Buying a Strata Property

Helping you buy your home

Tips for Buying a Condo or Townhouse in Vancouver

You've decided to buy a condo or townhouse and now the excitement begins! However, be aware that it is not just the fabulous unit you are buying – you are also becoming part owner of the total building. Home Buyers are always under the guide of “Caveat Emptor” or “Buyer Beware” - believe us when we say that what you don’t know, can hurt you in the long run. These are just a few of the many items that our REALTORS® will help you navigate to make a safe, informed and wise real estate investment.

Quality of the Building

  • When purchasing a strata titled property, things such as rainscreening, proactiveness of the strata council, maintenance schedule, bylaws, building policies, strata documentation can dramatically impact future costs and resale value. The cost of a retroactive rainscreen, for example, could be up to $150,000+ PER UNIT!
  • With more than thirty years experience, not only do we know what to look for in the strata minutes and documentation, but there is a good chance that we are familiar with the building you are looking to purchase in.

Quality of the Neighborhood

  • Crime levels, traffic noise, future development, city zoning plans, amenities, transportation access and general sense of community can dramatically impact not only your current enjoyment of your property, but also your future resale value.
  • We pride ourselves on staying on top of all of the neighborhoods we serve to ensure that you are aware of all of these factors in advance of making your purchase.

Maintenance Fees (aka Strata or Condo Fees)

  • Many buyers get in trouble because they don’t factor in these costs.
  • Our REALTOR® will ensure that you have considered this and all costs related to the purchase of your condo/townhome so that you can make an informed decision based on your budget.

Home Inspections

  • Not all home inspectors are created equal. An insufficient home inspection from an uninsured home inspector could result in making a purchase decision without being fully aware of the health, safety and/or structural issues that might be present in the home.
  • Issues that might negate possible insurance coverage or cost more to insure because of the increased risk include: old wiring, plumbing, roofing, drainage, and insulation. If the building has had a number of recent claims it could prove difficult to get insurance.
  • With over f0 years of experience, our team has expertise in ensuring that the list of inspectors you choose from are highly qualified and uniquely suited to identifying the potential risks that may be present in the property before you commit to the purchase.
  • Specific to condo purchases, we ensure that our inspectors are assessing all aspects of the building that your unit is a part of and are considering issues that might be present depending on age and stage of the building.

Property Transfer Tax

  • In addition to your down payment, you also need to have cash available for the PPT. This is calculated as 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance.
  • Our REALTOR® will ensure that you have considered this and all costs related to the purchase of your house so that you can factor it into your decision.

HST on New Home Purchases

  • HST is a 12% tax that applies to all new home purchases until April 2013. It is important that you are aware of how this tax will impact you.
  • We stay on top of the most current legislation, payment schedules etc and can advise you on how this factors into the total cost of your purchase.

Immigration

  • If you are not a resident of Canada, you may experience difficulties in obtaining a mortgage. You may require you to prove you have a certain amount of liquid assets.
  • Our experienced REALTORS® will let you know if this may be an issue for you and direct you to the appropriate resources.
  • If you anticipate that this may be an issue, the following links are a place to get started.

Closing Costs

  • Legal fees,
  • Insurance,
  • HST (if new),
  • Monthly soft costs (ie heat, electricity, etc) &
  • Taxes.

REALTOR® Fees for Buyers

  • It is customary in British Columbia for the Seller to pay the Buyer’s Agent in addition to the Listing Agent. This means that in many situations the Seller would cover our fee.
  • Some Buyers are tempted to try to go directly to the Seller to avoid REALTOR® fees, but it is absolutely in your best interest to have a professional looking out for your best interest in the sale (as per all of the above knowledge). Purchasing a home is a major investment and ignorance to certain situations you were not aware of does not alleviate you of the responsibility or cost to correct the issue.
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Vancouver REALTORS®

We offer 40+ years of micro-market knowledge and strategic insight that will ensure our clients are able to make an informed real estate investment decision in Greater Vancouver. With so much spectacular diversity in Vancouver, it is imperative that our clients are paired up with one of our local specialists in North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Downtown, Vancouver Westside or Eastside. The market expertise and knowledge that we provide comes from an intimate knowledge of and passion for the neighbourhoods in which we serve.