What Makes One Building Worth Buying & Another Not Worth Buying?

What make one building worth buying & another not worth buying?

This is a very common question we receive while working with First Time Home Buyers like yourself. This questions comes from buyers who are comparing buildings that offer units within their price range. As you can imagine, the lower your ceiling price (most you will pay) the less options you typically have to purchase. There are however more very specific criteria that needs to be met in order to buy a building worth investing in, beyond just your purchase price limit.

key point: Not all buildings are built equally & not all buildings are cared for equally.

When looking at buildings as a Vancouver First Time Home Buyer, your Realtor will hopefully be highlighting what specific circumstances they are looking out for. There are definitely aspects of a building to steer you clear of when deciding what homes are not worth buying. We have highlighted the four main points below for your consideration:

1 - Is the Building a "Leaky Condo" or is it Rain Screened?
Generally Speaking, when you are looking at homes in condominium buildings built in the 1980 - 1999 year range, this should be a mandatory search criteria. Long story short, this is when the exterior walls of a building have deteriorated or failed all together. There are two main reasons for this to occur: 
1 - un-breathable wall systems that create & hold condensation/moisture within. These systems are now know to fail, but were the building standard at that time (1980 - 1999).
2 - lack of overhangs on the building, allowing water (rain) to enter the exterior wall system (envelope) via cracked caulking & seals, then have no way to escape.
The result from these faulty wall systems is that the walls inevitably rot from within creating mold & water ingress into homes within. Full rain-screening / envelope replacement most of the time this includes windows, exterior patio doors and possibly patio membranes as well.

2 - Has the Plumbing in the building been repaired or replaced yet?
Once the plumbing system in a buildings begins to see the end of its life expectancy it will start to leak in the form of "pin hole leaks". Once it is no longer economical to continually repair the pin hole leaks in the system, the strata will vote for a new plumbing system. This is a very invasive process as they literally open the walls of the building (including your unit) and replace piping. This is an inevitable step in the life of any building, however ideally you want to purchase in a building after this very messy and invasive repair has taken place.

3 - Has the Roof been Repaired or Replaced yet?
The roof is serviced in the same way as the plumbing system. By this I mean that when leaks begin to happen the strata will patch leaks until it makes no economic sense to do so anymore. At this point they will replace the roof of the building. 

4 - Has the Parking membrane leaked or been repaired yet?
Parkades leak, This is inevitable. With the amount of rain that comes down here in Vancouver, The ground remains wet for a long portions of the year. Now, just because there has been or are currently leaks in the parkade of a building does not mean that the structural integrity has been compromised (that it is going to collapse or necessarily have big problems later). However if there are leaks taking place they should be monitored and remedied as soon as possible not to let create larger problems for a later date.

These four repairs in the life of a building are typically the most expensive to complete. The way these repairs get payed for is typically by assessment (charge owners each a certain agreed upon amount) in addition to money coming from the Contingency Reserve Fund (buildings savings account).

Our goal as Realtors is to steer you clear of buildings that may have any of these large assessments potentials in their near future. If however you fall in love with a building that does have one of these assessments coming down the line, you CAN of course still purchase the home. Our job then just shifts into information retrieval and we prepare you for the coming work & potential costs of said purchase. The goal always is to keep you in the know about what is happening in the building & with the units + life as an owner at said address. The more you know the better & the more you know the better job we have done!

For any further information on any of these specific details please don't hesitate to be in touch with us directly at your earliest convenience!

McInnes Marketing

Jay McInnes
604 771 4606

Ben Robinson
604 353 8523