How do you buy a strata in this crazy market?!

There are a lot of people looking to buy a condo or townhouse these days. Over half of all sales last month were strata properties. Inventory remains low and prices are rising. In Surrey there were only 402 units on the MLS last month compared to 703 units a year ago. 95% of the strata inventory sold in Surrey last month and 100% of the strata inventory sold in Cloverdale! All areas throughout the Fraser Valley continue to experience a very competitive, seller’s market for strata properties.

If you are looking for a strata property, be prepared to act fast and know what you are looking for. Here is my plan for purchasing a strata:

1. Form a close relationship with your mortgage broker. If you are going to put a subject to financing on an offer, the time frame should be short. In order to get financing approved quickly, your mortgage broker should already have all your financial documentation. You should already know what you will be easily approved for before you start looking. You also need to understand what will happen if the appraisal of the property comes in under what you are offering to pay for it. Talk to your broker.

2. Have a closer relationship with your realtor. When I am selling a property, I get a lot of calls from buyers looking for a property who are not using the services of realtor. Unfortunately, they call me a week after the property has already sold. The average days on market for a condo or townhouse is 6 to 10 days. You need to know immediately when a property hits the market. Your realtor should know exactly what you are looking for so the right searches can be set up. More importantly, if you stay in contact with your realtor, they will alert you when something comes available that is not yet on the market.

3. Know exactly what you are looking for. Emotions can take over when purchasing a property. It is best to know what you absolutely need in your new home and what you absolutely do not want in your new home otherwise you can get caught up in your emotions and the excitement of the moment and overlook some key features.

4. Understand what a good, well-run strata corporation looks like. Be sure to work with a realtor that will review all of the strata documents with you and point out concerns. In many circumstances, all documentation can be reviewed before you put in an offer which will make your offer much stronger.

5. Read the bylaws! If you have dogs, make sure the strata allows dogs of your size. If you are thinking of having kids in the future, it is advisable not to buy into a complex that has an age restriction of 19 or over. Seems obvious but I still hear unfortunate stories.

6. Be willing to pay more than list price. It’s a competition out there. Your realtor should know exactly what has been selling in the area and for what. Some features are more valuable and will cost you more if you really want it, for example: a fenced yard off the kitchen in a townhouse or a concrete building for a condo. Work with a realtor that will help you get the property without paying too much. Not every property is worth paying 5% over list.

7. Call me! I’m happy to help.