Buying a co-ownership property through a broker: What you need to know
If you are thinking of buying a co-ownership property (condo), here is some useful information to know.
When you enlist the services of a real estate or mortgage broker, be advised that his or her activities are strictly supervised.
The Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) ensures that all brokers comply with the Real Estate Brokerage Act and its regulations, enacted by the Government of Québec to protect you. Here is what this practically means for you.
Differentiate between the types of co-ownership
If you purchase a property held in divided co-ownership, you will be buying a private portion (e.g. your apartment, your private parking space), as well as a percentage of the building’s common portions (e.g. hallways, elevator shafts, pool, etc.). If you purchase a property held in undivided co-ownership, you will be buying a percentage of the whole property. The property is owned jointly by several owners.
Thus, when buying a divided or undivided co-ownership property, the real estate broker will:
- use the OACIQ forms, including the Request for information to the syndicate of co-owners, recommended to obtain all relevant information on the financial situation of the building;
- pay attention to the details contained in the Declaration of Co-ownership (which defines the rules of common living and administration for the building);
- be able to inform you about the financial health of the building (by consulting for example the minutes of meetings of co-owners to check if the work to be performed is mentioned).
Moreover, if the desired property is held in divided co-ownership and sold through a broker, your broker will have access to the content of the mandatory form designed by the OACIQ Declarations by the seller of the immovable – Divided co-ownership. The specific questions of this form, which the seller must answer to the best of his knowledge, will allow you, for example, to know if the co-ownership property is rented or has already been rented or if it is equipped with safety devices such as sprinklers. In addition to ensuring the existence of a contingency fund, you will find in the form details of common services available, such as a swimming pool, a terrace, etc.
Ready to act
When you are ready to make an offer to purchase the property you are interested in, your broker will use the Promise to purchase – Divided co-ownership or Promise to purchase – Undivided co-ownership forms. They were specifically designed for this type of building to record elements that are specific to the type of co-ownership desired.
For more information
Co-ownership legislation and regulations are changing rapidly. For your optimal protection, the OACIQ is constantly updating its broker training activities. To find out if a broker has specific expertise in the area of co-ownership or to learn more on his or her practice profile, you may use the Check a broker’s record tool on our website.