FAQ

A blog category dedicated to common questions I’m asked by Buyers and Sellers and things I think you should know, including maintenance, Stratas, the real estate process, and more.

Kristi Holz FAQs

Recent Changes to Condo Insurance in Vancouver

NOTE: This column is not a substitute for professional insurance advice. Please speak with an insurance advisor to discuss your situation and options. Always make sure you have a current home owner, landlord or tenant insurance policy in place.

What is Strata Insurance?

As a homeowner, landlord or renter, you need to have home insurance in place to protect you in case of accidents, unexpected issues, theft, etc. Every condo building also has a “Strata Insurance Policy” that covers the owners in case of extensive damage that extends into multiple units and common Strata property.

Your home insurance policy should cover a portion of the Strata Insurance Deductibles in case of an extensive issue originating from your unit. For example, if your washing machine breaks and ends up flooding multiple units below you, you will have to pay the deductible on your home insurance policy (typically a few hundred dollars), then your home insurance policy should kick in to cover the Strata Insurance deductible (typically in the tens of thousands of dollars), then the Strata Insurance will cover the cost of the damage. So, for example, $50,000 in damage may only cost you a few hundred dollars if you’re properly insured.

However! Strata Insurance deductibles have increased significantly in recent months leading to water damage deductibles increasing significantly from $10,000, some up to $750,000! For example, this would mean that any damage up to $750,000 would be the responsibility of the homeowner of the unit where the damage originated to pay for. You can imagine that if your personal insurance policy has to cover $750,000 worth of damage then your home insurance policy is going to be really expensive! Keep in mind a $750,000 Strata Deductible is an extreme example that isn’t common. My own building recently renewed our insurance and our water damage deductible is still $25,000, so it’s not all doom and gloom. I find high rise towers where one issue can damage many units at once and buildings with a lot of previous issues (often buildings that are significantly tenant occupied) have seen the highest increases. For example, if you cause $120,000 worth of damage in your building and your personal policy only covers $25,000 worth of water damage, but your Strata Deductible is $100,000, then you’ll have to pay the $75,000 difference! Make sure your home insurance policy covers ALL the Strata Insurance Deductibles.

The changes to Strata Insurance policies weren’t limited to water damage. Insurance companies are charging more for all deductibles as well as the and for the cost of re-building in case of total damage. This means that the cost of the overall policy has increased for condo owners, which means buildings need to budget more for yearly Strata Insurance, which means your strata fees will increase to cover the cost (this could be hundreds of dollars per month for each unit).

In very extreme cases, some buildings were not able to secure Strata Insurance Policies due to extensive issues. Have a look at this article by CBC describing this issue: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/condo-buying-mark-ting-1.5456945.

Why has Strata Insurance Increased Recently?

Strata Insurance has increased recently due to factors that have increased due to a myriad of factors, including:

  • Increase in the Number of Claims: If your building has a history of water damage claims due to poor system design leading to failures, unfortunate resident activities, aging building systems, or just poor maintenance records, then your Strata Insurance will likely increase significantly due to the high probability of another incident.
  • Re-Build Costs have Increased: Strata Insurance costs are based on the assumed value of the condo and the cost to re-build in case of complete damage. BC property values and construction costs have increased significantly, which means the cost of re-building has increased, which means your policy costs have increased.
  • Increase in Global Emergencies: The more earthquake and climate related emergencies that we see around the world, the more our Insurance companies are preparing for the possibility of a major event at home, increasing your costs due to increased risk.
  • Smaller Insurance Companies are Leaving the Market: With insurance costs and claims increasing, many small insurance companies are no longer offering Strata Insurance policies, which leaves only a few national companies left, reducing the competition for competitive policies.

How does the Increasing Condo Insurance Costs Impact Buyers?

If you’re a Buyer in the market, you NEED to review the Strata insurance policy. This has always been something I review for my clients, but there was rarely a big difference in policies. Now, with potentially massive deductibles, you need to know what you’re getting into and how much your home insurance policy will cost you. Prior to removing subjects make sure you contact a professional insurance broker to get a quote.

If you’re an investor, consider the costs of your Strata Insurance Policy and ENSURE your tenant has their own tenant insurance policy in place (via a requirement in the lease). You may want to consider the potential costs of a tenant insurance policy prior to purchasing a unit. If the cost is too high for them, they may not get the policy (which could lead to a big problem in the case of major damage) or it may lead to fewer potential renters.

If you live in a building where the deductibles are high or there’s a unique scenario that some insurance companies won’t cover, contact Square One Insurance. They aren’t the most economical company, but they do insure odd scenarios. Always search for multiple quotes so you can find the best policy for your situation.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me: kristi@realestatevancity.ca.

Kristi Holz FAQs

A Quick Overview of Condo Maintenance

When you’re looking for a home, you need to find a unit you like, and one that’s also in a good building. My job is to help you avoid the bad buildings and make sense of the decent buildings. One of the most common details the Buyers, especially first time home buyers, don’t totally understand is building maintenance and what makes a worthwhile building. Below is a quick overview of some of the most common misunderstandings and considerations to make.

Who Pays for Condo Maintenance?

You do! As the owner of your unit, you have to pay your share of building maintenance to upkeep your investment. This includes everything within your unit and your portion of all building maintenance and repairs.

Every year, owners in a condo elect between 3 and 7 people to be on the Strata Council. These 3 to 7 owners make common building maintenance and management decisions on behalf of all owners. One of these decisions is the total yearly building budget, which stipulates how much money is allocated to various building repairs and costs, and determines your monthly strata fee by applying the % of the building you own to the total yearly budget.

The yearly building budget takes into account all expected costs (i.e. hallway electricity, gas for the heating system, building insurance, etc) as well as a small fund for inexpensive repairs and maintenance (i.e. if a common building pipe leaks) as well as a contribution to a “Contingency Fund” for unexpected costs (i.e. if the parking garage door breaks and needs to be replaced ASAP). However, every building will have to attend to expensive maintenance costs from time to time that fall outside of the yearly budget. These expensive maintenance items are paid for by the owners via something called special levies. Maintenance items that would be paid for via special levies include a new roof, new piping, new windows, new balconies, new elevators, new parkade membrane, new exterior and more.

No condo building in Vancouver has enough money set aside to pay for major maintenance items, which is why you have to expect to pay for some expensive maintenance in a building every few years.

The requirement that all owners pay for regular maintenance (via strata fees) and major maintenance items (via special levies) is why researching the building to understand its maintenance history and future requirements is SO important. Just because a building has maintenance coming up in the next few years doesn’t mean it’s a bad building – we need to make the difference between it being age-related maintenance or issue-related maintenance, and as a potential owner in the building, you want to see a strong history of completed age appropriate major replacement projects. For example, if you’re interested in a unit in a 1970’s building that hasn’t done any exterior updates aside from the roof, then you know that the building will likely need to replace the balconies, windows and exterior soon – all expensive projects that you will need to be financially prepared to pay for.

Another scenario to consider is if you buy into a building that just completed a major, high cost repair (i.e. a full exterior renewal including new exterior, windows and balconies). After paying for an expensive special levy, many owners aren’t eager to pay another special levy anytime soon, so you might have a few years before the building pursues an expensive repair. One thing to remember is if you buy into a building that just completed a major repair, the seller will be asking a premium for the unit, so you end up paying for the repairs indirectly.

Maintenance Costs for New Condo Buildings

One of the only ways to “avoid” building maintenance costs is to buy in a new building – about 15 years old or younger – though this isn’t a fail proof method of avoiding special levies.

Every new building comes with a warranty: 2 years for fixtures, 5 years for exterior work and 10 years for structural work. If one of these items breaks during the warranty period, the Strata can pursue the Developer for the fix. This warranty work can help the Strata avoid costly maintenance, though technically, this warranty is in place to cover poor quality installations, not the expected first repair. In an ideal world, new buildings shouldn’t have to undertake costly replacement projects for years.

Having said that, if something that is not under warranty breaks or needs repair, owners will have to pay for it. Newer buildings don’t have a big Contingency Fund to cover unexpected maintenance and repairs so there is a chance the Owners will have to pay for a small levy.

I’ve also seen a lot of newer buildings levy owners for improvements to the building – for example: extra security features, more furniture for the common room, and a “Contingency Fund Top Up” where the operating budget wasn’t planned properly (the initial operating budget is set by the Developer and often isn’t good enough) and the building needs extra funds to cover cost overruns.

Types of Condo Maintenance and Repairs

Every condo in Vancouver will need regular maintenance and at some point, large repairs. A well built building can help mitigate repairs compared to a poorly built building, but every building will need maintenance and repairs to maintain their value.

Depending on how well the building is maintained, future repairs can be pushed to a later date with some minor fixes. For examples, a lot of buildings can postpone a full re-piping by installing a water conditioning system for a fraction of the cost. This won’t prevent the eventual re-piping, but it gives the owners some time to build up the funds necessary for the re-piping. Buildings with strong maintenance records, and knowledge of construction often fair better in the long run.

There are major differences in maintenance and repairs for wood frame vs concrete buildings. All buildings have the same list of standard components but the type of project used and the maintenance/replacement required can vary. Ironically, sometimes components in older buildings can last longer than new components (i.e. elevators in 1970’s buildings tend to last a long time, whereas new elevators break constantly and need to be replaced sooner… go figure).

This is a very quick overview (definitely NOT an exhaustive list) of the major repairs a building will need to consider:

  • Balcony Membranes: The surface of the balcony. This needs to be replaced to prevent water ingress into the actual construction of the balcony. This usually needs to be updated after 10 years.
  • Roof: Generally an easy project to do, but it does depend on how complicated the design of the roof is. Roofs typically last 20-25 years.
  • Piping: Pipes naturally degrade over time, especially in condo buildings where water is constantly running through them to reach each owner on every floor. Pipes typically last around 25 years.
  • Balconies: The construction of the balconies needs to be replaced after 25-30 years, which includes construction of a new balcony platform and new balcony railings.
  • Windows: Windows have a lifespan. Both sun and rain affect windows and lead to them eventually needing to be replaced. Windows are an expensive project so most buildings replace windows on an “as needed” basis, expect for complete exterior overhaul projects. Windows can last 25-50 years.
  • Exterior: This is a major project, and encompasses that buzzword “rainscreen” that Buyers always hear. The exterior – whether it’s stucco, brick, vinyl, wood or other – has a lifespan and needs to be replaced. The different styles of exterior make a huge difference in how long the exterior lasts and what work needs to be done but you can expect an exterior to need major repairs around 30 years.
  • Elevators: It’s a mechanical items that requires regular maintenance and will eventually break. Elevators can be expensive for small buildings since they’re the same cost if for a 4 unit building as they would be for a 40 unit building. Elevators can last 25-50 years.
  • Parkade Membrane: The parkade membrane is basically the roof of the parkade. The parkade underneath the building typically extends out further than the foot print of the building, and like any roof, it needs to be repaired. This is a big project because all the landscaping and patios need to be removed, the “roof” needs to be replaced and the landscaping needs to be re-done. Parkade membranes typically need to be replaced between 30-40 years.
  • Other projects can include updates to: the lobby and hallways, fire alarm system, hot water tanks, landscaping, fencing, security, amenities (i.e. pools, gyms, etc), and more.

How do we determine what maintenance has been done, what maintenance hasn’t been done and how much it’ll cost? We have to review the Strata Documents provided by the listing agent (from the condo’s Strata Council). Thankfully, there is often a helpful document that most buildings have available: a Depreciation Report.

How Depreciation Reports Help Detail Future Maintenance and Costs

A BC Strata Bylaw changed two years ago with the introduction of Depreciation Reports. These reports – often done by Engineering Companies – take stock of all the components in the building, how old the component is, when the component will need to be repaired/replaced and how much that will cost. All timelines and costs are based on industry standards so these reports are not exact and Strata’s are not required to follow any of the advice in the report. The purpose of Depreciation Reports is to give Strata’s a guidelines as to what to consider and plan for in the short term future and to prepare Owners for the expensive projects they’ll need to be ready to pay for over time. Building’s aren’t required to have a Depreciation Report so not every building will have one – but that in itself can be indicative of how well organized the Strata is. Depreciation Reports, if available, along with Strata meeting minutes, financials and other documents related to the management of the building are available to prospective purchase (via the Listing Agent from the Strata Council) to review during the purchase process.


There is SO MUCH to learn about building maintenance, and it doesn’t happen overnight. These little tidbits are learn with every property you’re interested in and every set of strata docs we go through. There’s lots to know and it’s my job to ensure you’re educated.

Kristi Holz FAQs

Buying a Pre-Sale Condo

People always have questions about buying a pre-sale condo, and for good reason, it’s a different process than buying a typical (re-sale) condo.

When you purchase a pre-sale condo, you’re buying the unit directly from the Developer and often before construction has even started, if not, it’s typically before construction has finished. You and the Developer are making a contractual obligation with regards to a specific unit: they promise to build it, and you promise to buy it, with a big caveat: You don’t get to see the unit until it’s in your possession.

What to Know about Buying a Pre-Sale Condo

Financing on Pre-Sale Condos

Add a 5% GST to the final sale price. The price you see online, or the price given to you at the Sales Centre, will require an additional 5% GST tax.

Developers Might Negotiate. It’ always worth trying! If the development is in high demand and it was recently released for sale, they may not negotiate, but if they have already started construction or are almost done, they may be more willing to negotiate. Sometimes Developers offer “decorating allowances” rather than price drops. For example, this means that instead of lowering the price by $10k, they’ll offer you a “decorating allowance” of $10k which is a credit you receive upon completion. This allows the Developer to advertise the sale as full price without having to disclose to other Buyers that the final price was actually $10k less. Sketchy, but it happens. If they don’t negotiate the price, they might be willing to negotiate certain upgrades.

Developers Increase their Prices as the Construction Continues. At least, this has been the case for the last few years as the Real Estate Market has been increasing. The least expensive time to buy a unit is before the Developer starts constructions, as the prices typically increase as more units that are sold and as construction progresses. I’ve had some luck with Buyers purchasing the last unit for sale in a building once the building because at that point the Developer is eager to close the file on the development.

Financing will only be a pre-approval. With regards to mortgages, Buyers can receive a pre-approval that they qualify for a mortgage on the property, however, the mortgage doesn’t kick in until the unit is finished years later. This means that if your financial situation changes (i.e. lose your job or lose your down payment, or buy a second property in the meantime) you may no longer qualify for the mortgage – however – you’ll still have to complete the purchase of the property. Keep in mind that new Government Policies or Mortgage Rules can seriously affect your affordability, and what rules might be different at the time of Completion can be hard to predict if it’s still years away. A few months before the completion of construction, you can lock in a pre-approval.

Learn the Deposit Structure. New Developments have a different deposit structure than a typical purchase, which is outlaid in the Disclosure Statement. Typically, the Developer will ask for 1% of the purchase price upon signing the contract (you’ll get this back if you don’t go through with it), another 9% of the purchase price after the 7 day due diligence period, and then a further 5 or 10% a few months later. Buyers should make sure that they will have these funds when needed.

Due Diligence on Pre-Sale Condos

Presentation Centres will have visuals of what the building will look like, floor plans, examples of the materials and colour schemes to be used and potentially an example suite and 3D model of the building. Use these tools to get a sense of where your unit is in the building, what your outlook will be, how the unit will be laid out and where everything else is in the building (parking, storage, garbage, amenities, elevator, front door, etc). When you’re there, you always want to ask a Developer’s representative what you can expect for the unit you’re buying – sometimes presentation centres show you what a unit looks like with all the upgrades to finishings or with higher ceilings than you can expect.

Buyers automatically* get 7 days for due diligence. What this means is once you are in agreement with the Developer to purchase the unit, and have signed the contracts, the Buyer gets an automatic 7 days to decide if they will be going through with the purchase. This gives the Buyer time to review their financing, go through the Disclosure Statement and do any further research on the building and neighbourhood. (*This is the case at the time of writing this blog – this policy may change so ensure a “recession period” is built into the contract prior to signing).

Developer Responsibilities for Pre-Sale Condos

Developer’s cannot start selling units or advertising prices until the “Developer’s Disclosure Statement” is filed in the Land Title Office. This document details everything about the project – from the people involved, to the components of the building, to the deposit structure, to preliminary strata details, to the legalities of the situation. This document is long, and Buyers should go through it with a fine tooth comb, inquiring with their Realtor and a Lawyer about any questionable details.

The Completion Date can be delayed by the Developer. The Developer can delay the completion date of the project (due to construction delays, weather delays, etc) for as long as necessary, and you have no recourse.

The Size of the Unit can change. The finished unit can be a different size than indicated to Buyers during the sale. Developer’s have an obligation to deliver the unit to the best of their ability, but certain building and design details may change during construction and the Buyer will have no recourse, unless the unit is materially different (i.e. you buy a two bedroom unit and end up with a one bedroom unit). A change in sqft (or an extra post or lost window) does not always constitute something that is materially different.

The Project can be cancelled. Developer’s can cancel the project if they don’t receive their Development permit, if they don’t receive financing (which typically happens if they don’t sell enough units during pre-sale) or if they decide to change the project significantly. Buyers will get their deposit back in this situation, though the details of this situation will be stated in the Developer’s Disclosure Statement.

Benefits for Buyers of Pre-Sale Condos

Buyers are always* allowed to rent units purchased from Developer’s. One of the biggest benefits of buying a unit directly from the Developer is that Buyers will always be exempt from any rental restrictions in the building (a big reason why investors like pre-sale condos). The Developer files a “Rental Disclosure Statement” for the building which allows the developer to rent out the units if needed, and this right is passed on to Buyers. Rules have changed recently, where this right is now passed on to all future Buyers of the unit until the expiry date noted on the Rental Disclosure Statement. Rental Disclosure Statements typically have a timeline of a 100 years. (*Assuming these rules haven’t changed since I wrote this blog and assuming the Developer’s did in fact submit a Rental Disclosure Statement with a long expiry date).

Buyers may be able to secure extra parking or storage during pre-sale. Developer’s often sell parking and storage spaces as separate entities to the unit. From a value perspective, it is always useful to buy parking and storage, if not more than one, during the pre-sale. You may also be able to specify that the parking spot is a “large spot” or close to the elevator.

Units come with a Warranty. Not only does the building have a 2 year warranty on finishings, 5 year warranty on the exterior and a 10 year warranty on the structure, but Buyers get a 1 year warranty on the interior finishings and fixtures, and can ensure the Developer fixes all deficiencies in the unit (i.e. is there paint on the floor? does the bathroom need more caulking? does the window not latch property? etc). You want to make sure that you have a thorough inspection done of the unit BEFORE you move in, as it’s easier to claim that something as a Developer Deficiency before they can blame the deficiencies on you living in the unit. Also, the new Strata should work together to ensure deficiencies are fixed since one big group asking for changes is stronger than owners asking for it individually.

Buyers have the opportunity to dictate the management style of the Strata. The initial Strata is formed in the first month or two after Buyers tarting moving into their pre-sale condo. I always suggest Buyers join the Strata in their new building since it gives Owners a stronger voice to affect the future of the building. The first Strata Council will create the overall budget which dictates the amount of maintenance and amount of your strata fees. The first Strata Council will also suggest any new bylaws to be added immediately since the standard Strata Property Act Bylaws any new condo begins with aren’t very detailed. A caveat to this benefit is that it can be a lot of work! You need to be diligent about warranty issues, there are typically a lot of Bylaw infractions as owners and tenants learn the rules of the building and lots of decisions need to be made.

Buying a unit pre-sale entails some risk, and given this risk, the units are often cheaper if it’s purchased as a pre-sale. The hope is that the market also increases while you wait for construction to finish, but there are never guarantees!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask: kristi@realestatevancity.ca.

Kristi Holz
778-387-7371
kristi@realestatevancity.ca

Kristi Holz FAQs

Mortgage Brokers vs Banks

Having a trustworthy relationship with a good Mortgage Broker is a godsend for Realtors. I am happy to help my clients with every aspect of their purchase, but I’m quick to refer my clients to a good mortgage broker. You need a professional because Mortgages are incredibly complex, even more so due to constantly changing mortgage regulations and increasing property values.

I prefer to refer Mortgage Brokers over banks for a number of reasons:

  • Mortgage Brokers have made mortgages their career speciality. Bank associates may specialize in a variety of bank products.
  • Mortgage brokers are self employed, often working days, evening and weekends. This flexibility is very helpful in Vancouver’s fast paced Real Estate World. Bank associates often work standard 9-5pm weekday hours.
  • Mortgage Brokers have access to a number of banks, credit unions, and independent lenders to find you the best mortgage rate and terms for your situation. Bank associates only have access to their own products, which might not be ideal for your situation.
  • Mortgage Brokers are licensed and required to do ongoing industry education to stay on top of the mortgage industry. Bank associates may not require their employees have an official Mortgage Broker license
  • Like many careers, the best of the best typically start their own company. The best brokers start their own team to manage their business without the red tape of a large bank.

One mortgage broker I work very closely with is Eitan Pinsky and his team. I have full trust in Eitan and his team thanks to their emphasis on mortgage education for each client (and Realtor partners!), their quick turnaround with information, their up to date industry knowledge and their love of the job!

Mortgage Information for Buyers

Eitan has written a number of articles about every aspect of the mortgage industry. I’ve picked a few of the most useful articles to share today, with the links below. I would encourage you to use his website as a source of information and to call him for all of your mortgage needs!

Mortgage Basics – What a First Time Buyer should know

Mortgage Options – What to consider when it comes to your mortgage

Mortgage Professionals Now and Where They are Headed – A review of how Mortgage Brokers differ from Banks

If you have any questions about mortgages, re-financing or what you can do to improve your opportunities, contact Eitan: https://pinskymortgages.ca/.

Kristi Holz FAQs

What is a Non Conforming Strata?

If you’re in the market for a duplex or triplex, I’m sure you’ve heard that it was self managed and maybe a “Non Conforming Strata”. I want to correct a misconception. These Strata’s might be non compliant with the Strata Property Act in certain ways, but they aren’t *allowed* to be non compliant. These Strata’s are still required to follow the Strata Property Act Regulations and Bylaws. Helpful CHOA Article: https://www.choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/800-243-02092016-Duplex-Woes.pdf

Duplexes, triplexes and other small Strata’s are considered non conforming when they don’t hold regular meetings, don’t have record of meeting minutes, don’t hold a Contingency Fund, don’t have a yearly budget, don’t have a shared Strata bank account, don’t maintain financial records and don’t amend Bylaws. How do they operate? These Strata’s are all a bit different since the owners can dictate the style of management. I find a lot of decisions are made via email and informal meetings. This is a common occurrence in self managed strata’s, though some self managed strata’s follow BC Strata Property Act protocol.

Maintenance

The Strata is still responsible for any common property and required maintenance to the common property. Common property includes the exterior and any common pipes/venting running between walls. Costs are shared between owners if regular maintenance is needed on common property.

All owners should agree in writing of the cost, company and other pertinent details related to common Strata maintenance. This need for agreement is why you hope all owners are of a similar mindset. Owners need to agree on regular maintenance every year: gardening, gutter cleaning, roof evaluations and maintenance, exterior maintenance, etc. Owners also need to agree on major projects, including roof replacement, exterior painting, new windows, etc. If the home needs maintenance and an owner isn’t willing to pay for it, you’ll likely have to gather proof that the maintenance is needed or pay for it if it’s an necessary repair, and then take the issue to the Civil Rights Tribunal (CRT) to recoup your money or force the repair – an annoying and potentially costly situation. Helpful CHOA Article about forcing needed maintenance: https://www.choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/800-260-12012017-How-do-we-get-our-Roof-Fixed.pdf

The Strata is also responsible to ensure there is an up to date Strata Insurance Policy on the common property. Every owner should also have personal insurance to cover their contents, updates, accidents, etc. Helpful CHOA Article: https://www.choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/pdf/300/300-335_062109_Duplex_insurance.pdf

Costs

All maintenance and common Strata costs should be split based on the Unit Entitlement. The Unit Entitlement is a calculation found on the registered Strata Plan. It dictates each unit’s ownership of the complex based on unit size. For example, duplex costs are not shared 50/50. They are shared based on the Unit Entitlement (for example, it may be a 55/45 ownership split).

Required maintenance and project costs are out of pocket costs if there is no Budget or Contingency Fund.

Bylaws

These small, non conforming Strata’s don’t often follow the standard BC Strata Property Act Bylaws. But they should. All Strata Properties are required to follow the BC Strata Property Act Bylaws. Legal amendments are required when Owners choose to operate outside of these Standard Bylaws.

For example, the Standard Property Act Bylaws only allows for 1 dog or cat. If you have 2 pets, you should get express permission from the Strata for both pets and should have the Bylaw legally amended. Opinions can change, so have the Bylaw amended immediately while you have at least 75% of owners in agreement. A new owner can force you to comply with the original Bylaws if the amendment was never filed. They can force you to get rid of your 2nd pet.

Here’s a link to the BC Strata Property Act Bylaws if you want to review what EVERY strata is legally required to follow. Potential Buyers should consider how many Strata Property Act Regulations and Bylaws the existing Strata does not follow. Be weary if the Strata seems to misunderstand their requirements when it comes to common property maintenance and repair.

Similar to maintenance issues, bylaw issues that can’t be resolved between Owners may need to be resolved through a Civil Rights Tribunal (CRT) .

Best Practice

Best practice would be for the Strata to follow the standard Strata Property Act Regulations and Bylaws This practice includes holding annual AGMs (and other meetings as necessary), crafting a budget, maintaining a common Strata bank account, keeping meeting and financial records and amending bylaws. Get a legal opinion with regards to how the strata should be run, especially if the Strata has been non conforming. Helpful CHOA Article: https://www.choa.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/pdf/800/800-157-18122014-Non-Conforming-Stratas.pdf

When a duplex or triplex unit is non conforming to the BC Strata Property Act, we’ll try to get as much information as possible. We’ll ask about the other neighbours, how they typically manage maintenance and issues, how much work they do themselves around the complex and who typically takes the lead.

– Kristi

Kristi Holz
778-387-7371
kristi@realestatevancity.ca

Kristi Holz FAQs

Meet Kristi Holz

For those of you looking to get to know me – Kristi Holz – here are 20 questions to get started!

I have a lot of real estate experience and neighbourhood knowledge so if you want to chat about your real estate journey, get in touch! Suggest your fave spot and I’ll meet you there.

20 Questions with Kristi Holz

Where are you from? 

Kristi Holz: I grew up in Mississauga and went to the University of Waterloo, both in Ontario. I received a Bachelor of Math in Combinatorics and Optimization, a really interesting style of Math. Think about airlines or pro sports: Combinatorics and Optimization is the type of Math used to figure out the detailed, intertwining schedules. I enjoyed learning in University, but wasn’t keen to go forward with a Masters or to jump right into a corporate job. So once I was done University, I drove across the country with some friends and dropped my bags in Vancouver.

Why did you become a Real Estate Agent? 

Kristi Holz: I have always been curious about the Real Estate industry! I loved my neighbourhood growing up, but I really enjoyed seeing where everyone else lived too. I realized that your home and your community have a significant effect on your lifestyle, so I was always keen to try somewhere new. Meanwhile, at home, my mom was always doing renovations so I was also learning the value of turning a house into a home. Not to mention, I was obsessed with home shows growing up.

Real Estate seemed like the perfect combination of logic and emotions. The logical side relates to the transaction – insights into current and future value, finances and contracts. The emotional side relates to the lifestyle you’re choosing – neighbourhoods, floor plans and style. I’ve always been interested in design so I embrace the opportunity to create the space that appeals to you. Though most people aren’t lucky enough to build their own home (my pipe dream!) you certainly have a choice in how you feel in your home.

Favourite part of being a Real Estate Agent?

Kristi Holz: The fact that every day is different, and I can be challenged in so many different ways depending on who I’m working with and what’s happening in the market. Seeing what my clients have done with the space after they’ve moved in is a great feeling.

Where do you live in Vancouver? 

Kristi Holz: I live in Mount Pleasant East now, but have previously lived in Kitsilano, Strathcona and the West End. 

Favourite East Van Neighbourhood?

Kristi Holz: Strathcona. I lived there before many of the newer restaurants and amenities came into the neighbourhood. Strathcona was great then, and it’s getting even better. The history of the area is interesting too. It’s the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver and you can see that in the architecture. The location is incredibly central – a quick bike to The Drive or Yaletown, a short walk to Gastown or the Seawall and you’re a couple blocks away from the best part of Main St.

What’s your favourite hidden gem in Vancouver?

Kristi Holz: The antique and interesting furniture stores along Main St and Commercial Drive. I’ve bought a lot of furniture from these odd stores, and always stop in if I happen to be in the neighbourhood.

What’s your favourite not-so-hidden gem in Vancouver?

Kristi Holz: The nature! I really appreciate how green and colourful Vancouver is with the opportunity to climb a mountain and hit the beach in the same day.

Are you a Morning or Night Person? 

Kristi Holz: Both! I accomplish a lot right in the morning, and often find some focus in the evenings. 

Coffee Shop Order? 

Kristi Holz: I have an efficient order: drip coffee with milk. I might treat myself to a Chai Tea Latte if I’m looking for something other than coffee.

Favourite Quick Restaurant?

Kristi Holz: Sal y Limon in the Fraserhood is amazing and Kokomo in Chinatown always has something good (and vegan!).

Favourite Sit Down and Relax Restaurant? 

Kristi Holz: My preference changes all the time, but anywhere with good cocktails. I’m more focused on the drinks and the environment than the food, but The Botanist hits every note.

What’s one thing you would change about Vancouver?

Kristi Holz: Patio hours! It would be nice to sit outside later than 10pm in the summer and (legal) beers on the beach would be great. I would also love to see more hidden neighbourhood restaurants and patios in Vancouver like you see in Toronto. An NBA Team would be great too.

Favourite Style of Design/Architecture?

Kristi Holz: Heritage Exteriors with Modern Interiors. The quality of workmanship and ornate, symmetric detail in classic design, but with a clean, modern twist. I love seeing wood and other natural elements in design, and would want some bright colours in the space as well. An easy transition between the indoors and outdoors is important to me too.

Favourite Room in the House?

Kristi Holz: Wherever the fireplace is (which is ironic because I don’t have a fireplace right now). Otherwise outside on my patio.

Car or Bike?

Kristi Holz: Bike if I can, but my car gets a lot of use. I’m looking into an electric for my next one, though I might have to settle for a hybrid.

What’s your perfect Vancouver day? 

Kristi Holz: A diner breakfast (Paul’s Omlettery is my fave), some time outside (the beach or the forest) and a fun evening with friends – drinks, sports, games – good company is always welcome.

Favourite Travel Destination?

Kristi Holz: I’ve done my fair share of travelling, but I still really love Europe. The mix of lifestyle, architecture and history is perfect.

Favourite Book?

Kristi Holz: This changes all the time. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction (currently books about nutrition) but I always end up craving fiction (spy novels are fun).

Thoughts on the future of Vancouver?

Kristi Holz: I appreciate the focus on bike paths and green spaces. There is a lot of transition happening now, so I hope we can retain some of the each neighbourhoods feel while giving new residents and business owners an opportunity.

Five Year Goals – personal or real estate?

Kristi Holz: I want to doing a renovation on my next place. It’s a lot of work, but I look forward to the challenge!

For more about my career: Meet Kristi. Give me a call if you want to talk real estate, I’m always happy to help!

Kristi Holz
778-387-7371
kristi@realestatevancity.ca