Important Tip When Buying a Vancouver Condo

It’s your third weekend to head out and view 5 new listings that just hit the market on Thursday. There is one listing in the 5 that looks perfect in the photos but it’s your first time going to this particular building. Your real estate agent has told you the building looks good and he has not heard anything bad about its construction and / or condition. Once inside the condo you are excited about the view and the layout. After you have viewed the amenities, common areas, underground parking, storage locker and bicycle room you know that this could be your next home. This condo checks off all the boxes and you tell your agent you would like to make an offer.

Read the Strata Documents Before You Offer

Before a pen is put to paper (fingertips to a keyboard) a good buyers agent will ask for a copy of all the strata documents from the listing agent. Many buyers agents today are too quick to write an offer subject to the buyer approving the strata documents. I always read the entire strata document package before I sit down with my client to write an offer on a Vancouver condo for sale. I will note any information that may affect the value of the listing or be an unwanted cost in the near or distant future. Strata documents to focus on are the following.

  • Form B and financials
  • Minutes of meeting including all AGM’s and Special AGM’s
  • Depreciation report and any Engineers Reports
  • Strata plan
  • By-Laws and Rules

Once all the documents have been read and a current market evaluation is done, both my client and I will have a clear understanding of how to proceed in writing an offer. Even though we have read the documents I still include the standard seven business day subject clause for approving all documents:

Clause: “SUBJECT to the Buyer, on or before 7 business days from date of acceptance receiving and approving the following strata documents…”

During this seven-day subject period we can request further information about the building knowing there are no surprises or items that will affect the value or use of the condo.

Should the listing agent have a copy of the strata document before the first day of showings?

Yes, without question. A listing agent should have all the strata documents ready and available when the listing hits the market. If the listing agent does not have the documents then they are not doing their job properly or professionally.

A few facts of why strata documents are important before making an offer?

  • Legal strata plan may show a smaller square footage than the advertised square footage.
  • Depreciation Report shows areas of concern and potential special assessments.
  • Form B may state pending changes to the By-Laws.
  • Minutes of meetings often tell a tale of how the community operates within the building.

In summary, knowing as much as possible about the building and the strata before you write an offer is important.

Written by Don Urquhart – Vancouver Real Estate Agent

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