So you’re looking at purchasing property in a phased development where the strata has already been formed. How do you know if the strata is healthy? We asked Duncan Mackenzie, director of Vancouver Island for of AWM Alliance Real Estate Group for advice.
Review the property’s common areas: lobby, grounds, hallways, and any amenities. If they appear clean, orderly, and well maintained, that would indicate that the strata corporation has an effective operating budget and is taking good care of the place.
MacKenzie suggests you review the council meeting minutes to see if action has been taken on the issues raised. Phased developments often start small, with additional phases joining the strata over any given year, and minutes should demonstrate a continued effective interaction between the strata council and the developer. By reading the minutes prospective homebuyers can confirm whether the work discussed at meetings is actually being dealt with in a timely manner.
As of 2011, all strata corporations in BC must prepare a Depreciation Report [link to http://www.housing.gov.bc.ca/pub/stratapdf/Guide12.pdf] with a Reserve Fund Study of recommendations for reserve financial resources to cover anticipated repairs, replacements, and improvements. Most strata corporations in BC will need to undertake this study by December 13, 2013. (Exceptions can be made for strata corporations that pass a resolution by a 3/4 vote to waive themselves from the regulation for a period of one year.)
AWM Alliance Real Estate Group has managed The Hudson since its inception and other properties throughout Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, providing resources for issues relating to bylaws and the Strata Property Act. They also facilitate communication by designing a community website specific to each property—a convenient way to access online services, exchange ideas and information about the property, and share news. The site acts as an online office that never closes.