I’m selling my renovated condo suite and I’m being asked by a buyer for permits and records of the work done. What should I do?

Renovations are a popular way to update a tired or dated property, whether for your own enjoyment or as a way to potentially add to a property’s resale value. It is important to know that renovating a condo is much different from renovating a detached property. Notably, condo renovations must, in many cases, be approved by a condo’s board of directors and follow the condominium corporation’s by-laws, in addition to following the applicable bylaws and codes.

As you have asked, when selling a renovated condo suite it is not uncommon for the buyer to include a clause in the proposed agreement (offer to purchase) that the seller warrants that all renovations were completed with the permission and required approvals of the condo board, meets all municipal by-law requirements, and complies with the provincial fire and electrical codes.

It is possible that your buyer, through their salesperson may request copies of documentation related to in-suite renovations. This may include copies of renovation proposals, plans, inspection reports, certifications, municipal building permits where required, and any communications with the building’s property management that approved the work in advance of it being done.

I suggest speaking with your salesperson and real estate lawyer regarding the supporting documentation you will need to make available to prospective buyers.

If you cannot produce documentation to support major renovations within your suite, for example the removal of a divider wall, the reconfiguration of a bathroom or kitchen, speak with your salesperson and real estate lawyer to discuss what possible steps can be taken to address the issue.

For those out there considering a condo renovation for resale investment, you may find that speaking with a real estate salesperson or broker experienced in the condo resale market may prove invaluable when it comes to the type of work they recommend to bring the most value to the property.

Every building is different, so what is permitted in one may not be in another. Typically, written approval is required when renovations include such things as: rewiring the electrical service in rooms or removing dividing walls, etc. The first thing you should do before starting a condo renovation project is to contact the building property management and condo board to inquire about what is needed before any work or plans for work are done. They will likely provide you with the relevant forms, list of renovation rules, approvals required, policies and restrictions regarding what can and cannot be done before any work starts. If there is anything that you are unsure about, I strongly suggest you ask early to avoid disappointment or possible delays in your project.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

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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