and personal situation.

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