Buying a condo is a big step that requires careful planning and precise decision-making, so when you do finally make the purchase, it helps to know that your investment is protected.

Here are three things you should know when taking the condo-buying plunge:

Tarion, an organization created by the Government of Ontario, ensures that builders abide by provincial legislation when constructing new homes.

The warranty starts when you take occupancy of your new home and it includes one-year, two-year, or seven-year warranties with coverage of up to $300,000. They cover everything from defects in materials and workmanship to major structural defects.

Your builder should provide you with a Homeowner Information Package that outlines everything you need to know about your warranty. You can also download a copy of it from tarion.com.

When you buy a condo, you become the owner of a piece of real estate defined within specific boundaries. Beyond your unit’s boundaries are what’s known as the common elements, including shared-use areas such as parking garages, recreational facilities, and party rooms.

These elements are covered by a separate warranty that begins when the condo corporation assumes control of the building.

The boundaries of your unit are defined in the Disclosure attached to your Purchase Agreement. Information about common elements can be found in the Declaration and Description filed by the condominium corporation when it’s registered.

If you’re buying a pre-construction condo, there’s always a risk that the project could be delayed or cancelled.

Under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, every purchase agreement must include an addendum that discloses the status of the zoning approval and construction. It also limits the type of early termination conditions a builder can impose and obligates them to use reasonable efforts to meet these conditions before they can cancel the project.

Under the Condominium Act, if a condo project is cancelled, purchasers are entitled to receive their entire deposit back, including any payments made for extras and upgrades. This is because builders are required to put these monies in trust. If, for some reason, the deposits and other amounts are not repaid, condo buyers are eligible for protection from Tarion for up to $20,000 plus certain accrued interest.

No matter your level of experience with real estate, Tarion is here to help. For over 40 years, we have provided warranty protection to Ontario’s home buyers. If you have any questions or concerns, email customerservice@tarion.com or call 1-877-9TARION.