The MOST important thing when you buy a condo!

Are you looking to buy a condo in Toronto?  I've put together a series of 3 videos to help educate you on buying a condo & all the steps involved. This may be the most important information of all the steps, understanding what a Status Certificate is & why reviewing it is the most important step you do! 

Right now we are in a strong sellers market in Toronto.  Buying a condo can be very competitive, especially in the lower price ranges (which, right now is anything under $700,000)   I am seeing condo sales increase $100,000 in a week - and in that type of market, home buyers may do anything to secure a property, including waiving the right to review the Status Certificate.  

Why is this very risky?  Because without having a Status Certificate review you may be buying a condo that's been poorly managed, has artificially low maintenance fees (by deferring much needed repairs) or contains kitec pipe which, as an owner, you may be responsible for replacing at your own expense!  

Make sure you understand the Status Certificate!  In my 5 minute video, I will cover the main points to look for and more! 

What is the Status Certificate? 

So what is a Status Certificate?  These are the financial documents prepared by the property management company.  When you buy a condo, you have the status certificate reviewed by a lawyer.   Generally, the sellers order this document (which is a few hundred pages) when they are getting ready to sell.  By law, the property management can take up to 10 business days to prepare it. 

The documents includes the budget, financial statements, notice of future funding of the reserve fund, all the documents pertaining to the creation of the condo corporation, the rules & bylaws and also a single page on the specific unit that you’re interested in buying which outlines whether the owner is up to date on their fees & whether they have made any renovations to the unit.

What does a Lawyer look for? 

So what does a lawyer look for? The lawyer will confirm that the MLS listing is accurate – that the size, monthly fees, parking & locker ownership are accurate.    The lawyer looks for any red flags that might come up.  Red flags include:

  • A low reserve fund 
  • Upcoming expenses that may cost more than the reserve fund which may result in a special assessment
  • A lawsuit that may result in a payout not covered by insurance
  • Up to date insurance 
  • Kitec plumbing

What else?

As a potential owner you should also check for things that will impact you living enjoyment including:

  • The pet policy
  • Smoking policies
  • Are short term rentals allowed
  • The percentage renters are in the building
  • The rules of the building
  • Double check that that the monthly fees cover everything that’s mentioned in the MLS listing

When can you do the review?

So when does this review happen? At two different times.  First, after you purchase (as a condition of your purchase).   A status certificate conditional period is normally 3 days.  

Secondly, a lawyer can review it before you make an offer.  The status certificate is sometimes available early, and having it reviewed before you offer means you can strengthen your offer if there are other buyers bidding as well. Luckily, I have access to lawyers that can review a status certificate in as little as 3 hours, if you need something quick.  

In any case it’s very important to get professional legal advice! 

I work with some great real estate lawyers if you have any questions about condo ownership and would like to get legal advice before your start your search, please let me know! 

Thanks for watching! If you’d like to learn more, please call me at 416-562-5002 

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A disturbing trend I've come across recently is the fraud in the rental space.   As an agent who handles a fair share of rentals; these issues have shown up over several ways this year.   I'll tell you about 3 instances I've had and the red flags that appeared with each! 

When I'm representing a landlord and an application comes in, I spend a lot of time going through an applicants documentation and getting references and looking through their background.  Here's what I do:

  • Call their employer by finding the employer's website and calling through their office to confirm employment.  I don't just call the supervisor on the application
  • Look carefully at the documents to see if they are real; company letterhead & credit reports can be faked or bought
  • Check social media & linked in
  • Call past landlords
  • Make sure there is a building at the address they're currently renting
  • Check that the landlords name and property owners names match.   If it's an apartment building call through the property management company if it's an apartment rather than calling the number provided.
  • Look at the credit report for signs of altering

With those things in mind, let's look at 3 things that have happened to me this year!

1.  Student rental Scam - fake rental and landlord

First of all, you should never have to pay to submit a rental application, or be asked for a deposit before you get a chance to see the place.   These scams are generally ads on sites like Kijijii and Facebook for rentals that look too good to be true.  They also steal MLS listings for homes and advertise them at lower rates.  I came across one recently through a family friend desperate for some student housing.  It was a big scam; and when I called them out they 'protested too much'.    Here's how to spot these scammers:

  • They demand payment to submit a rental application
  • They demand a deposit before you see the unit
  • Makes excuses why they are not available to speak to on the phone 
  • Will only communicate through messenger, text or email
  • The advertised price is way lower than other rentals
  • Their Facebook profile was just created
  • Their Facebook name does not match their user name ID (see the URL) 

2. Fake Rental Applications   

There are some very good forged documents out there.  I had some people submit an application on a lease I was advertising and here's what I found during the checks, among the other checks I did as above :

  • Inconsistencies in addresses on the application
  • Employment letter does not look real - no header or footer with information on the company letterhead

3. Forged Tenacy Papers

I had a call from a gal who had a great story, good employment, good credit, moving to Toronto from outside the city for work, can't come in to look for a place so needed virtual showings.  Could I help her find a place.  Sounds great right?  

Now I don't usually check tenants out before I help them (and I'd helped out a client with an out of town move this year already in a similar situation)  But with everything going on right now, I felt it couldn't hurt to see what her references would say.   So she sent in her application & 

then came the paperwork - the address of her job didn't match up with her story.  The company had never heard of her or her supervisor.  There was even no property listed at the home she had put for her address!  Other red flags for scammers include what she did:

  • get overly upset when called out 
  • provide complicated excuses for 'mistakes' on application forms
  • call the fact checker a liar, unprofessional, etc.

So be careful out there folks! 


A big thank you to the communities of Guildwood, West Rouge & Port Union for the terrific support last Saturday for my Community Shredding Event.  About 30 families participated - and their generous food donations filled our Jeep to the brim!   The food donations were taken straight to Feed Scarborough - the Scarborough Food Security initiative and will be distributed to local satellite food banks in the area.   Judging from the huge line up outside the Manse Rd. food bank Saturday, it's much needed. 

Chartwell Guildwood was my partner for this event and provided the venue and great snacks.  Thank you Kelly & Dianne for your wonderful support.  As always, Papersavers was gracious, friendly, professional and helpful!  

One interesting sideline - My husband, myself, Dianne and Alex from papersavers all grew up within the same area!   Such a big city/small world!