One of the questions we get asked the most is, "what are the top things I should know before I buy a condo?"
Here are our top five things to look for when you're purchasing your next condo:
1. The Strata's Accounting
This sounds obvious, and it is. The finances of a strata corporation are paramount when deciding what condo buildings are the best investments. It's not only how much the strata is saving every year but also the amount that they budget each year. Do they hit their targets? Do they have unexpected costs? There is a ton of juicy info in the financials that we can use to determine if this is a well-run strata corporation.
Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay
Maintenance can be a lot of things. When we say maintenance here, we mean what is the strata corporation doing on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis to keep the building in good health and condition? We can easily tell when a strata corporation gets on their tasks quickly and efficiently, and that bodes well for the future of the building. Does the strata keep deferring maintenance? That's a major red flag.
Another obvious one perhaps, but we can't tell you how many people waste time looking into condos that have bylaws contradicting how they want to live their lives. One thing is certain - bylaws and bylaws. I have a lot of people ask me if bylaws can be skirted or if the strata can allow an exception to the bylaw. Even if they think they can, they can't. They are legally responsible for enforcing bylaws, so you are on borrowed time if you plan to buy a condo that, for example, doesn't allow your dog or cat.
4. Long-term development plans
This one seems to get overlooked a lot. Are you in an area of town with a high rate of new condos going up? Is the neighbourhood around the condo getting better or worse? What about crime rates? There is so much to look into, especially when buying a newer condo. Many times, buyers will let a few criteria slide (such as a good neighbourhood) to get a brand new condo. But what happens when the condo is 10 years old and still in a bad area? You can end up losing money.
5. Depreciation Reports
These are fantastic and very powerful documents. You should know how to read these reports, and how to differentiate good reports from bad ones. Not all are created equal. Check out our blog on depreciation reports. You can have either a top-level engineering firm do the report or a handyman. Don't get caught with the latter.
There is even more things that should be considered when buying a condo, but these are our top pics. Feel free to email us if you have any questions!
Mike + Kaley
(Note: As always, this post should not be taken as advice and you should contact a licensed Realtor (or us!) to get advice before purchasing real estate.)