Do to the prices in Downtown Vancouver (& surrounding areas) I find a lot of people looking into buying older / more run down units to renovate. This way they can leverage the renovation to boost their property value.
The best way to go about this is to hire a professional “specialist” Realtor (by this I mean an agent thatactually knows the buildings “intimately” in your area of desire) who can get direct you towards buying into a building with “Good Bones”. By good bones I mean a building that has:
- Good foundation
- Good plumbing
- Good roof
- Good envelope
- PROACTIVE STRATA (most important)
I spoke about this in a prior blog “The 3 ways to make money in Real Estate”.
1) Buy Real Estate in an up & coming area. When you buy in an area that is being built, as the community and local amenities around you grow as will your property value.
2) Buy & hold! With this approach you must have patience & the financial means to HOLD ON for the ride. You must look LONG TERM as Real Estate does very much so follow cycles you must strategically pick your entry & exit points.
3) Buy a property, Renovate & Sell. This must also be strategically assessed. You can not go into this plan thinking you can buy a condo for $300K, renovate for $200K and sell for $500K. Price to re-sale value varies with every room you renovate from bathroom to bedroom & kitchen… Its all individual.. Consult your Contractor & realtor to get that Cost to Value spectrum to give you a clear idea of what level of reno is worth proceeding with.
When renovating a condominium unit or townhouse in a stratified building / complex you need to not only comply with City bylaws but your own Strata bylaws. The most common example of this that I have seen is if you want to install Hardwood floor throughout your condo. You do not have to get permission from the City but you do have to consult & ask for permission from your Strata Council.
Once you have developed your lans for renovations now is the time to see if the right permission you are going to be needed will be granted.
NO PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR (Condominium):
- Replacing fixtures eg. refrigerator, stove etc (except gas fixtures, these always require permits)
- Replacement of countertops, cabinets and flooring
- Interior Painting
BUILDING PERMITS & APPLICABLE TRADE PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR:
- Removal of interior walls & partitions
- Construction of new walls or partitions
- Relocate or installation of new electrical, gas and plumbing lines (including moving a kitchen sink or adding a dishwasher)
- Removal of a portion of a wall to install a door or create an archway
- Replacement of a drain, waste and vent piping or the water distribution system
- The upgrade, replacement or installation of a new fire alarm system or sprinkler system
BOTH DEVELOPMENT, BUILDING PERMITS & APPLICABLE TRADE PERMITS ARE NEEDED FOR:
- Build an addition to increase floor area (Square Footage)
- Add, remove or relocate a window, skylight or exterior door (9 times out of 10 you will not be allowed to touch the exterior of the building)
- Install a gas fireplace that requires the installation of an outtake pipe (chimney)
** there are also slightly different restrictions on Detached houses from the City of Vancouver.
If you are unclear or in doubt as to what type of permit is needed if any and why you may need it please contact:
City Hall - http://vancouver.ca/contact.htm