Q. What are the benefits of condo living?
A. Condo owners love the lock-up-and-go lifestyle. It’s ideal for people who travel or are away often for extended periods of time. Condo living means your home is secure and maintenance-free while you’re gone. Plus, condo living is low maintenance. Owners pay a monthly maintenance fee and the building manager handles things like landscaping, snow removal, care of the common areas and the garbage/recycling facilities. Condo living is also one of the safest ways to live. The close proximity of neighbours results in less crime. Features like gated parkades, security cameras and personalized FOBs that restrict access to your particular floor are additional security-minded features. New condos have new technology such as pre-wiring for internet and cable. The variety and quality of amenities are attractive and often include a fitness facility, a media room, a yoga studio, a lounge or party room, a hot tub, a guest suite or even a concierge. Location of condominiums is typically convenient in major city centres and near many urban amenities including public transit, walking trails, shopping and restaurants. Condo living allows people to live in a more desirable location for a more affordable price than a house. Often, condo living is the only way to be able to live in the heart of a city. As an added bonus, condos often offer views from higher levels and provide interesting outdoor spaces.
Q. What is the benefit of buying a pre-sale home?
A. Buying pre-sale offers many advantages. Typically buying a pre-sale means you get a better selection of the type and style of home you desire than a re-sale home would, often at a better price than you would pay down the road, upon completion. Pre-sale homes are attractive to many buyers as they allow you to grow your equity now with just a deposit, (before your mortgage begins at completion). In some markets, the wait between when you buy your home and when you take possession gives you time to save by providing the convenience of installment payments. During this time, your home’s value may rise. Interest rates are held at today’s level by the banks so if the rates rise, your rate is protected until completion. If the rates fall, so will yours. Either way, you benefit. People like buying pre-sale as they take comfort in the fact that they will be moving into a brand new home that takes advantage of newest in technology and design trends.
Q. How do I know what can I afford?
A. Your first step is to talk to a mortgage specialist and get pre-approved. Mortgage decisions are based on your ability to carry a certain amount of debt, your income, and your debts and assets which include RRSPs, GICs and stocks. Banks apply two standard rules when qualifying you for a mortgage: gross debt service ratio (GDSR) and total debt service ratio (TDSR). GDSR means a maximum of 32 % of your gross income can go toward a mortgage payment and TDSR means a maximum of 40 % of your gross income can go toward servicing all your debts.
Q. How much of a deposit will I need to put down?
A. Deposit structures vary from project to project. Typically, we require an initial 5 % deposit for a pre-sale home (which is 2-3 years away from completion) with a total of 20 % deposit paid in 4 installments over a year’s time. Please ask one of our New Home Consultants for our current/project specific deposit structure.
Q. Can I use a Realtor?
A. Of course you can. We are happy to work with your Realtor, if you have one. Realtors bring market experience and professional guidance, and will handle correspondence on your behalf if you are unavailable. If you do not have a Realtor, our friendly and professional New Home Consultants can assist you in every way.
Q. What is a disclosure statement?
A. A disclosure statement is a legal document describing all of the details of the project. Usually this includes information on the developer, information pertaining to the development, information pertaining to the strata (estimated strata fees, common properties and facilities, estimated budget, rental disclosure, bylaws, limited common property and parking/storage areas), title and legal matters, construction and warranties, and approvals and finances.
Q. Once I purchase a home, will I be kept up-to-date on the building’s progress?
A. Yes, we will send you letters throughout the construction process, updating you on the progress of your home. We will also provide you with log-in credentials to our online homeowner centre where we’ll post photos and news about the development. The homeowner centre will also have copies of all the important legal documents for download.
Q. What is a strata?
A. A strata corporation is formed when land and buildings are subdivided so that parts of the total property are individually owned and parts are jointly owned by all those involved. The parts of the property that are individually owned are called strata lots (more commonly referred to as your suite or your home). The parts of the property that are jointly owned are called common property and include the land, hallways, garage and elevator. You will own 100 % of your own suite and will share in the ownership of the common property with all other owners. There is also Limited Common Property, which means common property designated for the exclusive use of the owners of one or more strata lots. This often includes a balcony or terrace. We encourage all owners to vote and participate in their strata councils, and to fully understand how the building and homes are being managed.
Q. What are bylaws?
A. Bylaws and rules are guidelines that are specific to your strata corporation, unlike the Strata Property Act. Bylaws and rules govern how the strata corporation operates and how residents behave. Bylaws are decided upon by a vote of the general ownership; rules are determined by the elected strata council. Residents must abide by the bylaws and rules or face financial penalties.
Q. Will I be able to rent out my home?
A. Yes, but like all other bylaws, this is subject to potential changes or amendments by the strata council. The main benefit for you as the original buyer of a pre-sale home is that your ability to rent out your home is grandfathered in so that even if a bylaw stating rental restriction is enacted after completion of the building, you are exempt from this restriction.
Q. Will I be able to have my pets in the building?
A. Yes. The guidelines are outlined in the Strata Property Act of BC. But like all other bylaws, the pet bylaws are subject to potential changes or amendments. The benefit with buying pre-sale is that changes in the bylaw would not affect your pet(s) for the span of its life, should you have owned this pet prior to initiation of the new bylaw.
Q. Does my home come with a warranty?
A. Your new home is covered by a comprehensive warranty, commonly referred to as the 2-5-10-year warranty. This is regulated by the Homeowner Protection Office and is supported by National Home Warranty, your third-party warranty provider. The mandatory warranty coverage is broken down as follows:
- 12 months – defects in labour and materials
- 2 years – defects on labour and materials related to the major delivery and distribution systems (electrical, plumbing, heating ventilation and air conditioning)
- 5 years – building envelope including water ingress
- 10 years– structure of the building