I’m looking to buy a condo, but I’ve got two dogs. I know that many condos don’t allow pets. How can I make sure I find a place that’s a good fit?

Mixing pets and urban living can be a challenge, but in the right condo you can make sure your furry friends are welcome, happy and comfortable. As you’ve noted, it’s important to make sure you can live with the condo’s rules regarding pets before you make an offer.

Since you’ve got dogs, there’s no point in considering properties that won’t allow Spot and Rover to come along. In fact, many condos that do allow pets have limits on how many you can have, or their size.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your real estate representative about what you’re looking for in a property. They can make sure that the places you’re shown will meet your needs and may even have special pet-friendly amenities. Some condos have “pet spas” where owners can groom their dogs without using their bathtub, while others may be close to a designated off-leash park that will allow your dogs to run around freely.

When you do find a condo that you’re interested in, make sure any offer you submit is conditional on a review of the status certificate. The status certificate will detail the by-laws that you’ll be required to follow, so it’s critical to give this a thorough review before you buy. It’s worth taking the time to make sure you can live with all the rules of that condo because getting them changed isn’t easy and breaking them can be costly.

The status certificate will also detail the financial records of the condo corporation, the common element fees you will have to pay, the utilities you’ll be responsible for, the parking arrangement and more. Think of it as a snapshot of the financial state of the condo corporation and the physical condition of the condo building.

I also recommend that you have your broker or salesperson, and your lawyer, review the status certificate with you before waiving the condition and making your offer firm. To learn more about buying a condo, visit the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Condo Guide.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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