What is a Non Conforming Strata and why do they exists? First we must understand what a "strata" is. Most condominiums Downtown Vancouver are stratified. There are some leaseholds and some co-ops but the majority of the condos that you see are stratified. This means that each unit is separately owned and each owner is responsible for their space. The common areas, amenities (pool, gym, lounge etc), roof, exterior and windows are all the responsibility of the strata. If the roof leaks, the strata decides how to fix it. They also decide how to pay for it. Depending on what they have in their contingency fund they may take money from the contingency or they may propose a “special levy” to help pay for the costs. Special Levy’s are paid by unit entitlement. This means that you pay based on your INTERIOR square footage. A 500 square foot one bedroom will pay less than a 1500 square foot 3 bedroom.
So what is a non-conforming strata and why do they exists? Most non-conforming stratas exist when a detached home is converted into multiple residences, or when a newly built property is built with multiple units. You will see non-conforming strata situations in duplexes, triplexes or heritage homes that have been converted into multiple residences. What does it mean for the owners? It means that they do not have strata meetings, generally their strata fees are MUCH lower, and when something comes up that needs to be repaired the owners come together and decide how to fix it. It tends to be a much more relaxed, less formal way of living with “neighbours” however it is important that all parties are on board to maintain the property.
Where do these exists? We generally do not see these downtown Vancouver. East Vancouver, Mount Pleasant and the Commercial Drive area are where we see the most 1/2 Duplexes, and in turn, non-conforming stratas.
If you have any further questions please send me a message or give me a call. With the amount of 1/2 duplexes, triplexes or other non-conforming stratas on the market I am happy to give you more information on actual market value, help negotiate through the complex process and give you all of the information that you will need on these types of homes.
Most people understand the value of working with a professional Realtor when it comes time to sell their home, but what about working with a professional when you are looking to buy? I come across this quite often where buyers think that they should negotiate directly with the selling agent. Is this true? Generally NO.
The selling Realtor has a FIDUCIARY DUTY to their client (the seller) not to the buyer. They have also likely been working together and are working to get them the best deal not someone that they have just met at an open house or a random phone call. The selling agent has a duty to represent the seller which means protecting their privacy, negotiating for the best price and coming to the best possible terms for their client. As a buyer if you disclose anything to the selling agent, by law they need to disclose it to their seller!
Having a Realtor work with you during the buying process will not only insure that you are saving time and energy through the process but it will also enable you to see properties before the public, have access to insider information, and help you negotiate based on what is realistic for each individual property.
Having you own Buyer’s Agent will provide additional services to help with the home buying process such as:
- Provide guidance in your selection (Buyer’s Agents have intimate knowledge of neighbourhoods, schools and communities plans).
- Arrange for private viewings of homes that may interest you.
- Help you determine current market value for homes of your interest.
- Provide information from the Listing Agent, City Hall, Strata corporation that may be integral to the offer.
- Help write up a contract that will protect you legally should anything happen (and things do happen!!!).
- Provide expert negotiation to get an agreed upon price as quickly as possible.
- Assist in finding inspectors, contractors, mortgage professionals and any other professionals that may make your life easier.
- Negotiate ideal completion and possession dates.
DOES IT COST TO WORK WITH A BUYER AGENT?
In most cases working with a buyer agent is free for you. Sellers agree to pay both sides of the transaction as they understand most qualified buyers are represented. In the odd case where there is a discount brokerage selling it may need to be negotiated but rarely will a buyer ever need to pay.
If you have any questions about working with a professional buyer agent or would like to discuss the process please give me a call 604-363-7858.