The following are some things to remember (do’s and don’ts) when buying a condominium in British Columbia.

All condominiums are not created equal: some leak, some have financial problems, some have pet restrictions and some have age restrictions. How do you find out more about what you are buying into?

  1. Obtain at least 2 years’ worth of minutes of the strata council, including any engineering reports that may have been done.
  2. If the Strata Corporation have commenced any legal proceedings, ask for a copy of the Writ and Statement of Claim or the court file numbers so that you can search the Court Registry yourself. If there is a claim for water damage or for deficiencies that are not noted in the strata council or general meeting minutes, owners in the building may be faced with expensive repair levies or levies to pay for the lawsuit.
  3. Hire an inspector to do a physical inspection of the building. Things to look for: staining of stucco, efflorescence around the foundation, cracks in the walls, or evidence of extensive repairs.
  4. Review the Property Condition Disclosure Report aka Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) completed by the owner.
  5. Obtain a copy of the financial statements for the Strata corporation for the previous fiscal year. The financial statement will indicate how much money is in the contingency reserve fund, which is available to fund extraordinary repairs. It will also reveal how much money is being expended on repairs and maintenance relative to the estimated budget and whether or not the strata corporation’s expenses are more or less in line with the estimated budget for the previous fiscal year. Beware of signs of lack of fiscal restraint.
  6. Get a copy of the Registered Bylaws of the strata corporation and a copy of the Rules and Regulations and carefully review them. If you have a pet or are interested in getting a pet be aware of the existing pet restrictions. Check for age restrictions and rental restrictions as these might affect future resale value and versatility.
  7. Ensure that your contract of purchase and sale is subject to your approval of a full inspection, financing, a review of the bylaws, 2 years of strata council minutes (1 year by law), engineer reports, the financial statements and the Form B. By writing these terms into the contract you are in a position to walk away if you are not satisfied with the building condition, the financial picture and the restrictions contained in the Bylaws and the Rules and Regulations.
  8. Property Transfer tax. In BC, unless you qualify for the First Time Home Buyers’ Program or other exemptions, your purchase will be subject to Property Transfer Tax. This is 1% on the first 200,000, 2% on the remaining balance. Don’t forget to factor that into your closing costs.

So as you can see, there are plenty of steps to check off when researching a condo to buy. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I'm here to help! 🙂

~ Jen

About Jennifer Corrigan

About the author 

Jennifer Corrigan

Hi, I'm Jen, Excited to meet you and chat about your real estate goals. Whether you're looking to buy, sell or invest in the Greater Vancouver market, I'd love to hear your plans and share ideas.

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