Nov 2007 28

Condominium and Apartment Terminology: A quick guide for first time buyers

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Complex real estate terminology can be a bit confusing to a first time buyer. This short guide provides you with a good reference to general terms related to condominiums and apartments that you are likely to run into when purchasing your property in Vancouver.



Alcove studio: A studio apartment with an alcove, usually for dining or extra sleeping place. A windowed alcove studio which is large enough to provide an extra bedroom is sometimed referred as a "junior bedroom".

Alcove: This refers to the area adjacent to the living room which could be used as a dining space or modified to make a bedroom, den or an office.

Annual Budget: Budget for the general maintenance fees, repairs and administrative costs prepared by the condominium board.

Annual Meeting (AGM): It is required for the condominium board to hold an annual meeting where general related things are discussed, amongst presenting financial statements and defining the next budget.

Bareland Condominium: A different type of a condominium in which the condominium owers own everything that is built on the land, instead of just owning the area from the walls inside. Only condominiumized part is the land itself.

Common Elements: This includes various parts of the condo that the homeowners share as joint owners. The roof, hallways, garage, recreational areas and similar are good examples of common elements.

Common Property: These are parts of land or buildings which are not owned individually. The Strata Act specifies the related responsibilities and details of how these are handled.

Disclosure: In all cases, the developers must provide all the necessary documents to the purchaser. This includes a purchase agreement, bylaws (can be proposed bylaws as well), a management and recreational agreement, parcel lease (if applies), mortgages that might affect the title and a condominium plan. There's a specified date when these documents have to be delivered, usually ten days.

Final Closing: The date when the condo is registered officially and when you obtain the title to the property.

Furnished Units: These are apartments, which are already equipped with furniture and amenities for everyday living. It is not uncommon to find these in downtown luxurious condos where the developer is trying to add something extra to attract buyers.

Loft area: Most of the times found in older repurposed industrial buildings with high ceilings. It's typically an additional area accessible by a smaller staircase to provide an extra sleping or living area.

Occupancy Date: The date when you must take occupany of your propety, as specified in the contract.

Occupancy Fee: Not unlike to rent, this is the buyers fee for living in your home before the final closing takes place. It contains estimated monthly fees of maintenance, realty taxes and a monthly interest component.

Registration: Refers to the process process by which the condo's declaration and description are officially approved by the requisite governmental organs.

Studio: Describes a two-room apartment where the kitchen is considered one of them.

Strata Property Act: Relates specifically to British Columbia. This act specifies the responsibilities of developers, unit owners, the owner elected Strata Council for the complex and the property management company which manages the building on behalf of the Strata Council who represent the owners.

Unit: The space contained within the set of specified boundaries in your home.

Vancouver Half-Duplex: This form of non-detached housing is unique and characteristic to British Columbia. Usually found in western parts of Vancouver.

Zoning Regulations: Guidelines set by municipal governments that regulate the ways how property can or can not be used. They can be strict and should not be overlooked.

For more information related to condos and apartments in Vancouver, visit our Vancouver Lofts and Condo Guide.

One Response to “Condominium and Apartment Terminology: A quick guide for first time buyers”

  1. Elli

    I am a realtor myself and I know that real estate terminology can really be quite confusing. Well, that’s what some of my clients say. You have compiled an extensive reference list, thank you for it.

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