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Old 05-23-2013, 10:42 AM   #626
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It's hard to guage how honest they really are.

When I bought my place I told our realtor what I thought my top dollar would be for the place, and funny how the price magically made it right to that value. Almost like the two real estate agents (mine & theirs) got together and said "Hey these guys will be willing to pay this much, so let's pretend to do a few negotiations and then get to that number"
Well, I found it interesting that I had 2 of them in and they both came with the exact same number for expected sale. Exact. Nothing of condition, or whats been done...just here it is.

The first guy was willing to play a bit on price (asking vs. expected sale) but the second guy was list it low and blow it out.

Obviously, on a condo, in a down market these guys are all looking for one thing: quick sale. Price low, blow it out quick on minimal effort and it improves my numbers and looks good on reports.

There IS a better system.

We have the internet. So we can all search for homes ourselves, which is what we do. Then we call up our realtor(tm) and say, "this, this, this and that...saturday between 2-6"

The actual negotiation? Not hard. I'm asking 100, you are willing 80, but really 90. How hard is it to come to some number between 85 and 95? The true art of it is "can I get you to 95?"

Realtors(tm) have no interest in that little extra. They don't. You can say "well, it increases their commission". Sure, or they risk losing the sale, and having to spend another saturday looking for another one...over whatever amount that little extra represents.

They help you with paperwork...sure...but you still use a lawyer to do the actual paperwork. Am I willing to pay a lawyer an extra thou? 2 thou to just do the whole thing? Yeah...over 10g for a realtor.

All of it right is blocked by one thing...there is no website that can compete with:

REALTOR.ca -Welcome

And realtors(tm) don't exist. They are all part of the same system..the Real Estate Board. They are an owned thing. Trademarked.

It's brutal.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:17 AM   #627
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I find it surprising that strata fees can climb that much in just 4 years. At my unit, I think we've only had 1 small strata fee increase over 4 years, and that was because the original hot water tanks had to be completely swapped out for a boiler system.

I also find it surprising that residents can put up with such a huge increase in strata fees, esp when the building is still relatively new. Certainly it gets voted down at the strata AGM?
Well, another consideration is that most condo owners will sell their unit at some point and want to ensure that their building is well-maintained so they can sell their units more easily down the road. If you vote down an increase, you just defer what is usually essential maintenance to future years.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:17 PM   #628
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Strata Fees:

So in regards to the lame realtor yesterday^^, he did tell me about one thing regarding strata fees.

Apparently, the laws regarding their funding have changed that complexes need to have a depreciation report on all common property(siding, roofing, pipes, mechanicals) and have a funding plan for their replacement.

Basically, that backtracks to: we know we need to replace the roof in 10 years, we know its going to cost this much, so what does our strata fee need to be now in order to fund the maintenance of the building/complex.

So you are going to see a change in how buildings determine what their fee is going to be and how its charged.


Depreciation Reports

Status: In Effect

A depreciation report help strata corporations plan for the repair, maintenance and replacement of common property, limited common property and common assets.

Strata corporations in British Columbia need to obtain depreciation reports every three years unless they hold an annual 3/4 (three quarter) vote to exempt or have four, or fewer, strata lots. There are different timing requirements for the first depreciation report depending on when the strata corproation was formed.
For strata corporations formed on or before December 14, 2011, a depreciation report is required by December 13, 2013.
For strata corporations formed after December 14, 2011, a depreciation report is required within 6 months after their second AGM. While the requirement for new strata corporations took effect via an Order in Council dated February 28, 2013, it will take several weeks for the new changes to be reflected in the online version of the strata property regulations.
See Guide12: Depreciation Reports

Further Resources:CHOA (Condominium Home Owners Association) and VISOA (Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association).


Yup, the strata council that I was part of before I sold my condo had to deal with this. Lots of angry owners, but our hands were forced. It's better to deal with it on a higher monthly strata fee, than to have a special assessment every few years to deal with these huge increases. Lots of people are new condo owners who have never had to deal with a $8000 special assessment levied because their suppressed strata fees never covered the future large repairs (ie. elevator replacement).

They've also never had to deal with shitty developers who put in sub-par HVAC systems, poor plumbing in the pool area, etc. Sure, your unit has shiny quartz counters and lovely Bosch appliances, but too bad they skimped on the basics in the actual building itself. Of course warranty only covers something that breaks down, not things that are inefficient or prone to failure every 5 years. You think replacing a furnace in a single-family home is expensive? Look at what needs to budgeted in a high-rise tower...
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:50 PM   #629
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Well, another consideration is that most condo owners will sell their unit at some point and want to ensure that their building is well-maintained so they can sell their units more easily down the road. If you vote down an increase, you just defer what is usually essential maintenance to future years.
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Flip side is that if you are currently selling your condo, a lower strata fee is more enticing. One of the past strata members graduated from school and was about to put their place up for sale and was very vocal against raising the strata fee's in the strata meetings.

On a seperate note, I am not bashing anyone for wanting to buy a brand new condo, but my experience has shown it doesn't make sense in the long run if you plan on living there and even worse if you are renting it out. In the first few years, everything is fine and dandy, but wait till it hits the 5 year mark. That is when things start to break and issues appear and then wait and see how the strata attempts to get warrenty coverage on these issues. The new home 2/5/10 year warranty is garbage. Try collecting from a builder that goes "bankrupt".
Our strata was trying to do due dilligence and was going over the building just before the 5 year mark. Between then and now, which has only been 3 years, many new "issues" have popped up and the general concensus is just pay the $$$ and get it fixed now instead of sueing the builder or trying to get the new home warranty to pay for the fix.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:58 PM   #630
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speaking of which i've recently found out that the new home insurance stuff has limits from someone i know's experience...for example...a shitty developer puts in a crappy drainage system on a new building...the new building floods causing X damage...developer refuses to fix. warranty kicks in to fix the damage....the damage amounts to say 1.5million...now something breaks down a few years down the road..we're still under warranty right? - nope...you maxed out the limit on your warranty from the first problem...now strata has to fork up that cost of repairs of the second problem...gg...
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:58 PM   #631
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Yup, the strata council that I was part of before I sold my condo had to deal with this. Lots of angry owners, but our hands were forced. It's better to deal with it on a higher monthly strata fee, than to have a special assessment every few years to deal with these huge increases. Lots of people are new condo owners who have never had to deal with a $8000 special assessment levied because their suppressed strata fees never covered the future large repairs (ie. elevator replacement).
Which I read as, "hey! we know some of you are poo-poo raped on your finances as it is, and so to go back and dip into your equity to pay for a special assessment which may or may not exist is going to be a problem"

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They've also never had to deal with shitty developers who put in sub-par HVAC systems, poor plumbing in the pool area, etc. Sure, your unit has shiny quartz counters and lovely Bosch appliances, but too bad they skimped on the basics in the actual building itself. Of course warranty only covers something that breaks down, not things that are inefficient or prone to failure every 5 years. You think replacing a furnace in a single-family home is expensive? Look at what needs to budgeted in a high-rise tower...
One of our buildings was built in the early 60's, so things are starting to get kind of really bad and holy shit does some of this stuff add up.

15k king kong sized hot water tank
80k windows
80k roof
thousands per apartment

On condos, I do find you also have an issue of people not maxing the life out of some things too. In our rental building situation, at least a small group of us can look, get opinion and decide to repair/replace and ultimately, one guy writes a phat check from his account.

I a condo...50 people all put in their 2 cents, the condo board is inevitably run by the older people with the most time to devote to these things and the people that make the decisions are looking at the 2 best things that they have control over: how it affects them personally, and if they can afford it or not.

Soo...if they want to sell, or tap equity or whatever...they vote for the new boiler, write the check with other peoples money and call it a day.

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Old 05-23-2013, 03:07 PM   #632
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i'm still waiting for your avatar to change to a super hero
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:17 PM   #633
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On a seperate note, I am not bashing anyone for wanting to buy a brand new condo, but my experience has shown it doesn't make sense in the long run if you plan on living there and even worse if you are renting it out. In the first few years, everything is fine and dandy, but wait till it hits the 5 year mark. That is when things start to break and issues appear and then wait and see how the strata attempts to get warrenty coverage on these issues. The new home 2/5/10 year warranty is garbage. Try collecting from a builder that goes "bankrupt".
Our strata was trying to do due dilligence and was going over the building just before the 5 year mark. Between then and now, which has only been 3 years, many new "issues" have popped up and the general concensus is just pay the $$$ and get it fixed now instead of sueing the builder or trying to get the new home warranty to pay for the fix.
Couldn't agree more with your experience here. A lot of developers really use the crappiest stuff during the building phase, and then they won't honour the warranty, or try however they can to weasel their way out of it. Some air exchanger thing failed at my building, and it was supposed to be covered under the 2 or 5 year warranty when it happened. But the developer just kept dragging us on, and for a while, only offered to partially pay for the replacement. I forgot exactly how much the unit was, but it was definitely only something in the low 5-figures range, so it is really an insignificant cost to them. But nope, they had to drag their a$$ on it.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:36 PM   #634
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But nope, they had to drag their a$$ on it.
This is basically what we are facing. Current building is built on the side of a mountain. The bulders didn't go down deep enough with their pilings and now there are visible cracks in the walls of the "underground" parkade with orange coloured water stains running into the parkade. I use "underground" because not all of the parkade us underground since it was built on the side of a mountain.
The builder sent people in to put concrete ontop of the cracks so we have greyish streaks across our white and orange walls.

To get them to properly fix the walls is going to take a lot of time and $$$ which means we would have to sue them to get stuff done.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:07 AM   #635
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Damn... This thread blows. I was going to come in and ask if buying a place in the upcoming solo district would be a good idea. Cheap places from the high 200s (15th floor 1 bedroom/bath). There would be no mortgage as my buddy and I were going to split the cost and use the income from rent as an extra source of money.

Doesn't look like a good idea anymore after reading about all the issues everyone seems to have with condos.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:25 AM   #636
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No mortgage? You guys have 150k cash each to throw down? There are much better ways at this time to invest than gvrd real estate.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:53 AM   #637
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Which I read as, "hey! we know some of you are poo-poo raped on your finances as it is, and so to go back and dip into your equity to pay for a special assessment which may or may not exist is going to be a problem"



One of our buildings was built in the early 60's, so things are starting to get kind of really bad and holy shit does some of this stuff add up.

15k king kong sized hot water tank
80k windows
80k roof
thousands per apartment

On condos, I do find you also have an issue of people not maxing the life out of some things too. In our rental building situation, at least a small group of us can look, get opinion and decide to repair/replace and ultimately, one guy writes a phat check from his account.

I a condo...50 people all put in their 2 cents, the condo board is inevitably run by the older people with the most time to devote to these things and the people that make the decisions are looking at the 2 best things that they have control over: how it affects them personally, and if they can afford it or not.

Soo...if they want to sell, or tap equity or whatever...they vote for the new boiler, write the check with other peoples money and call it a day.
I find it entirely dependent on the building's makeup on who sits on the council. I've had one where the building's council was old farts who had really no clue how to take care of a building or understand the intricate nature of strata law (Kerrisdale). The one in Richmond was much better, we had a structural engineer, a civil engineer, an accountant as our treasurer, etc. It was pretty efficient, but that still doesn't matter when it's hard chasing down the developer on building flaws and outstanding issues.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:50 AM   #638
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LAND not Condos.

If you have 150k to play around and you want to just use to sustain the ownership with rent.. get a house in the large southern interior cities like Kamloops, Kelowna etc, any house that is close to the universities.. They rent about the same range in Vancouver vs cost of the place. A lot of Chinese university students just rent based on location and view not price.. $2800 is what a 3 bedroom house goes for for a $400k house. Not to mention foreign students who go to those universities are not the top of the barrel intellectually but their family are usually very wealthy. eg TRU was ranked dead last in terms of research last year. We had a student that rented the place for 7 years just to finish his undergrad. For crying out loud.. soccer is a credit course, still took him 7 years!

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Damn... This thread blows. I was going to come in and ask if buying a place in the upcoming solo district would be a good idea. Cheap places from the high 200s (15th floor 1 bedroom/bath). There would be no mortgage as my buddy and I were going to split the cost and use the income from rent as an extra source of money.

Doesn't look like a good idea anymore after reading about all the issues everyone seems to have with condos.

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Old 05-24-2013, 12:20 PM   #639
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i would imagine you also need to ensure that the rent is cheaper than campus housing/dorms
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #640
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Not really.. they rather have drive ways to park their Range Rovers. They all want to live independently in their own version of luxury than dorm food etc.

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i would imagine you also need to ensure that the rent is cheaper than campus housing/dorms
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:23 PM   #641
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I don't understand purchasing a place in the GVRD to rent it out. I bought my 2 bedroom in edmonton for 240k, and rent it for 1400, and have a small positive cash-flow after taxes, stratas and mortgage. Wont you be losing like 500+ a month on this after all is said and done? Maybe I misunderstood, and you are buying this to live in and saying renting is an option, if you choose to leave?
Rent is surprisingly high in Edmonton. Talking to a few owners, they are making a small positive cash flow after costs. That said, strata fees continue to rise, leading them to increase rent.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:13 PM   #642
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People have been crying bubble for years, but to no avail. On the other hand, the fundamentals here have to lead to a crash this country has never seen.

I'd love to cash out, but on the other hand, I quite like where I live. I'm too old to do the basement suite thing and putting 2500 in rent per month into an older house just seems wrong (my emotions are talking and not my brain). Moving sucks and I would really own save money (and I suppose reduce risk) if I made significant compromises like giving up secure parking, in-suite laundry, and Skytrain access. I've done the research and I would save no money by renting an equivalent suite in terms of size, layout, and age. I won't be hurt by an increase in interest rates. Anyone else facing similar circumstances?
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Damn... This thread blows. I was going to come in and ask if buying a place in the upcoming solo district would be a good idea. Cheap places from the high 200s (15th floor 1 bedroom/bath). There would be no mortgage as my buddy and I were going to split the cost and use the income from rent as an extra source of money.

Doesn't look like a good idea anymore after reading about all the issues everyone seems to have with condos.
go into it dude, My Fiances Company and My Company are involved in the building of solo, and the company that is building it (Bosa) is a top notch company, the building is being built to the highest quality with only the best quality parts.
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Here is the thing. People are obviously still buying condos...there may have been a slow-down and maybe there is a bigger one coming. No, there are no longer lines around the block full of people who sell out a building in 5 mins, but people are still buying.

It may not be THE BEST investment, but maybe you are not buying it for that. Yes, single family homes and land are where to invest but maybe its not an option. Does everyone want to pay 2500$ a month for their mortgage, hell no!

Saturated market...buying air, not land...strata....too small....close neighbours....blah blah blah. Tons of cons but there are some pros. And, lets face it...some people WANT to buy a condo and that is OK. There is nothing wrong with buying a reasonably priced condo to live in.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:05 PM   #645
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Even if it is not the best investment, you can make it pretty good in that category. You just have to work on it.. eg I think if you are buying to rent out.. be specific on what your target market is.. not just "rent out".. you have to figure out who the target demographic is and select accordingly. Don't expect you can rent to real students if you have a place on Burke Mountain or don't put out ads at the last minute at summer break etc.

Typically I aim for students at universities or guest lecturers.. so my choices are around university areas.. some can afford and even want to decorate.. I recommend a few designers to work with them, charge them at cost. Students stint is 2 - 4 years then you can do a reno afterwards.

eg There are tons of places near Douglas College(s).

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Here is the thing. People are obviously still buying condos...there may have been a slow-down and maybe there is a bigger one coming. No, there are no longer lines around the block full of people who sell out a building in 5 mins, but people are still buying.

It may not be THE BEST investment, but maybe you are not buying it for that. Yes, single family homes and land are where to invest but maybe its not an option. Does everyone want to pay 2500$ a month for their mortgage, hell no!

Saturated market...buying air, not land...strata....too small....close neighbours....blah blah blah. Tons of cons but there are some pros. And, lets face it...some people WANT to buy a condo and that is OK. There is nothing wrong with buying a reasonably priced condo to live in.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:07 PM   #646
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There is a bubble but it is limited to CHMC.. it is slowly deflating.. but the thing is there are areas in Vancouver that are insane like East Van.

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People have been crying bubble for years, but to no avail. On the other hand, the fundamentals here have to lead to a crash this country has never seen.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:14 PM   #647
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eg There are tons of places near Douglas College(s).
New West is currently exploding with cheap new condos....I'm talking, like, $140k for 1 bed around Douglas.

They are VERY tempting...
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #648
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In that area I would prefer water view or further up the hill for an older house. However Douglas certificate are only 2 years, so the turnover are quite high. Capilano near campus are in demand too but the price is not in the same league.

Another cheap place that has potential is Prince George where UNBC is, since they have a med school there, the demand is there.. however finding a good manager is a pain there.

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New West is currently exploding with cheap new condos....I'm talking, like, $140k for 1 bed around Douglas.

They are VERY tempting...
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:12 PM   #649
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New West is a great place to buy right now. Yes, there is the college which does attract students, but New West is also central to everything. It is literally 20 mins to get everywhere. It is also a very "walk" friendly city for people who don't own vehicles....you are literally 5 blocks from a grocery store regardless of your location.

Over the last couple years, the city has really pushed a lot of the shit people out. I obviously have a lot of contact with people moving to the city, and everyone is young (20-35), educated, clean, normal, etc. We have great restaurants, the River Market, parks, festivals, close to the water, yoga studios, tons of shopping, and the new performing arts centre.

I use to really not like New West, but now...I totally dig it. It has a great vibe! Of all places to considering buying, I'd buy in New West hands down.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:47 AM   #650
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Cross-Canada real estate comparison - Interactive - CBC.ca
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