How to buy a sound strata property

Posted on April 12th, 2017

If you’re planning to buy a strata property there are resources and information available to help you make an informed decision.

Resources
BC Civil Resolution Tribunal is a free service if you have a strata dispute.
Licensing and Consumer Services Branch at BC Housing (formerly the Homeowner Protection Office)
BC Residential Tenancy Branch.
Landlord BC
Tenants BC – a resource for landlords and tenants
Tenants Resource and Advisory Centre
Canada Mortgage and Housing
Condominium Home Owners Association of BC

Information
Protecting pre-sale strata buyers and developers
Real Estate Development Marketing Act
Strata Property Act and Regulation

Before buying a strata property, here are measures you can take with the assistance of your REALTOR®.

  1. Review Strata Corporation records
    Obtain copies and read minutes of annual and special meetings, including resolutions and the results of votes; the registered strata plan; budget and financial statements; depreciation reports; engineering reports; the Information Certificate (Form B), an important document containing information for  potential buyers and investors including strata fees, the rental disclosure statement, legal proceedings involving the strata corporation, resolutions, and parking and storage allocations; bylaws and rules including age restriction, pet, rental and smoking bylaws. If you’re looking for a pet-free building, understand that service animals are permitted. If you want to buy a strata as a short-term rental, for example, Airbnb or VRBO, check whether this use is allowed in the building.

Look for past problems, previous repairs, special assessments, and upcoming expenditures. To investigate bylaws, talk to the strata council.

  1. Review the Strata Property Disclosure Statement. Sellers are encouraged to complete this form, which serves as a checklist for buyers to address concerns about the property’s condition. It should be carefully reviewed for any defects or potential problems.
  2. Check the contingency reserve fund. A portion of strata owners’ monthly maintenance fees are set aside in a contingency reserve fund for extraordinary repairs, such as a new roof or exterior painting. Find out whether the building has a substantial contingency reserve to cover upcoming expenses.
  3. Ensure a maintenance program is in place. Read strata council documents and talk to members of the strata council.
  4. Investigate the warranty program and builder background. Whether the condominium is new or resale, your Realtor® can find out what type of warranty the building carries, noting the limits and duration of coverage. They may also be able to help you obtain background information about the builder/ developer of the project.
  5. Consult with a professional home inspector. Consider hiring an accredited home inspection professional (one who carries Errors & Omissions insurance) to inspect the condition of the unit, common areas, and the overall building structure and major building systems and equipment.
  6. Check to see if there are parking and storage facilities and, if relevant to you, electric charging stations.

For information, contact your Royal Pacific Realty Group Realtor who specializes in strata property and knows the neighbourhood you’re interested in.

Source:
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver