Buying a Condo in Vancouver

Buying a condo in Vancouver can be exciting and confusing. If you are ready to purchase a condo, have a look at the information below – it may save you time and money!

Commercial Building

1. Consider only an Independent Inspector who is not related to any party involved in the buying process.

2. Please provide your inspector with the MLS listing #. We consider it as important to review the listing agent’s description of he property. This is important, because, you may come along descriptions, such as new “rain screen” wall design. However, when inspecting the exterior walls it is sometimes discovered that only one single wall got repaired. The buyer may face the danger of facing eventually large unexpected assessments to pay for these deficiencies.

3. We recommend that you receive a copy of the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS), since this is an important document. The PDS will tell you in writing what your entitlements (e.g. locker / parking space) are. The PDS will also advise you who to contact on council if you require more information before removing your subject clauses.

4. We highly recommend that you review the Information Certificate (Form B). This is a very important document. It will advise, amongst other things, how much money is in the Constituency Reserve Fund (CRF). This is an emergency account. Under the Strata Property Act the owners are obliged to contribute a certain percentage of their maintenance fees, to cover large expenditures. Some examples would be re-plumbing, asbestos removal, building envelope repair or roof replacement.

You may be informed that there is a large emergency fund. You may learn that the STRATA has the amount of $X. We always recommend a simple test to determine just how much money is available in their CRF per unit.

Divide amount in the CRF by the number of units.

Number of units: 200

CRF = $250,000

Available per unit: $ 1,250

5. We also consider an additional figure for many condo buyers, purchasing a home where they actually want to live in, as extremely important. How many renters are living in the complex and is there a bylaw in place to regulate renting. This must also be considered as important in case you are looking for an investment property.

6. We recommend to our clients that you kindly ask your realtor to write into your Contract for Purchase that you are to receive copies of all Engineers and “Other Contractors” reports that have been submitted to the STRATA council over the last six (6) years.

7. We would like to advise you to read all minutes carefully. Please note that The Homeowners Protection Office recommends that for older buildings and especially for structures with face sealed stucco and the once which already got partially repaired, the STRATA should have an annual building envelope inspection performed by a professional building envelope specialist.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) buyers who did not request and read all the documents mentioned before, received notice for special assessments up to $200,000 within one year of purchase. CMHC also says, that many first time home buyers did not understand many of the information they were reading. Please ask your realtor any questions you may have. He is the professional who deals with these subjects on a daily basis.

8. We advise you to be careful in case you come along a realtor who advises you against an inspection. In case a realtor is trying to influence you, please be aware and follow your instinct. You want to protect the largest investment you probably make in your lifetime.


Author David Fairbairn has years of experience with Strata corporations, Leaky Condo remediation and commercial buildings. Trust him to perform your Condo Inspection! Call 604 395-2795 or email him at

About the Author DavidFairbairn

Author David Fairbairn is a certified, licensed home inspector serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. He has been featured in the media and has contributed to "24" Newspaper, and Global TV. He has spent years working with residential and commercial building projects, and holds a Power Engineering License in BC. Why not give him a call for your next Home Inspection? Call 604 395-2795 or email today!

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