So you want to buy A Victoria BC Condominium, Or Do You?
In Greater Victoria well over 50% of all real estate sold in recent years is either a Condominium Suite, a 1/2 Duplex, a Town-House, a Bare Land strata, or one of those funky conversion suites in one of those cool renovated historic houses.
All of these have one thing in common; They are all part of the legal concept we in British Columbia call "Strata Property" or "Condominiums" (the names can be used inter-changeably) and are all governed by the BC Strata Property Act.
The reasons for buying a "Strata" are almost as diverse as there are "Condo" options (see how I inter mingled the 2 terms ;o).
- First Time Home Buyers, can buy A Strata because they are often more affordable
- Empty Nester's, often buy a Condo, because they want to be able to lock up and go.
- Investors, Invest in all kinds of Strata's, because they don't need to look after the exterior upkeep.
- Busy professionals buy condominiums because it fits their busy lifestyle.
- Boomers and Seniors buy in strata's to downsize and simplify their lives.
So by the sounds of things life is Pfanntastic in Strata or Condominium living.
Well hmmmm, not so quick, not all is rosy under that shared roof.
The Problems really became headline news in BC in the early 90's when the first issues of moisture related problems became more publicly known.
If you have been around BC, the lower mainland or Victoria, you will have heard about this thing called "Leaky Condo Syndrome" Referring to a complex set of moisture related problems and damage to a large number of strata buildings build between the 80's and 90's (not all buildings, and not every issue is a leaky condo issue). By now most are fixed....... or are they?
- Now that some buildings are reaching or are 20+ years of age, some will require larger repairs and upgrades like roofs, windows, elevators etc etc.
- In following the original guidelines and laws, Many Strata's have never collected enough monies over the years to be able to save enough money to pay for all these large capital requiring replacement projects.
- Some Strata's have not been pro-active in ensuring that they dealt with minor maintenance issues diligently, and they are now big issues.
- The costs of ensuring that buildings are in good to excellent long-term condition is often much higher than was considered at the time of setting monthly fees.
- The cost and expense of investigating and establishing the current condition and work required for buildings, is very substantial.
- We are seeing more and more buildings with the need to charge special levies (some small, some huge) in order to repair and or upgrade the buildings, and or equipment.
- There is a push towards "Reserve Fund Studies", some Strata's have already completed theirs, and it will likely become either law or a requirement soon, and what does that mean to you as an owner or buyer?
- BC Government Financial Institutions Commission Strata Information
- The Condominium Manual, BC specific an on line version can be bought here written by Mike Mangan
- The Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association, a great membership based resource for BC Strata Information.
- Condominium Buyers Guide, Free Copy, published by CMHC and is Generic for all of Canada
If you are interested in buying a home, in any strata (regardless of the size of the complex from 2 to any number of suites) you are not just buying 4 walls and a parking spot, you are buying into a living community, so getting familiar with, and fully understanding what benefits and or obligations that you are buying into becomes a very important part of your home buying decision.
There are many reasons why a Strata Lifestyle may be just the right decision for you, just make sure that you have the assistance and support of your dedicated team of Real Estate Specialists, to look after your best interests.
Surrounding yourself with a team of experts (lawyer, Realtor, accountant, inspectors, insurance, lender etc) will make sure that your condominium experience with be Pfanntastic.
Planning to buy, sell, upgrade, downsize, invest in real estate or relocate to Greater Victoria, and need information about your present or new area of choice?....... No Problem.
Peter and Linda Pfann now offer a FREE Pfanntastic Internet Service, keeping you informed about Greater Victoria Market Activity, includingnew listings, current and recent sales, price adjustments, statistics, graphs and a variety of additional handy real estate tools for your benefit. This absolutely Free no hassle service is completely customized to your specific requirements.
We call it Victoria Market Snapshot, and this amazing little tool will ask you a few questions, and provides you with an updated snapshot of the property type(s), location (s) and real estate market activity as per your requirements.
The Pfanntastic Victoria Market Snapshot Service is Free, The Information is Invaluable, Request Your Victoria Market Snap Shot Right Now!