Buying a new condo can come with many unknowns. Working in Vancouver, I work with a lot of clients who are looking to get into the condo market. One thing I try to emphasize with my clients is the importance of reading over the strata documents. They may not be the most riveting read but they hold a lot of useful information about the building and the units within. Recently a stumbled across a great article in West coast Condominium that talks about how to best understand strata minutes. So, I thought I would share!
The article focuses on 4 key points about understanding strata documents. Their first tip is to read the minutes in chronological order. This can help you get a greater understanding of the building culture and how issues have been resolved over time, or if there are any issues still outstanding.
Next, read over all of the correspondence closely. This can give insight into any potential problems between units or known issues that may be close to your unit. For example, the unit next to you could have received 5 noise complaints in the past year or so, but nothing has happened. Might not be the ideal neighbour for you if you like peace and quiet.
Thirdly, make sure you read over the current bylaws and rules closely. If previous requests to change the bylaws have been hard come by, it may be hard to ever change them. For example, if you plan on getting a dog that is a bit bigger then the rules state, they may not let you. Or if you’re dead set on having a big BBQ on your deck, but the bylaws say no, you may be in trouble.
Lastly, request hard copies of reports that may have been mentioned in minutes. That way you can see what work has been done based on the reports. These reports can include a lot of useful information, such as a
- Current budget and the statement of the contingency reserve fund
- History of insurance claims
- Depreciation report
- Copy of the strata plan
It is important to look over the strata plan so you can see what area of the property you are responsible for.
So, as you can see, there is a lot to go over when you buy a condo. That being said, if you feel confused at all about these documents, ask your realtor! They’ve read hundreds of these documents and know how to best decipher some of the weird language.
If you have any more questions regarding strata documents or are looking into purchasing a condo in Vancouver, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!