Seven steps to buying a sound strata property
If you're planning to buy a strata property there are resources and information available to help you make an informed decision.
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 the results of votes;
- the registered strata plan;
- budget and financial statements;
- depreciation reports;
- engineering reports;
- the Information Certificate (Form B) including information on monthly strata fees and special levies; and
- bylaws and rules including age restriction, pet bylaws, 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 to rent as a short-term rental such as an 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 corporation.
2. Ensure a maintenance program is in place. Read Strata Council documents and talk to members of the strata council.
3. Check the contingency reserve fund. A portion of strata owners’ monthly maintenance fees are set aside in a contingency reserve fund to pay for extraordinary repairs, such as a new roof or exterior painting. Find out whether the building has a substantial contingency fund to cover any upcoming expenses.
4. Review the Strata Property Disclosure Statement. Sellers are required 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.
5. 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. He or she may also be able to help you obtain background information about the builder/developer of the project.
6.. 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 suite, common areas, and the overall building structure and major building systems and equipment.
7. Check if there are parking and storage facilities and electric charging stations.
Contact your local Realtor who specializes in strata property and knows the neighbourhood you're interested in.
Licensing and Consumer Services Branch at BC Housing (formerly the Homeowner Protection Office)
BC Residential Tenancy Branch
Tenants BC - a resource for landlords and tenants
Tenants Resource and Advisory Centre
Canada Mortgage and Housing
Condominium Home Owners Association of BC