Ask the Expert: Are Multiple Units For Sale a Red Flag?

Barry Magee
January 13, 2015

Q: In the building in which I’m viewing a condo, there are several other units for sale – is this a red flag?

A: When buying into a strata, it's very important to be diligent and ask the tough questions. Building health is of paramount importance – this is a critical factor that every buyer should fully research. When there are several units for sale in a building, it does raise a concern about the health of the building. Why are multiple owners trying to sell at the same time?

Often there is no real rhyme or reason why anyone sells at any given time, and the reason someone is selling might not be visible on the surface. But if five listings come up in a building right after the annual general meeting, this can be a sign of trouble in Kansas.

Investors tend to be more calculated and ruthless when it comes to real estate, so a key point to research would be whether or not the units are occupied by owners or renters. Often times in a troubled building, you will several units for sale that are occupied by renters or, as is sometimes the case these days, not occupied at all. If the listings are all occupied by owners, I'd be more cautious in my initial assessment of the situation, but if all the listings coming on the market are investment units this can certainly be a red flag.

Finding a suite that you love in a strata complex is often tricky in itself, but making sure you are in a healthy building with a proactive strata council can be just as important. I find most strata complexes to be run by diligent owners trying to make the best of their situation. As houses become more and more unaffordable in the Lower Mainland, strata ownership is becoming popular with professionals with even the highest credentials.

Having a proactive strata council is often the key to a healthy building, and tackling issues head on is always better than attempting to avoid them. A building will almost always pay more in the long run if issues are avoided.

Barry Magee
Barry Magee is a Vancouver-based REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty at 4387 Main Street, Vancouver. He has an extensive background in marketing, and brings a consultative approach to the table for his real estate clients.