Seminar prepares buyers for condo life

A condo or townhouse can be a good choice for many, but it pays to know what what strata life entails before buying

  • Aug. 20, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Those interested in buying a condo or townhouse in Oak Bay will want to check out the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association’s Before You Buy A Condo Sept. 15.

Jennifer Blyth

Black Press

Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking for a more affordable way to enter the Oak Bay housing market or a homeowner wanting to downsize but stay in your neighbourhood, a condominium or townhouse can be a good alternative to a single-family home.

However, for first-time condominium buyers, it also pays to understand the unique features of condominium living.

“A condo is an affordable way to get into the Oak Bay market, but no matter what neighbourhood you’re looking for, you need to know what you’re getting into,” says Sandy Wagner, president of the non-profit Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.

The association is offering a special workshop Sept. 15 specifically geared to those thinking of buying a condominium or townhouse strata property.

“Our aim is to promote strata living as a desirable way of life – but it isn’t for everyone,” Wagner explains.

“If it’s not the right fit for you, wouldn’t you rather find that out before you buy?”

Those who are first-time home-buyers might not realize the unique ins and outs of condo living.

The same is true of older people who have lived for years in their own single-family home with the freedom to do as they wish, more or less.

“In a condo, you have to go by a democratic process,” Wagner notes.

“(Prospective buyers) need to do some research and they need to be dealing with a realtor and lawyer who know and specialize in condos.”

The new three-hour workshop, Before You Buy A Condo, will provide several hours of education to ensure prospective buyers know the facts of strata life before investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Comfort Inn, 3020 Blanshard St., the seminar covers everything prospective buyers in Oak Bay need to know.

“Some people who don’t understand the realities of strata life may become unhappy condo owners,” Wagner says.

“We feel it’s important to give them the facts they need to make the decision to purchase – or not to purchase – a condo.”

Potential purchasers who have the necessary information can make informed decisions, she adds.

“They will choose a particular strata for the right reasons. They’ll become positive owners who will make a constructive and effective contribution to their condo community.”

Among the topics covered by the workshop are:

• the importance of reading condo documents and understanding a strata plan;

• strata management, insurance and bylaws;

• monthly fees and what they cover;

• owner duties, including repairs;

• a real estate agent’s responsibilities.

Questions will be answered by experienced representatives from the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.

To register for the Sept. 15 Before You Buy A Condo workshop, visit or


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