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Condo lawyer Nancy Houle is warning first-time buyers of hidden costs, especially for brand new condo buildings. ((CBC))

One Ottawa lawyer says there are many hidden costs when purchasing a new condominium, especially when the building is brand new.

Nancy Houle, co-chair of the condo law group Nelligan O'Brien Payne, represents clients who buy condo units.

She said she advises her clients to read the fine print in the declaration and to make sure they understand all the rules set out by the condo board.

"In a brand new condo that is under construction or in their first year, they don't have that financial history so it is good to be cautious and understand that your fees might go up after the initial purchase," said Houle.

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"They don't have the history to commit a full analysis of what the full cost of running this condo actually is."

Sometimes, added Houle, the units do not fit someone's budget or even their lifestyle. She added there are often potential increases in fees due to extenuating circumstances while someone lives in a condominium building.

"I think it is great to be excited and I think condos are a wonderful place to be as long as you do your due diligence," Houle said.

Condo sales are booming in Ottawa and the lawyer said her firm has benefited from that. It hired two new lawyers in the condo law unit in 2010.