What you Need to Know About Strata

Published on August 14, 2023

There are so many different types of properties for buyers to check out. Some stand independently, and others have requirements to live in the area, like gated communities. 

While browsing the real estate market, you may have noticed that some are considered strata properties and wondered what is a strata property and what does it entail. Fortunately, we can provide some insight for you.

Stratas are a collection of dwellings that form a community. It can include apartments, condos, townhomes, or single-family homes with their separate little neighbourhood amenities only available to those living within the strata property.

You own your home within the community, referred to as a strata lot, but you also have a stake in the communal areas. This comes in the form of fees. The strata corporation are paid these fees and run it for everyone. The prices go to the operating budget and the contingency reserve fund.

The operating budget pays for ongoing costs like utilities, insurance, and communal amenities. Depending on how the strata is set up (if it’s a single building with multiple units or rows of units with outside access), amenities can include common rooms, parks or playgrounds, pools and weight rooms, and other free-for-members areas to use.

The contingency reserve fund covers any emergency costs, like roof replacement for any of the lots or weather-related issues, like snow removal after an unusually heavy snowfall. This allows for less worry when an unexpected expense pops up and can provide a different, less worried lifestyle for homeowners in the area.

Now, how much those fees are will depend on the strata community. That is something you, as a buyer, need to consider, as strata fees are on top of your mortgage. You need to look at your budget and see if you’ll be able to afford both. And there is a chance the strata fees will go up, which you need to consider with your financial situation.

There are also bylaws and other rules within strata communities that all members must adhere to. Some have age restrictions, only allowing certain pets, keep your grass mowed to a certain height, and determine the number of vehicles (and type of vehicles) in your driveway. And if you’ve ever dreamed of having a bright red front door, that dream likely won’t come true in strata, as uniformity is the name of the game there.

On the other hand, living within a strata community with uniformity provides peace of mind with your neighbour’s property and the people within the home. Having like-minded individuals surrounding your property is appealing to many. The fewer variables and extra cost to have the maintenance of your home taken care of and maintained is ideal for certain folks. As a member of the strata, you have certain rights. The strata corporation can’t make any changes without a majority vote from the members; therefore, you have a say in any plans of the common area and the allocated money accumulated. When considering strata real estate, it is crucial to read all the documents and know what you’re entitled to as a member. The corporation must let members read all documents when asked. The best thing to do is find expert legal advice before buying a strata property. A lawyer can explain everything to you so you can make an informed decision.

Stratas are not for everyone, but for those who like the idea of having a nice home within a communal neighbourhood with great amenities you don’t have to share with the general public, it might be the place for you. We can assist if you need help deciding or understanding the extra costs of strata properties. With over 40 years of combined experience in the industry, we have seen it all. With us on your side, we will help you understand the requirements and paperwork involved with buying a home, whether in strata or otherwise.

Call 250-860-0303, and let’s get started!


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