Buying an apartment or townhouse (strata property) requires buyers to do a little bit of homework. Below are just some of the basic steps to take in purchasing a condo.
Before you buy a strata property:
- Review Strata Council minutes for the past 12 months or more, along with by-laws, financial statements, Annual General Meeting minutes, and engineering reports that may have been completed. Look for past problems, previous repairs, special assessments, and upcoming expenditures.
- Ensure a maintenance program is in place by talking to the strata property manager to determine whether the building has a solid preventative maintenance program in place.
- Check the contingency fund since a portion of strata owners’ monthly maintenance fees must go into a “contingency fund” to pay for extraordinary repairs, such as a new roof or exterior painting. Find out if the contingency fund is large enough to cover any upcoming expenses.
- Review the Strata Property Condition Disclosure Statement which sellers are strongly encouraged to complete. It is a checklist about the property’s condition. Buyers should carefully review it for any defects or potential problems. The statement can be legally incorporated into the Contract for Purchase and Sale.
- Investigate the warranty program and builder’s background, whether the condo is new or resale. Your REALTOR® can find out what type of warranty the building carries, noting the limits and duration of coverage. S/he may also be able to help you obtain background information about the builder/developer of the project.
- Hire a professional home inspector with proper accreditation and one who carries errors and omissions insurance to inspect the condition of the suite, common areas, and the overall building structure.