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Should I Hire an Inspector When Purchasing a Condominium?

A few days ago I was approached by a client with the question, "Do I need to have an inspection done when I am buying a condo?"

As a realtor I never discourage a buyer from the inspection report on the property they are purchasing. However, let me talk about the purpose of the inspection and once you understand it, you will be able to make better decision.

When you are buying a residential detached home (house), you hire an inspector to give an idea as of what kind of expenses you will be facing in the next few years in regards to the exterior, structure, and the roof. You also want to know the current state of the electrical and plumbing. This information will help you to determine the yearly maintenance budget since you own the whole building.
You do not need an inspector to tell you that the faucet is leaking, the switch is not functional or that the carper is stretched. You can do all these things by yourself in about 30 minutes.

When you are buying a condo, keep in mind that you do not own the building. It is owned in common with other owners. Therefore your maintenance costs are already established and included in your monthly strata fee.
When you hire a regular inspector they will spend most of their time researching whether your faucet is leaking, or checkin the light switch functionality.
If you decide to  hire an inspector, ask them to perform the inspection on the building itself, especially if you suspect that the building may have some water penetration issues (you may have heard of the Leaky Condo Phase).
It's very important to read the strata documentation to research whether the building had any issues in the past and if there is any indication of future problems.

There are a few inspectors that specialize in determining the health of the building and they will be able to give you good idea if you are making right choice buying your new condo.

Have a conversation with your realtor about these issues and they will be able to point you in the right direction. If you don't have a Realtor, call me or leave a comment on this article.



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What is a pre-sale?

Example scenario: When the developer intends to build an apartment building and applies for financing, the bank will grant financing under certain conditions. One of them will likely be a certain percentage of pre-sales the developer will need to secure before receiving the funds.
It is common practice for a developer to approach several real estate investors and offer them an opportunity to purchase units of the non-existent building at a discounted price, and on good terms.

Once the number of pre-sales is accomplished, the developer goes ahead with the construction, which will likely take two years or longer to complete. During construction, their marketing team offers the remainder of the units for sale at market value to the public.

If you are a RE investor, you know that it is preferable to be buying at the pre-sale prices, not market value prices.

The question is, how do you get the invitation to buy a pre-sale?
In the past many years, investors have made substantial income by buying at wholesale prices and selling at retail prices even before they needed to complete their purchase. I saw many of them lining up and sometimes even camping overnight in front of the sales center to get a chance to buy at lower prices, but not everyone was lucky enough. You needed to be well-connected to get an opportunity, and you had to act fast.

Today is a bit of a different story. Several projects in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley offer really good prices and incentives to secure a unit now and complete the purchase two or three years later. The list of incentives varies from one project to the next. Besides attractive prices, you can get low deposit amounts (5-15%), low or no assignment fees, free updates, a mortgage rate buy-down program, extra parking and more.

A month ago, I helped a few of my clients purchase a presale in Surrey that sold out in 2 days, and I know of another good developer that will be offering a few units for sale as well.

If you would like to know more about these opportunities, I would encourage you to call or email me, and I’ll be happy to send you details on those projects.
Kind regards,
Tibor Bogdan
Century 21 Creekside Realty Ltd.
45428 Luckakuck Way #190, Chilliwack, BC V2R 3S9
cell: 604-855-2521
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