If you plan to buy a strata property, it’s important you work closely with a REALTOR®.
REALTORS® help clients thoroughly investigate a strata property before making a buying decision. REALTORS® have access to the resources and information strata property buyers need to assess potential problems in strata buildings.
Before buying a strata property, here are evaluation measures I recommend that you take with the assistance of your REALTOR®.
1 Review Strata Council minutes. Obtain copies of strata council minutes for the past year or more, along with bylaws, financial statements, annual general meeting or special meeting minutes, and any engineering reports that may have been completed. Look for past problems, previous repairs, special assessments, legal cases and upcoming expenditures. Also look for bylaws including rental, pets and smoking or any other significant restrictions or local rules.
2 Ensure a maintenance program is in place. Read strata council minutes, engineering reports and the strata depreciation report (where there is one in place) and speak with the property manager to determine whether the building has a solid preventative maintenance program in place.
3 Check contingency fund. Under the Strata Property Act and regulations, a portion of strata owners’ monthly maintenance fees must go into a contingency reserve fund to pay for extraordinary repairs, such as a new roof or repairs to leaks. It’s important to determine whether the building has a substantial contingency fund to cover any upcoming expenses.
4 Review the Property Disclosure Statement - Strata Title Properties. Sellers are encouraged to complete this form, which is a checklist to assist in disclosing concerns about the property's condition. Buyer should review it for any defects or potential problems and also to determine if parking stalls and storage lockers are attached to the unit and owned or are limited common property.
5 Investigate the warranty program and builder background. Whether the strata 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 find background information about the builder/developer of the project.
6 Consult with a professional home inspector. You may consider hiring an accredited home inspection professional (one who is licensed carries errors and omissions insurance) to inspect the condition of the suite, common areas, and the overall building structure.
Many REALTORS® specialize in strata sales and I would be happy to speak with you further about evaluating properties. Dodi