May 16, 2024 | Pickering

Why a Status Certificate Is Important When Buying a Pickering Condo

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With 75 exciting new buildings in the works, it’s safe to say that Pickering’s condo market is on fire! Basically, we’re the “condo capital” of the GTA, if not the entire country. 

Spacious modern units throughout the dynamic neighbourhoods mean there is something for nearly everyone, whether as a first-time buyer or an investor adding to your growing portfolio. 

The process of buying or selling a condo can be a little different than with freehold homes. Research is always essential for anyone who wants to make the most out of their transaction, but condos come with a few extra considerations. 

It’s not just the unit itself you need to evaluate, but the building management and the grounds. That’s where a status certificate comes in. These documents provide detailed information that will help you get optimum results, whether buying or selling.

What Is a Status Certificate?

A status certificate is a document from a condo corporation that outlines the financial and legal health of the building. To a layperson, it might appear to be a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo, much like the terms and conditions of a website where you mindlessly scroll to the bottom to click “I agree.”

However, the information contained in a status certificate might make you change your plans in a hurry. 

  • When buying, you might spot a deal breaker that causes you to keep looking.
  • When selling, you might uncover an issue that might be that deal breaker for a potential buyer – unless you find a way to address it.

When you know what’s at stake, you’ll feel a little more inspired to inspect this (often) lengthy document more closely. Going over the information with a real estate agent who understands the condo market can help you make sense of what you find and how it might affect you going forward.

In addition to examining the financial health of the condo corporation, we will also look for the following:

  • Any lawsuit filed against the corporation. 
  • Outstanding issues filed against the condo property that have not been addressed.
  • Outstanding work orders.
  • Any major changes upcoming within the building itself or the individual unit. 
  • What services the condo covers. 
  • Whether there have been any changes in services since the original declaration of the condo documents. 
  • What to expect with regards to any work being done over the course of the next couple of years. 

If you’re looking for reasons to fall in love with Pickering, there are too many to count. That said, the posts below are a great way to start:

How Requesting a Status Certificate Helps Condo Sellers

It also helps to understand status certificates from a seller’s perspective. So let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. As a seller, not reviewing the status certificate ahead of time is a little like hiding your head in the sand. If the buyer is at all savvy or working with a knowledgeable Realtor®, they are absolutely going to ask for the document.

At the very least, a review of the status certificate will help you understand what you are up against so you can create an effective selling strategy. 

  • If the document shows a clean bill of health, producing one upfront instills trust in your buyer and makes your unit even more appealing. Talk about a great negotiation tool!
  • If the report is a little less than stellar, you’re still in a better position than if you were completely surprised by any issues. Being open and transparent with your buyer can still go a long way in building trust.

Keep in mind that the law states that you must disclose any known issues about the condo to the buyer or their agents. Trying to hide a problem for a fast sale now could get you into trouble later. The information on a status certificate proves that you have been proactive and transparent with the buyer. 

Why All Buyers Need to Know About Status Certificates

As an informed buyer, you understand that condo fees are a fact of life. In most cases, they’re a small price to pay for the worry-free and convenient lifestyle you are about to enjoy.

However, the last thing you want is to get dinged by a hefty increase in your condo fees or a special assessment shortly after you move in because the building needs significant repairs. While a status certificate isn’t a crystal ball, it will give you an excellent idea of what to expect over the next few years. 

Most buyer agents instruct their clients to make reviewing the status certificate a condition of the sale, especially on resale units. In addition, most lenders require it before they approve your loan.

Even if that weren’t the case, we would never recommend making a purchase without this critical information.  If you leap before you look, you might end up in a more expensive and stressful situation than you ever anticipated.

Here is what the status certificate will cover in great detail: 

  • A description of the building’s by-laws and rules residents must follow.
  • The budget for the current fiscal year.
  • Details about the most recent reserve fund study and the state of the reserve fund.
  • Common expenses for the unit.
  • If the unit is in arrears of payments that the new owner might be held responsible for.
  • Whether any increase in common expenses is likely, and the reason.
  • Any special assessments charged to the unit in the current year (Note: a special assessment is a one-time fee condo owners must pay above and beyond regular condo fees in case of a shortfall in the reserve fund. This can happen for major repairs, poor budgeting, or litigation. Numerous special assessments in the status certificate could be a major red flag about buying into that particular building.)
  • Names and addresses for directors and officers of the condo corporation.
  • All current insurance policies.
  • Any legal judgments or ongoing litigation against the condo corporation, something a potential buyer needs to know since it could result in a special assessment.

Looking for even more guidance on buying your next home or condo? Here is some related reading you are sure to enjoy:

The Importance of Expert Guidance

Remember, having information at your disposal is only the first step. Understanding and interpreting it is even more essential. 

Before placing an offer on your dream condo, consulting with a qualified real estate professional and lawyer will help to ensure your experience is a positive one. 

At Team Rajpal, we have detailed information on many of the buildings in Pickering and close connections with some of the city’s top developers, including Chestnut Hill Developments. Together, we will find you the perfect unit in the right neighbourhood that you will be thrilled to call home!

Are you ready to begin the search for your brand new condo? We are an experienced team of Pickering Real Estate Agents who are committed to helping you achieve outstanding results. Reach out today to or call 647-875-8000 for more information.

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