It’s always an amazing feeling when you’re finally finished searching for condos for sale in Hamilton, Ontario. The hours looking and the miles travelled have finally come to an end; because you know you can afford the monthly payments and maintenance is paid for, that’s all you have to worry about. Not so fast! Purchasing a condo means you also purchase a stake in maintaining the building and property. This is financed via condo fees – and these mandatory payments are just as important as paying your mortgage on time.

condos for sale in Hamilton Ontario

How are they calculated?

From condos for sale in Hamilton, Ontario to the greater GTA, condo fees are calculated in the same manner: by calculating every homeowner’s unit’s assessed value. The value of your unit will be written in your building’s declaration of co-ownership as either a percentage or as a fraction. Either way, know that various factors play a part in determining the actual value – your home’s square footage, the location/demand of the unit (e.g. a unit overlooking Toronto has more value than a home on the third floor), the size of the building, amenities, etc. Thus, the bigger the building and home, the more you can expect to pay on condo fees.

What will my condo fees cover?

This can differ from condo-to-condo – from condos for sale in Hamilton, Ontario and throughout the GTA. Speaking in general terms, expect your building’s condo fees to cover things such as insurance for the building, utilities, general maintenance on units, and as stated earlier amenities that homeowners share throughout the property. In addition, condo fees also cover paying staff – from snow removal to lawn care and everything in-between. Because what condo fees cover can vary, speak with your building’s administration to learn exactly what you can expect to pay for.

condos for sale in Hamilton Ontario

Get a reserve fund strategy by getting a building certificate

Before settling on condos for sale in Hamilton, Ontario, it’s important to know exactly how your condo fees are used. Don’t stop there when you learn about what your condo fees will pay for – find out what percentage of your condo fees will also go to your building’s reserve fund. A reserve fund is essentially a backup fund: in the event that your building needs a major repair (e.g. roof repair, replacing plumbing systems, etc.) In most cases, the reserve fund will satisfy the cost of the major repair but this isn’t always the case. In the event that this happens, homeowners are required to pay a Special Assessment: a proportionate amount to pay for the difference.

This means you need to figure out a strategy to predict when reserve funds are on the horizon and if there is a risk of a Special Assessment by getting a copy of a building’s status certificate. This document will cost you $100, but it will tell you the most important details about the condo such as the budget, legal woes against the building, status of the reserve fund and current cost of maintenance fees (along with information if there is a planned increase on maintenance fees) and more. It’s a good idea to get one before buying a condo regardless if you’re concerned about maintenance fees, because it will tell you if the condo is a good buy or if you should look elsewhere.

Saving the proper amount monthly to avoid unexpected, hefty condo fees

As you search for condos for sale in Hamilton, Ontario, note that a good condo company will typically have monthly fees that are a little higher than normal to assist homeowners with saving the proper amount to satisfy oncoming condo fees. Even so, it’s a good idea to save slightly more every month just to be sure that when the day comes that your condo building needs roof repairs, new flooring, renovations to your building’s HVAC units, or another expensive renovation, you will be prepared. If you live in your home long enough, the day will come when you need to pay a Special Assessment. To this end, it’s a good idea to order a status certificate annually so you can anticipate higher condo fees and a Special Assessment as you plan ahead financially.