Ask Charles

17

I did my homework and decided to buy a condominium. Now I’m here—and I want to make sure it remains a positive experience. What can I do?

You’re right to want to keep the condominium if you’re in a positive experience; not only is that better for you as an owner, but it will also help your resale value.

When you bought the condominium, you likely received a number of documents to review – these should have included the corporation’s bylaws, a budget, a reserve fund study, and a reserve fund plan.

You may have originally hired someone to review the documents for you, but as an owner, you’ll want to make sure you understand what these documents are and what they mean. The four most important condominium documents include:

  • Bylaws – The bylaws outline the rules by which the Board of Directors, and individual owners, have to abide. Make sure you know and understand the bylaws for your condominium, or you could face fines.
  • Budget – Each condominium corporation has an annual budget that outlines revenue (from condominium fees) and expenses (capital and operational) for the coming year, outlining how the Board of Directors is spending the corporation’s money.
  • Reserve Fund Study – This document analyses the state of the common property of a condominium corporation. It assists a condominium corporation in planning future capital expenses, ensuring the corporation will have enough money in its reserve fund.
  • Reserve Fund Plan – This document sets out how the Board of Directors will address the revenue and expenses required to meet the long-term capital needs of the condominium.

Another thing I want to emphasize is the importance of getting involved in your condominium corporation. A condominium isn’t just a place to live. When you buy a condominium, you’re buying into a corporation, which means joint ownership of the corporation’s assets.

Getting involved as a member of the Board of Directors provides you with the opportunity to affect how the corporation is run because you will be part of the decision-making process. You’ll also have better access to information about the financial health of the corporation.

You’ve got questions. He’s got answers.

Charles Stevenson is the Registrar at the Real Estate Council of Alberta. Charles knows that buying and selling a home can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. “Ask Charles” is a question-and-answer column for consumers about buying and selling property in Alberta.

If you have a new question for Charles, please email [email protected].