8 Tips to Buying A Condo in Vancouver


Buying a condo is exciting, but be mindful that not all condo buildings are created equal. Some may have issues like leaks, financial difficulties, pet restrictions or even age limitations. It’s important to do you due diligence when checking out potential buildings, to make sure you don’t buy a dud.

Not sure how?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered!

Here are 8 tips to help you find the right condo

Unraveling the Enigma; Obtain the strata council minutes for two years and any engineering reports available. Dive into these documents like a detective searching for clues regarding leaks, repairs, problematic tenants/owners, furry companions, upcoming financial contributions and more. This is your chance to uncover the truth!

Strata Documents

Ask for the last 2 years of Strata Corporation’s Documents including AGMs, SGMs all Strata Council meetings, strata plans and PDS and Form B. Your Realtor should order all of these for you, but if you are representing yourself in the purchase (not recommended) or have hired a real estate lawyer to complete the transaction for you, then you’ll need to read through all these documents and give your lawyer a copy.

Building Inspection

Before hiring a building inspector, take a look at the unit and the building yourself even if you’re not an expert in construction. Look out for signs of leaks like stains on surfaces, efflorescence in the parking garage, cracks in walls or indications of repairs. Thoroughly explore every nook and cranny of the building.

Property Disclosure Statement

Take the time to review the Property Disclosure Report, also known as the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) which has been completed by the owner. It’s their responsibility to disclose any known issues or problems with the unit.

Financial Statements

Obtain the statements for the Strata corporation from the last 2 fiscal years. These statements reveal information such as how much money’s available in the contingency reserve fund (CRF) for unexpected repairs. Look out for signs of management and ensure that expenses align with the estimated budget. Remember, ideally the CRF should hold 25% of the operating budget and there should be a requirement to contribute 10% annually until that target is met.

Strata Rules

Get your hands on a copy of the Registered Bylaws and Rules of the Strata corporation. Read through these documents to discover any restrictions, age limitations, rental constraints or other factors that may impact your future plans. Knowledge is power!

Terms to Include in your Offer

Make sure to include terms, in your purchase and sale contract that allow for an inspection, review of bylaws, access to two years worth of strata council minutes (as required by law) engineer reports, financial statements and the Form B. By incorporating these terms you’ll have the flexibility to walk away if the condition of the building its financial prospects or any restrictions in the bylaws and rules don’t align with your goals. Remember, you’re in control!

Property Transfer Tax

When purchasing property in British Columbia it’s important to be aware of the Property Transfer Tax unless you qualify for exemptions like the First Time Home Buyers Program. The tax rates are as follows; 1.0% on the $200,000 of the price; 2.0% on amounts between $200,000 and $2,000,000; 3.0% on amounts between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000; and 5.0% on amounts over $3,000,000.

Armed with these 8 Tips, you’re now ready to embrace the excitement and start on your condominium hunt here in Greater Vancouver!

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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