Pros and Cons Of Purchasing In A Strata

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When purchasing a home in BC there are a lot of options. One of the largest options is strata property meaning most condos and townhouses across BC. Whether you are a first-time homeowner or simply downsizing, understanding what to expect before making an offer on the property remains a priority. Strata properties are a great option depending on your lifestyle and preference.

Strata property refers to a group of individually-owned units such as apartments, sharing common areas like gardens, driveways, and roofs, among others. The unit owners collectively share expenses required for maintaining the common areas. Strata management services manage the building in line with strata rules, bylaws, and regulations.

Let’s look at a few pros for strata properties:

  1. Maintenance
    • Unlike a detached home, all strata units put money in towards upcoming maintenance needed, such as a new roof or exterior paint.
    • Strata’s have a Contingency Reserve Fund which takes a percentage of your monthly fee and puts it into an account for any big projects or issues that come up. This can save you money down the road so there are not unexpected bills when you are dealing with an emergency in the building.
  2. Lock and Leave

    • While you usually would have to worry about who is going to mow the lawn, clean the gutter, shoveling the snow, or even security when on vacation, things are different under a strata title. With strata, all these are taken care of by the strata management services. So, all you have to do if you want to go on holiday is pack your bags and enjoy your holiday.
  3. Location
    • Anyone looking for a property understands the importance of being close to essential amenities such as shopping centres. You can be walking distance to everything you need.
  4. Downsizing

    • Strata units are usually smaller than your family house, but the quality is still good. This option is better because your lifestyle is not interrupted.
    • This means less to clean and maintain.
    • Less expensive to maintain.
  5. First time home buyers
    • The purchase price for a strata unit is typically cheaper than a single family house in BC. This allows you to get into the market sooner and make a step towards owning your own single family home soon.
    • Taking on home ownership can be costly. Purchasing in a strata allows you to share the costs with other owners.

Now for the cons of strata living:

  1. Restrictions
    • When purchasing in a strata there are rules and bylaws everyone needs to follow. Such as pet restrictions, occupancy rules and more.
    • The strata will also have to approve any renovations you are doing to the unit other than painting but if you wanted to reconfigure your layout or take out a wall, even replace the flooring, the strata would need to know and approve the renovation.
  2. Delay in Decision Making

    • Decision making in strata living may be very lengthy. The delay happens because decisions like installing an air conditioner have to be approved by the Council of Owners.
  3. Neighbours
    • Like everywhere you cannot choose your neighbors but when you live in a strata you have neighbors above you, beside you and below you most of the time. Plus you share walls with them so they can hear you just as much as you can hear them. This isn’t greta if your neighbors live on a different schedule when you.
  4.  Additional Levies Buildings Age

    • As a building gets older it will have major work to upkeep the building such as plumbing, electrical, membrane and more. Which cases strata to put out a special levy to all the strata units when maintenance is required by strata management services are subject to change and most likely to increase with time.
  5.  Loss of Value

    • Your unit’s value significantly depends on whether or not the building receives upgrades or heads downhill. You do not have control over the entire building, meaning if the value drops, so will your unit’s value.

Bottom Line:

If you are interested in strata living, ensure to make all the necessary inquiries regarding the property of interest. Find out about dispute resolution, strata management services, upgrades and more; so that you know what you are getting into before making the purchase. Your Real Estate Agent should be knowledgable and able to guide you through the process which pointing out any major issues within the building/strata documents. Another thing you can do to be more aware about the building is get an inspection during subject removal. This inspection will not only point out issues in the unit but also the building.



It is so important to us that you feel empowered and educated throughout the buying and selling process – if you have questions or would like to know more about specific buildings, give us a call, text, or email with any questions you have! We can answer all of your questions, and give you specific tips related to the strata, buildings, and more. We’re here to help.

Check out some of our other blogs just like this one:

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The Ultimate Guide for First Time Homebuyers in BC

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