Top 8 Questions to Ask When Buying In Older Condo Buildings

Some older condo buildings age better than others, depending on the quality of the original construction as well as the care and attention paid by the strata to maintenance and repairs.
So if you’re considering buying into older condo buildings, here are eight questions you should ask to avoid any expensive surprises once you’ve settled into your new home.
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1. Has the plumbing been redone?
Galvanized steel plumbing was widely used before the 1970s; but it’s heavy and not very durable. Once the zinc coating inside starts to break down, the pipes are prone to rust. That can cause blockages or even breaks.
Copper plumbing is also popular in older condo buildings. It can last 50 years or more. But the lead-based solder that used to be used to join pipes and fixtures could eventually leach into your water.
Older condo buildings constructed from the late 1970s to the mid 90s could use polybutylene pipes. The plastic is cheap, light and easy to work with, but its lifespan is only 20 years.
It’s possible plumbing systems in older condo buildings have all three types of pipes, as repairs and replacements have been done over the years. If you see references to pin hole leaks in the minutes of strata council meetings, it’s a good sign the plumbing is nearing the end of its life and may be due for replacement.
2. How old is the roof?
Tar and gravel roofs last 15-20 years. An asphalt roof should last 20-25 years. If the answer to your question is close to those numbers, you may have to put room in your budget for your share of the cost of replacing that roof.
3. How old is the boiler?
A commercial gas-fired hot water boiler should last 10-15 years, but it could last longer if it’s been well-maintained.
4. Have the balconies been redone?
This likely isn’t a concern in older condo buildings constructed of concrete. But if the balcony is constructed of wood or vinyl, it could begin deteriorating after 15 years.

Older condo buildings can be a great buy because you usually get more space for your money.
The condition of balconies in older condo buildings shouldn’t be a worry if they’re concrete.

 
5. Are there any issues with the parkade membrane?
Water leaking into parkades can be a common problem in older condo buildings. It happens when cracks form in the structure because of settling, poor construction or maintenance, or just wear and tear.
Fixing a leaky parkade can be expensive.
6. Has the elevator been upgraded?
We’ve learned to take elevators for granted; we push the button, they take us to the floor where we want to go. But elevators wear out; all that up-and-down, opening and closing of the doors, pushing call buttons, takes a toll.
An elevator should last 20-25 years but could endure longer if they’ve been regularly maintained.
7. Has the building’s exterior been upgraded?
This question is often dependant on how older condo buildings were designed and built.
If the building is constructed of concrete, with large roof overhangs that prevent rainwater from hitting the exterior, the risk of a leaky building is minimal.
But if the building’s exterior is made of stucco or wood, and it’s exposed to the elements without protection from roof overhangs, you need to check if it has been rainscreened.
What Is Rainscreen?
8. Does the building have a depreciation report?
In 2013, the BC government mandated depreciation reports for every strata with more than four lots. The report is prepared by qualified architects or engineers who are able to assess and determine the short and long term health of the building and its upkeep schedule as well as anticipated costs. The report must be updated every three years.
Strata Documents You Should Read Before You Buy
Reading a depreciation report for older condo buildings can be intimidating; the maintenance schedules are usually pretty proactive and the dollar figures are high. But it’s how the building’s strata council reacts to that report that really matters; is it putting money aside early to deal with upcoming major expenses, does it address minor issues in a timely manner so they don’t snowball into bigger issues?

Older condo buildings can be a great value

Older condo buildings can offer tremendous value. You’re not paying for the flashy marketing campaigns of new developments. A lot of potential problems will have already been worked out. The strata has experience. And units were bigger in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, so you’ll likely get more space for your dollar.

More useful blogs if you’re shopping for a condo

Understanding Strata Fees
Strata Documents You Should Read Before You Buy
10 Tips For The First Time Home Buyer
What is Rainscreen?

Elliot Street Condo Floor Plans

  
 
 
 
 
Elliot Street is the most attainable concrete product in the Lower Mainland. 130 new homes in New Westminster. Designed with living in mind. Design is more than great materials, it’s a holistic understanding of how they work together.

Starting Prices:
Townhomes (2 Bed+den, 1106-1342 SF) – $459,900
Studio (446 SF) – $159,900
1 Bed (575-678 SF) – $199,900
2 Bed (880-928 SF) – $319,900
Penthouses (2 Bed, 1154-1182 SF) – $694,900
*Studios and 1 Bed Condos do not include a parking stall. However, a parking stall can be purchased for $15,000.
 

Dominion Floor Plan and 360 views

James Garbutt
A CITY REVITALIZED
New Westminster is well known for its rich character and history, just like Ledingham McAllister, with our 107 year history of building quality communities throughout British Columbia. As a result, we are incredibly proud to introduce Dominion, a community of Craftsman-style residences to British Columbia’s original capital city.
 
 
 

A FRESH NEW AFFORDABLE LOOK AT NEW WESTMINSTER

SITE PLAN

   Dominion Site Plan
 
 
 
 
FLOOR PLANS
Dominion Jr 1 Bed
Dominion 1 Bed Condo
Dominion 1 Bed+Den Condo
Dominion 2 Bed Condos
Dominion Jr 3 Bed Condo
Dominion 3 Bed Condo

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dominion by Ledingham McAllister

#304 290 Francis Way, New Westminster (The Grove – Victoria Hill)

  
The Grove at Victoria Hill – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 951 SF West Facing unit overlooking the inner courtyard with Large Balcony. Very Quiet and surrounded by Greenspace this unit features a very spacious & open Living/Dining/Kitchen Area. Gourmet Kitchen with stainless steel appliances, lots of cabinets & island. Ideal Floorplan with two bedrooms located on opposite sides of the living room, Master Bedroom has walk-through closet leading into a Full Bathroom. Great Amenities at the Boiler House: Gym, Theatre, Study, Party Rm/Lounge, Outdoor Basketball Court. Central Locations, steps to Queens Park, 15min walk to Skytrain or 10 min Bus. Won’t last! Must See!
Virtual Tour
MLS Feature Sheet #304 290 Francis Way
 

#208 270 Francis Way, New Westminster. (The Grove – Victoria Hill)

  
The Grove, Victoria Hill – Gorgeous 2 bed, 2 bath West facing suite with large balcony overlooking the inner courtyard. Very quiet & private location, great floor plan, open concept living/dining/kitchen area. 2 bedrooms on opposite sides of the living room, 2nd bdrm has walk in closet, master bedroom has walk-through closet leading into a full bathroom. Gourmet kitchen with plenty of cabinet space, stainless steel appliances & granite counters (granite in bathrooms as well). Excellent amenities at the Boiler House; gym, theatre, study area, party room/lounge, basketball court. Great location, surrounded by parks & greenspace. 15 min walk to skytrain or 10 min bus. Suite shows well, priced to sell, must see.
Virtual Tour
MLS Feature Sheet 208 270 Francis Way

SOLD! #214 14 East Royal Ave, New Westminster (Victoria Hill)


VICTORIA HILL – Stunning 2 Bed, 2 Bath 1051SF South Facing Suite Overlooking the Park & Fraser River. Very Private & Peaceful View that will not change and enjoy it from your Large Balcony which receives plenty of Sunshine. Features incl: Gas range, Granite Counters, Stainless Steel Appliances, & upgraded 42″ Upper Cabinets in the Kitchen, Stone Fireplace, with Hardwood Throughout (Living/Dining/Bedrooms), Crown moldings, 2″ Blinds, Granite in all Bathroom. Open Floor Plan with Spacious Kitchen. Well Maintained Building. Amenities Incl: Gym, Lounge & Billiard Games Room. 2 Side-by-side Parking & 1 Large Storage Locker.
For complete listing click here.
MLS Feature Sheet #214 14 East Royal Ave

More information on the New Elliot Street Development in New Westminster.

 
Elliot Street is the most attainable concrete product in the Lower Mainland. 130 new homes in New Westminster.  Designed with living in mind. Design is more than great materials, it’s a holistic understanding of how they work together.

Elliott Street is a New Condo development that was just released in Downtown New Westminster.  I visited the presentation centre last week and found that there some good opportunities for investment, and there are also some nice floor plans for end users as well. I believe that the finishings in this building are the highest I’ve seen for any building in New West to date (incl. European Stainless Steel Appliances). Here’s some more info…

Starting Prices:
Townhomes (2 Bed+den, 1106-1342 SF) – $459,900
Studio (446 SF) – $159,900
1 Bed (575-678 SF) – $199,900
2 Bed (880-928 SF) – $319,900
Penthouses (2 Bed, 1154-1182 SF) – $694,900
*Studios and 1 Bed Condos do not include a parking stall. However, a parking stall can be purchased for $15,000.
 
Rental Rates:
1 Bed approx $1200/month
2 Bed approx $1600/month
 
Estimated Completion Date: Spring 2015

Thoughtful living spaces
· The perfect balance of design and function, both inside and outside your home.
· An architectural design, by award-winning GBL Architects, hat uses classic materials to create a modern form.
· Interiors, by i3 Design, that bring intelligent design to a smart living philosophy.
· Clean, European-inspired design that combines a minimalist philosophy with the best materials and finishes
· Multi-functional homes that add flexibility to how you live.
· High-quality laminate wood flooring throughout main living spaces; carpeting in bedroom.
· Two distinct color schemes, one approach features a light, fresh palette and the other features a bold, dark palette.
· Fully-secured building and parkade including fob access points with enterphones at main entries.
· Blomberg 2.35 cu ft fully-automatic washing machine –EnergyStar-rated.
· Blomberg 3.67 cu ft vented electric dryer.
· Spacious closet and storage spaces.
· Common indoor/outdoor amenity spaces that incorporate green space for entertaining.
· New concrete construction warranty program 2-5-10.

A smarter building with BAZINGA!
· Elliot Street is a bazinga! building.


Elliott Street Condos Presentation Centre Kitchen

Refined Kitchens
· Fully-integrated European appliance package for the picurean gourmet:
· Blomberg freezer bottom fridge – EnergyStar
· Blomberg tub dishwasher – EnergyStar
· Bertazzoni stainless steel gas cooktop stove
· Bertazzoni stainless steel wall oven
· Faber under-cabinet slide out hood fan
· Panasonic stainless steel Genius Prestige Inverter Microwave Oven.
· Elegant two-toned cabinetry.
· Julien stainless steel 10” under-mount deep kitchen basin.
· Solid brass faucets by Jewel, two function pull-out spray, polished nickel finish.
· Quartz countertops with white tile backsplash.
· Combination soft-close and touch-latch cabinetry.
· Optional convertible island/counter.
· Optional built-in Dacor espresso machine.

Luxury Baths
· Dual flush toilet.
· Quartz countertops.
· Undermount rectangular basin sink.
· Large soaker tub.
· Continuous tile work from the tub apron to the shower wall resulting in a modern European aesthetic.
· Wall to wall vanity mirror with light bar incorporated into mirror to create a soft presence in the room.
· Rainhead showers in all bathrooms.
· Solid brass faucets by Jewel, gooseneck spray, polished nickel finish.

Elliot Street Development                     Censorio                       Elliot Street Blog

#406 1 Renaissance Sq., New Westminster (The Q)


Welcome to “Q” located on the New West Quay & built by Aragon in 2009. This 1 bdrm, 1 bathroom suite faces West overlooking the Renaissance Square courtyard. Kitchen features a gas range, granite counters & S/S appliances, master suite has cheater ensuite, living room feature electric fireplace & lots of windows. Enjoy the open concept floor plan & large balcony which is great for entertaining. Prime location on the west side of the New West Quay, steps to the dog park, quay boardwalk, 10 min walk to New West Skytrain & Quay Market. Currently rented until Oct 2012 for $1150/month. Great for investors or first time buyers!

#101 14 E Royal Ave, New Westminster (Victoria Hill)


WOW! VICTORIA HILL master planned community by Onni.This suite & RAINSCREENED building have it all! OUTSTANDING,IMMACULATE,QUIET 1236 sf 3 bed/2 bath(both ensuites)condo.Ground floor(townhome feel)unit features your own large private yard perfect for kids/entertaining/dog owners!GORGEOUS Fraser River views,2 side by side parking spaces+locker.Luxurious finishing incl:Granite counters,high 9+ft ceilings,S/S appliances,Gas stove, large private bedrooms,huge master closet w/spa like ensuite.IN BUILDING amenities:Guest suite/gym/pool table/ party room.LOW STRATA Fees!Walk or Shuttle Bus to Douglas College,shops,GREAT schools,transit,Canada Games Pool. Steps to Queen’s Park. You’ll love all that New West has to offer! REA Full Realtor 19-Mar-12 12:55 PM The enclosed information while deemed to be correct, is not guaranteed. PREC* indicates Personal Real Estate Corporation. New Westminster, Fraserview NW Residential Attached

#27 245 Francis Way, New Westminster – GLENBROOK in Victoria Hill

June 28, 2010 – Video Blog Tour of #27 245 Francis Way, New Westminster

GLENBROOK AT VICTORIA HILL – Outstanding 3 bed, 2 bath Townhome, River & Mountain views, 1562 sqft with double tandem garage. This impressive home features high ceilings on the main, engineered hardwood floors, beautiful wood kitchen cabs, crown mouldings, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, 3 decks, spacious master bedroom w/large walk-in closet, oversized garage for 2 cars + extra rec room if desired, FULL RAINSCREEN with 2-5-10 yr warranty. Outstanding Amenities at the “Broiler Room” incl:Exercise Centre, Theatre Room, Study Area, Basketball Court & lounge w/pool table. Excellent location close to parks, shopping, 15 min walk to skytrain & privately situated at the back of the complex. Must See!!