Drafted By: Melissa Kubek

With attached home/ condo sales on the rise, over 32 % since 2012 [1], new buildings continue to flood the skylines of our major cities. Homebuyers & investors continue to buy them up, often before they’ve been built and without fully understanding what they are buying into. There are a few great differences between buying a detached home and a condo.  The following are a few important pieces of information to keep at the top of your mind when considering buying into any attached home/condo/strata development.

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1.     DO NOT Pre-Register/Register Without Your Realtor® Either Present When You Register or Listed As Your Realtor® On Your Registration!  If the perfect home for you is a brand new condo/town home in a hot new development, you’ll likely want to pre-register for priority purchasing.  This allows you to be informed as the development progresses through it’s stages and more importantly it gives you a place ‘in line’ to be able to handpick which unit/suite you would like to buy when the time comes.  Pre-Registering gives you priority to pick/choose & purchase, however it does not protect your interests.  Ensure that you list the name of your Realtor® on your pre-registration so that they can help protect your interests and advise you throughout the process.  If they are not listed, you’re on your own and at the mercy of the developer’s representatives & legal team. Therefore should something go wrong, the developer is protected, however you’re essentially on your own and your Realtor® is not allowed to step in, mid transaction.

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2.    DO Read through all of the strata documentation available to you such as: Strata meeting minutes (monthly, annually, etc) as this will tell you much about what’s happening in the strata, if the strata is proactive or leaves maintenance to the last minute, who the gossip and complainers are; Bylaws & rules – Yes, there are rules you must adhere to when living in tight quarters with many others and sharing common property (you must read, understand and agree to living by these bylaws & rules prior to committing to the purchase as you cannot later claim that you didn’t know or didn’t understand); Financial Statements – If a strata runs in the red or is a new development you may be taking on a risk, learn how to read financial statements or have a lawyer help you; Engineer & Depreciation Reports are important to read through to learn about any repairs & maintenance issues in the past that have been remedied as well as any upcoming issues that may cost you. Your Realtor® can advise you of all of the documentation you’ll need when the time comes for you.

3.    DO learn about who lives in the building/complex.  How many units are owned by investors who rent out their units vs how many units are owner occupied.  Often strata developments where the majority of units (if not all) are owner occupied,will yield a higher price point/value compared to stratas that allow for rentals. Also, I often suggest that my clients speak with a few of their potential neighbours who currently live in the strata.  This will give an overall picture of real life and by asking several people and not just one or two, you’ll gain a broader and more accurate sense of how the strata is actually ran as opposed to perhaps one or two potentially biased reviews.

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4.    DO Think Long Term: Will this be a long term home/investment for you or do you plan on using this property as a stepping stone on the path to achieving other goals? If this property will be one you’ll hold for several years, then you’ll want to make sure it’s the best possible property for you and your needs.  If however this property is one you only intend to hold for the short term, then it’s likely in your best interest to purchase a unit that will be ‘easy’ to sell, offers more than the average including unique, yet attractive features (example, 2 bedrooms, 2 secured parking stalls, view of the water as opposed to a view of traffic, 1 bedroom and 1 secured parking stalls).

I hope these tips help you when considering your next purchase, however the best piece of advice that I can offer you is to hire the right Realtor® who understands how to navigate the complex waters of strata property purchasing.

[1] http://www.rebgv.org/monthly-reports?month=December&year=2014

Read More Articles By Realtor® Melissa Kubek:

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