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Buying a Condo in BC

Buying a condo in BC can be complex and overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Due diligence when buying a condo means reviewing 200 – 500 pages or more of meeting minutes, financial statements, depreciation reports, and other documents. We review these documents and provide critical information and insights in a simple, easy-to-read summary to help save you time, reduce liability, and ensure a successful transaction.

This information is here to help you understand the essential parts of buying a condo or a townhouse, alert you to potential issues, and guide you through the process. We share insights from 30 years of experience in Vancouver’s real estate market.

Avoid unexpected costs or conflicts

Must have documents

Reviewing and understanding all the documents involved in a strata transaction is critical to ensuring a sound investment and a smooth ownership experience. These documents provide essential insights into the strata’s management, financial health, and potential issues. They should be carefully examined for any red flags pointing to possible problems or liabilities. Overlooking these details can lead to unexpected costs or conflicts in the future.

Besides strata-related documents, you’ll need to know about other forms and paperwork required when buying a home in BC. Scroll down to the “KNOW WHAT MATTERS – ASK BEFORE YOU BUY” section to read our blog posts highlighting potential problems and essential details that could affect your investment.

  • Property Condition Disclosure Statement - Strata Properties

    The Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PDS) is widely used in the real estate industry. Its purpose is to disclose the condition of their property to potential buyers when it’s listed for sale. This statement provides a transparent account of the property’s current state, including any known defects, repairs, or issues that could impact its value or safety. Its role is crucial in the property transaction process, as it ensures that potential buyers have all the necessary information about the property they are considering. The statement could be crossed out if the property is rented or the seller doesn’t live there.

  • Form B Information Certificate

    When purchasing a strata property, real estate agents, potential buyers, and lawyers often require an Information Certificate, also known as Form B. However, authorized parties or owners can request this certificate at any time. Form B contains crucial information about the strata lot, such as the amount of strata fees, any outstanding balances, details about parking spots, lockers, and other relevant information. Along with Form B, the strata council or manager must provide a copy of the current budget, the latest depreciation report, and the rules.

  • Insurance Summary

    The insurance summary is a document provided by the property management company that outlines the insurance coverage, deductibles, and insurance terms for the strata and building. Your condo insurance covers the buildings and structures shown on the condominium or strata plan and common property or elements, including hallways, stairs, roofs, pools, garages, driveways, etc. It also covers strata assets, including lobby furniture, building maintenance equipment, etc. Lastly, it covers the liability of the condominium or strata corporation for claims of property damage and bodily injury suffered by others.

  • Strata Council Minutes

    Strata minutes are important records that provide transparency and accountability between owners and councils. They help interested parties understand the functioning of a strata corporation and identify any significant concerns or issues within the building. Strata minutes also help potential purchasers make informed decisions about investing in a specific strata corporation. They are crucial in a dispute as concrete evidence of discussions and decisions made during meetings, emphasizing their legal significance and the need for accurate and comprehensive documentation.

  • Strata Bylaws

    In British Columbia, strata bylaws are a set of rules and regulations that manage and oversee the operation of a strata corporation. The strata council creates these bylaws to ensure that all residents in the complex follow the same rules. The bylaws cover various topics, such as the use of common areas, pet policies, noise restrictions, and parking regulations. They are legally binding and enforceable; violating them can result in penalties or fines.

  • Depreciation Report

    The depreciation report is a document that informs strata lot owners about the necessary repair and replacement work, the estimated costs, and when the expenses will likely occur. It must comply with the legal requirements of the Strata Property Act and Regulation. In British Columbia, strata corporations with five or more strata lots are required to obtain depreciation reports.

  • Strata Plan

    The Strata Plan is a legal document registered at the Land Title Office. It provides the accurate square footage of a condo used for property valuation.

Questions to ask and red flags

Know what matters - Ask before you buy

In this series of articles, you’ll learn about important things to consider and common issues to watch when buying a condo or townhouse in BC.

Articles labelled “Buying a Condo” cover specific issues related to condos. Articles labelled “Buying” offer general advice for all property buyers, including those purchasing condos and townhouses.

  • Buying a Condo
    22Jun

    10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo

    Darius Dominczak

  • Buying a Condo
    14Jun

    10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo

    Darius Dominczak

    • As a first time home buyer I didn’t know what to expect when going through the purchasing process, but Darius was very good add explaining the details and steps to me. He understood my wants and needs in a condo, and filtered listings to show me places he thought I would like that were in my budget.

      I. Gasior

      Darius has engineered several condo sales and purchases for me. He will continue to get my business because I trust him to achieve the best deal possible. I would use the following terms to describe Darius in his capacity as a realtor: hardworking, reliable, trustworthy, progressive, smart. I would have no hesitation recommending the services of Darius to friend or family.

      Stan L.

      His proficiency in formulating optimal pricing strategies, rooted in thorough assessments of property value and current market dynamics, is truly remarkable. His ability to factor in location-specific supply and demand dynamics further underscores his expertise. His negotiation skills are equally impressive. He leverages his wealth of knowledge and intelligence, meticulously gathered through his extensive experience.

      J. Nienartowicz

      I have worked with Darius for the last 15 years, both in my personal capacity (as Buyer and Seller) and in my professional capacity as a real estate lawyer. Darius is always responsive, professional and very knowledgeable about the real estate market. Darius is very friendly and approachable and his extensive experience paves a smooth road from the initial contract negotiations through to completion.

      J. Wrzesniewski

      Helped me buy & sell a number of homes, both condos & detached in Coquitlam and Burnaby. The first one was close to 15 years ago and I felt the process went well. I bought 2 condos and sold 1 plus I sold a house all during COVID period.

      W. Wilkinson

    Frequently asked questions

    Looking for real estate answers? Let's chat - we're here to help.

    Ask us anything

    Do Buyers pay realtor fees in BC?

    In Canada, the property Seller typically pays the real estate commission, which is usually split between the seller’s and buyer’s agents.

    What's the difference between a condo and an apartment?

    Condo and apartment are oftentimes interchangeable terms. The only reference may be to condos being privately owned units and apartments typically being referred to as properties owned by management companies and rented out to tenants.

    Who pays property transfer tax in BC, buyer or seller?

    When buying a property in British Columbia, the buyer is required to pay Property Transfer Tax (PTT) on the transaction. The PTT is calculated as follows: 1% of the taxable transaction’s fair market value that does not exceed $200,000, and 2% of the fair market value that exceeds $200,000 but does not exceed $2,000,000.

    How does a rescission period work?

    The 3-day recission period allows buyers to rescind a contract to purchase residential real property​ up to 3 business days after an offer is accepted. The three-day period starts the first day after the accepted offer and does not include weekends or recognized holidays. It allows the buyer to walk from the deal for no reason within 3 business days. From day 4 onwards, the buyer can only walk from the deal if subjects are not removed. If rescinded, the buyer must pay the seller 0.25% of the accepted purchase price. The recission period can NOT be waived by the buyer or seller.

    It is important to note that if the offer is conditional with subject clauses to the buyer’s benefit and the buyer does not remove them, the 0.25% fee to the seller DOES NOT APPLY.

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