Okanagan Condo or House

We often get questions about the difference of condominium ownership vs single-family ownership as many of our clients consider buying a condominium as opposed to a traditional single-family home.

We wanted to share with all of you what we tell our client so that you too can make the most informed of decisions.

Considering that last year in the South Okanagan, there were almost 1800 unit sales of residential property in the area and out of all of those sold units almost 19% of those were condominium sales!

Condominiums Are Popular

That is almost 1 in 5 unit sales! The gaining popularity of condominium living is no surprise as condo living can be a wonderful way to get into home-ownership without worrying about all of the maintenance that comes with single-family homes and sometimes it can be more affordable. But benefits can sometimes come with trade off’s which is why it is important to fully understand the ins and out, so to speak, of condo ownership and living.

You are Buying Into a Corporation

Let’s start at the beginning shall we...with one of the largest distinguishes of free-hold single family ownership and condominium ownership which is that when you buy a condominium you buy into a corporation. When you buy a single-family home you have control over your domicile including expenditures whereas when you acquire a condominium you become part owner in a corporation with shared rights and responsibilities. This means that it is important for Buyers to do some research prior to investing into the corporation.

This is why it is common practice for REALTORS® to request the financial statements, budgets and confirm strata fees for their clients as part of their assistance to helping buyers perform due diligence when acquiring condominiums.

Each Condominium Has It’s Own Personality

Every strata corporation has it’s own set of ByLaw’s & Rules & Regulations detailing how the strata corporation operates and the responsibilities of both Strata Lot Owners and the Strata Corporation. It is important for Buyers to review the ByLaw’s & Rules to ensure that the lifestyle offered at the strata matches the one desired by the Buyer.

Strata Meeting Minutes Is A Great Way To Get To Know A Strata

Every Strata is legislated by the Strata Property Act which requires Annual General Meetings. Strata Corporations have regular Strata Council meetings, which all Strata Lot Owners are invited to. The business of the strata corporation is conducted and minutes are taken. REALTORS® commonly request 2 year’s worth of meeting minutes for their Buyer clients to review as they know that this is the best way for their clients to become familiar with what has been transpiring in the corporation they are considering acquiring an interest in.

A Special Assessment Is Not Always So Special

Special Assessments are voted on by Strata Corporations and if approved run with the Strata Lot meaning that even if a Strata Lot is sold the debt/special assessment is owed by the Strata Lot. Strata Corporations approve Special Assessments to pay for expenditures that are not provided for in the Budget and that the Contingency Reserve Fund cannot. Don’t get us wrong, special assessments can be a valuable mechanism whereby strata corporations make significant improvements or repairs and we kind of like the pay as you go model!

RE/MAX Agents just want to ensure that our Buyer clients buy in an informed fashion and know if there are currently any special assessments or if there are any planned. Additionally, your RE/MAX Agent will insert a provision into your Contract of Purchase & Sale requiring the Seller to pay any Special Levy passed after the Contract of Purchase & Sale is accepted but before closing.

To Amenity or Not To Amenity

That is The Question Amenities such as roof top terraces, lap pools, business centers, club houses, BBQ areas, security, and concierge services rock! Nothing better that coming home from a hard day’s work, picking up your delivery from the concierge before hitting the lap pool and then head up to the common area terrace to throw a steak on. But that pool, terrace and BBQ need to be cleaned, maintained/repaired and replaced at some point and all of those features have costs associated with them and you now are a part Owner.

You have questions, we have answers! RE/MAX