Strata Living: Not for Everyone

Living in a strata is a fact of life for many in the Lower Mainland and especially in Vancouver if home ownership is to be achievable. There are many benefits to strata life while at the same time some perils to watch out for. Below is a list in no particular order of things to be aware of in a strata living situation:

Breaking bylaws

Strata corporations may have bylaws that lean towards fascist in some respects. Examples might be whether or not you can barbecue on “your” balcony or if pets need to be leashed in common areas. A client of mine quickly amassed fines of several hundreds of dollars when her tenants left some empty boxes in the underground parking space. In extreme cases, strata unit owners can be compelled to sell their property if they break strata rules over time without any effort to alter their rule-breaking ways.

Self-determination (or lack thereof)

Important decisions like whether or not to undertake major repairs to a strata building will be decided on through a majority vote by strata members. That is, the strata members that bother to attend the AGM or SGM either in person or by proxy. I’ve seen important votes decided by less than 10% of the owners of a particular building because so many couldn’t be bothered to show up.

Naughty Neighbors

Just because you own a strata property does not guarantee that your neighbors will be quiet and neighborly. There seems to be a misconception that only tenants tend to be noisy and difficult to live next to. I know of many stories of strata owners that are nearly as bad or worse. Also, if you own in a strata and you end up not getting along with your adjacent neighbour it’s certainly not easy or inexpensive to move away as compared to a more mobile tenant choosing to move away.

I welcome questions you have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.

New and Improved Name and Prices – The Village on False Creek

What used to be the Olympic Village is now The Village on False Creek. The media releases might have you believing that the condo development is almost sold out. Not exactly accurate. The limited release of units last week (230 of a total 474) have been selling briskly with 130 units under contract. All of these buyers have a 7 day ‘right-of-rescission’ period in which they can cancel their contracts for any reason – buyer’s remorse for instance.

The asking price reductions are substantial but seem to bring the units more inline with market value rather than making them breathtakingly low in asking price per square foot (PPSF). The lowest PPSF from the marketing material seems to be approximately $672 and this is for a 2 bedroom on a lower floor. This is still a higher PPSF than several nearby developments. Time will tell if the recent sales pace can be sustained over the longer term. This will probably be more a function of  the market strength in general than anything else. The taxpayers of Vancouver, owners of the development, can breathe a little easier now that units are moving.

Finally, as for rental units: “127 along the back row of the complex will be rented out temporarily to help fill out the village population”. Presumably these units will also eventually be sold by the city but that may end up being decided by the civic government of the day. Many taxpayers in this city would prefer that these be sold rather than the city becoming long term landlords over what must amount to nearly 100 million dollars in real estate.

I welcome any questions you may have about selling or buying.
Feel free to comment here or contact me directly.