Once condominium property owners make the important decision to list and sell, there are a few critical and proactive steps to consider, in preparation for Buyer showings and incoming offers, that will definitely help make your next condo sale go smoothly and successfully:
(1). Cleanliness and Tidiness: in today’s market, condominium Buyers have many outstanding choices and are heightening their standards. To become a Buyer's best option, it is imperative to have your condo looking its very best:
(a). Clean All Windows (notice this very important item is listed first but is one many Sellers tend to forget or ignore);
(b). Vacuum / Scrub Floors and Shampoo Carpets;
(c). Perform Paint Touch-ups (or Re-painting) to Walls, Ceilings, Doors, and Baseboards;
(d). Clean All Appliances (inside and out); Washrooms; and Fixtures;
(e). Clean Insides of Closets; Shelving; and Cupboards;
(f). Remove any Evidence of Pets and Smoking (also Remove Pets and Smoking from the Property); and
(g). Clean Patio / Deck / Terrace; Parking Stall(s); and / or Storage Locker(s).
Note: the importance and Buyer appreciation of 'cleanliness and tidiness' should not be underrated - the impact on the final sale price can vary but will often be in the hundreds or (in many cases) thousands of dollars vs. 'as is'.
(2). Pay Outstanding Bills: when closing a sale, your lawyer (on a Seller's behalf) will be required to order and supply an estoppels certificate to the Buyer’s lawyer which essentially guarantees (in writing) that all property-related debts are paid in full up to the Completion Date:
(a). Municipal Property Taxes (both for the Unit and any Titled Parking Stalls);
(b). Condominium Fees (both for the Unit and any Titled Parking Stalls);
(c). Condominium Corporation Initiated Property Assessments;
(d). Builder’s Liens or Other Registrations on Title (if any); and
(e). Mortgage Balance(s) plus Payment Penalty (if applicable).
Prior to listing and selling, condominium Sellers should pay out as many of the above, excluding Mortgage Balance which usually gets paid out upon the Buyer's purchase money being received by the Seller's lawyer at Completion Date.
(3). Order and Secure Full Set of Condominium Documents: ordering and receiving the condo documents package can take between 2 to 10 days, depending upon the competency and efficiency of the Property Management Company employed by the Corporation. Sellers should order this as quickly as possible, because waiting until an offer comes in means ‘Freezing the Buyer’ for an extended length of time (1-2 weeks) before the documents review (and a property inspection) would begin. 'Freezing the Buyer' is usually a non-advisable Seller strategy whose goal should be to wrap any deal up quickly. Below is a list of Condo Documents that Sellers should order as part of their package:
(a). Current Information Statement for the Unit (containing a large number of key items);
(b). Current Reserve Fund Report and Reserve Fund Plan;
(c). Copy of the Current Budget and Most Recent Financial Statements;
(d). Current Management, Recreation, Lease, and / or Exclusive Agreements (if applicable);
(e). Current Bylaws of the Corporation; and Current Insurance Certificate;
(f). Most Recent Annual General Meeting Minutes; and All Board Minutes for Past Year;
(g). Registered Condo Plan; Additional Plan Sheet Certificate; and Title(s);
(h). Any Easement, Covenants, and Restrictions (ECR) Agreement;
(i). Details of any Recent or Current Special Resolutions; and
(j). Any Other Information as may be Requested by the Buyer.
The key is to ensure that all condo documents turned over to the Buyer are accurate and current. *** Seller warning: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INCLUDE ANY DOCUMENTS TO A BUYER THAT ARE OLDER THAN ONE YEAR unless the condo property manager confirms (in writing) that the older documents remain the most current version available.
(4). Providing Access to Common and Other Exclusive Areas: for Buyer access, make sure you provide keys to your REALTOR® for all of the following that may apply:
(a). The Unit; Utilities (i.e. furnace / A/C room); and Mailbox (upon completion);
(b). Recreation Areas (i.e. swimming pool, sauna, gymnasium, exercise room, etc.);
(c). Social Areas (i.e. Social / Games Room(s); Outdoor Terrace; Movie Theatre; etc.);
(d). Underground Areas (i.e. Parking Stall(s); Storage Locker(s); Car Wash; etc.); and
(e). Other Areas (i.e. Library; Crafts Room; Storage Room(s); Pedway(s); etc.)
Remember: when Buyers are buying your unit, they are simultaneously buying into the common areas of the Condominium Corporation (i.e. as a Unit Factor “X / 10,000" based upon the area of the unit divided by the total area of all units -- this factor is used by the Condo Corporation to generate responsibility for condo fees, assessments, etc. for each unit). Therefore, prudent Buyers will likely want to view these areas as it should factor into their buying decision.
(5). Estate Sales: in the event the condo is being sold as an estate sale, it is advised for Sellers to contact their estate lawyer to check on the status of will probate, and to make sure the will has been probated (or will be probated) prior to Completion Date otherwise the decision to list and sell should probably be delayed until the probate completion.
In summary, selling a condominium involves a myriad of complexities, and Sellers are advised to work closely and ask advice from your REALTOR® every step of the way. Through great preparation and organization your next condo sale can and should be successful!
[Article written and ©2018 by Kelly Grant, M.Eng., ABR, NCSO, P.Eng. - REALTOR® at MaxWell Devonshire Realty in Edmonton, AB]
Disclaimer: for those readers not currently represented by another licensed REALTOR®, to obtain more information on this topic and / or if you are serious about selling or buying in the Greater Edmonton Area, call Kelly at 780-414-6100 (pager) or email SOLD@KellyGrant.ca to schedule a confidential appointment.