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Renovating a condo

Just because you own real estate, a house or a condominium, for example, you do not necessarily have the right to make arbitrary renovations to that property when your name is on the deed.

While restrictions are fewer in a single family dwelling such as a house, an apartment in a high rise building may have some restrictions. The onus is upon you to determine what they are – before you proceed with anything.

For the sake of this situation, let’s assume that you bought your retirement apartment in a building more than a year ago. Once the tenants moved out (planned), you were thinking about modernizing, updating your unit, to add to its curb appeal but also to make it a place that you, as a resident owner would be most comfortable.

The first thing to do is connect with your condominium’s board of directors and request any documentation available on the corporation’s requirements. While most corporations view renovations as something that adds value to a unit and building, there are specific guidelines that must be followed.

Once you have reviewed the documentation, consult with an architect or qualified designer. Then when you are satisfied, present your plans and a timeline to your board. Moving a load- bearing wall in a bungalow may be possible, not so much in a condo apartment. You will learn what recommended toilets may be installed, types of flooring, countertops etc. Never assume that anything and everything will be given the green light.

There will often also be greater noise restrictions and limited use of a freight elevator for debris and the like. Know what is allowed and always be respectful.

While some view rules as suggestions, in a condo corporation that is not the case. You will have signed agreements at time of purchase that basically states you agree to any and all provisions and restrictions. You are legally contracted.

Perhaps before you purchase, run your thoughts by a professional agent like Mary Bateman. A well-respected realtor in Barrie and Simcoe County, she can help you navigate potentially troubled waters. Call 705-722-7100