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The Pros and Cons of Owning a Strata Property

Posted on October 04, 2017

With home prices in Vancouver consistently on the rise, strata living is becoming the new norm here. You’re probably hearing terms like ‘strata fees’ and ‘strata boards’ come up in conversation more often. But what exactly is a strata home and would it be the right kind of home for you? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of owning a strata property.

What is a strata property?

With strata housing, a person would own their individual strata lot and then share ownership of common areas and assets with the other owners in the strata.

According to the Government of BC, “strata housing can include: condos, townhouses, duplexes, even single family homes in bare land strata corporations (“strata subdivisions”).”

When talking about strata living, people most commonly think of condos. For example, an owner of a condo has ownership of their personal living space but shares ownership of common areas like the gym, entertainment rooms, and outdoor spaces with all the other owners in the strata.

Pros of Strata Ownership

Lower Cost. One of the most immediate advantages to purchasing a strata property is a lower price point. The cost of a strata home is cheaper because you don’t have to pay for land the way you would with a detached house.

Property Maintenance. Outside of your own unit, property maintenance is taken care of for you. When you own a strata home, you don’t have to worry about cleaning common areas, mowing the lawn, or even shovelling snow. This convenience is an attractive lifestyle perk for those who lead busy lives or just aren’t interested in taking care of maintenance themselves.

Repairs and Renovations. When major repairs come up in the building, the cost is shared between all owners, which means you’re paying for a small portion instead of the entire amount. If you’d like to update your own living space, renovations in condos are typically more affordable than in detached houses.

Heightened Security. Since a strata property is surrounded by other owners and residents, many people feel a sense of heightened security. The added security makes strata living especially appealing for singles, empty nesters, and seniors. Travellers also appreciate strata homes because they enjoy peace of mind that their home is safe while they’re away.

Sense of Community. Strata properties can provide a built-in community thanks to the higher number of residents and shared common spaces. You get to socialize with neighbours during quick elevator trips, building BBQs, and outside at your local park.

Cons of Strata Ownership

Strata Fees. While strata properties are typically more affordable overall, there are additional monthly strata fees to consider. These fees cover building maintenance, amenities, and funds for future repairs. Also keep in mind that strata fees can change or increase, particularly as a building ages.

More noise. Being in such close proximity to your neighbours brings advantages like heightened security and a sense of community, but it also brings more noise. You’ll be sharing walls with your neighbours so there’s always a chance of hearing them coming and going in the hallway, partying on their patio, or blasting their music at any hour of the day.

Renovation limitations. If you’d like to renovate or make changes to your strata home, you may need permission from the strata board first. There are usually guidelines and limitations as to what an individual owner can change on their property, so you may not always get the green light on your renovation projects.

Lengthy decision-making. If a change, repair, or renovation needs to be made that affects all owners, decision-making can be slow. Information and opinions need to go through the strata board and fellow owners before a final decision is made. At times, you may even find yourself contending with other owners and a majority vote.

It’s worth taking a look at the pros and cons owning a strata property when you look at Vancouver Condos for sale, especially as strata living becomes the norm in Vancouver. If you’re thinking about making a move into strata living but want to know more, contact us. We’d be happy to help you decide if buying a strata property is right for you and your lifestyle.