Yesterday I was speaking with a family debating between wether they should buy a house or Condo for sale.
This is quite a general statement but I try to detail it as much as possible.
Condo and Townhouses fall under Strata properties.
Houses despite of being just a house, can also fall under strata act and have strata in their title.
It is important to understand and analyze the property title.
A single family detached home can also be a freehold/strata under its title. Depending on its original development, when a single lot, builds two houses, it creates strata. In some terms they refer to it as "bare land strata"
In this case, a buyer must understand that there maybe a bylaw or strata rule attached to the property in land title office.
Now that we know even a house can be a strata, lets discover what to choose.
The subject family, has a wishlist of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms house and prefers over 1500 square footage of living space. They like having an outdoor space for their golden retriever furry friend. Other wish-lists are also being close to the main road for easy transit access and being nearby shoppings. They are pre-approved for the total amount of $1,770,000 with a conventional mortgage financing.
This family prefers to also be in the Core and Vancouver west side.
Currently there are some houses offered within this family's budget, but unfortunately mostly are not move-in ready and requires many update and renovation. This renovation must be added to their budget which they prefer not to have.
So the alternative to consider is Condo for sale in Core area. Most condo that are for sale, have only 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This will limit their choices. In addition they need to have the strata fees budgeted in their monthly cost. A typical strata fee is about $0.50 per square feet. (an average cost of $500 per month depending on the amenities and the age of the complex).
It is also challenging to find a unit over 1500 sqft which must of the newly built developments have an average of 800 per sqft space for a 2 bedroom. Also finding a building with no pet size restriction, is very important as their family dog is over 50 pound and most buildings we looked at allowed up to only 30 pound.
We couldn't locate a ready to move-in house in Vancouver West within the desired area in their assigned budget, and also condos only offer 2 bedroom with no outdoor space for their dog and the issue of the size restriction. So I redirected their attention to townhouses for sale.
Townhouses are also strata properties with bylaws and rules. However they offer mostly 3 bedrooms with larger space of 1500 square footage of living space. Reviewing most of the bylaws of these townhouses, they also have no size restriction for their pet policy. Townhouses also mostly offer private outdoor space and limited backyard.
The only downside is for the family to also consider the strata monthly charges which in most cases covers the management, maintenance, building insurance, garbage pick up and sometimes, yard and common area maintenance.
This can be also a good option although it is very important to discuss their case with their mortgage specialist/broker in regards to the monthly charges of strata. Sometimes as the banks calculate your income and expenses, they also require this amount and place into consideration, providing a certain dollar limit for it. This also implies for annual property taxes.
As a buyer, it is important to go over every detail with your Vancouver Realtor to understand every pros and cons and variety of property types.
If you are in search of a property to buy, I'd be happy to assist with your search. In addition I will also direct and help you review all the necessary documents, strata bylaws and rules, disclosures and title searches within the advise of your legal adviser.