This post is to educate you on why a ‘proactive’ strata is so important, especially when purchasing a townhome or condominium. Even if you are buying brand new, there will come a day when your building will need some tender love and care.
A good strata will be proactive, meaning the members on strata council will plan for and address those items that will need to be repaired or replaced in the future. Although you will have some neighbours who mumble and grumble about small increases to their monthly strata fees, you will count your lucky stars that you are only paying a few cups of Starbucks coffee a month extra to avoid paying THOUSANDS of dollars in a surprise assessment later. Proactive strata’s will recognize the work well ahead of time, while reactive strata’s wait until the item is in dire need of replacement or fixing, costing homeowners higher fees.
When shopping for a home with your Realtor, he/she will be looking at the Depreciation Report, which tells potential buyers the state of the building and its materials/equipment. Such reports are crucial in determining whether your home is likely to be an appreciating asset or a depreciating one. Realtors who specialize in selling stratified properties are pleased to see greater transparency in regards to buildings repairs, maintenance and upkeep. Knowing well in advance the life expectancy of a building and its materials is a huge deciding factor for potential buyers and information your Realtor as an area specialist will use to differentiate ‘A’ rated buildings from ‘B’ rated buildings. The report will detail things like when the roof is going to need replacing, or the hallway carpets replaced, or when the front lobby is going to need to get a face lift, or gym equipment replaced.
Just like a human’s body, a strata lot or ‘condo’, will inevitably age and need a repair here and there. You’ve probably heard your parents say “If it’s hurt, don’t leave it too long, it will get worse!” The same thing goes for maintenance on your building.
We highly recommend attending your building’s AGM (annual general meeting) when you receive the invitation in your mailbox. Knowledge is power; you are allowed one vote per strata lot and can also send someone in your place if you let the council know ahead of time. Being present in meetings will help you further understand what type of strata your building is: a ‘protect your asset’ kind of building, or a ‘save a few bucks, and hope it doesn’t break’ kind of building.