Should I buy a leaky condo?

Lately I’ve been recieving a lot of mail asking for advice on specific issues.. I’d like to take this time to proclaim my non-expert status. I have no way of foretelling the future, if I had that ability I’d be too busy swimming around in my money bin to post here.

The most recent question to come in is from someone considering the purchase of a previously leaky condo unit that has been repaired and has the standard warranty. Here’s the concern:

“The development is in Coquitlam and was repaired last year to a level that it has the 2-5-10 warranty. My concern is in the design of the building which doesn’t have overhangs in some areas and has a flat roof in some areas. Should I be concerned with this?”

Most conventional wisdom I’ve heard says to stay away from buildings like this, but I have a feeling that some of the people reading here might know more about this subject than I do, so therefore I submit this topic for discussion – Are flat roofs and lack of overhangs on a repaired leaky condo a dangerzone? Or are previously leaky condos a good way to get into an overpriced market?

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davec
davec
13 years ago

My wife and I recently returned from a 10 day visit to Vancouver. (We're from Arizona.) We fell in love with the city (especially the weather!) and are looking to buy a condo for retirement in about 5 years. I've learned about rain screens. Our excellent RE agent is looking out for our interests and only wants to put us in a well built concrete structure. My question is about overhangs. I won't assume I know what they are, where they should be or how big they should be. How do you judge?Are there any other criteria we should consider in a building?This is a great site, and I really appreciate all the info that comes across it. No, we're not in a hurry to buy, it is way to expensive now and even if you rent it out you… Read more »

d_oush
d_oush
14 years ago

I think that buildings with water issues could be a good way to buy something below market value. With some minor renovations these apartments can be made to look quite attractive. As long as you sell it within a year or two you don't have to worry so much about the long term state of the building.

ken
ken
14 years ago

I think the problem with stucco is it can act like a sponge. They seal the face of it, but if there is a small hole or unsealed area water can get in, but cant get out. Stucco can soak up the water where it sits to rot and mould.

ACpilot1
ACpilot1
14 years ago

Millionpitfall, a friend told me to avoid stucco buldings, but didn't explain why. Other than no overhang as you mentioned, do you know why he would say this?

ACpilot1
ACpilot1
14 years ago

Thanks for the information on overhang, millionpitfall.

MillionPitfall
MillionPitfall
14 years ago

This is repaired building with no overhang. In the future it stands a good chance of developing a leak problem again because the overall design is bad for our rainy climate.http://tinyurl.com/o769y

MillionPitfall
MillionPitfall
14 years ago

If you want send the blogger a picture of the building your considering and I can tell by looking at the design whether you will have water problems or not. Especially on those flat roof areas your talking about.

MillionPitfall
MillionPitfall
14 years ago

Previously we were the proud owners of a leaky condo. I was on the building commitee for two years in addition to the council. We learned a lot about building design and construction. My best advice to you would be overhang, overhang, overhang. No overhang run for the hills. Repaired buildings with no overhang or lack of overhang will have rot problems in about 7-12 years just when all those warranties have expired. Look for a building that has overhang. Overhang is like your umbrella in the rain, it keeps the building drier.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

I supposed the 'leakiness' appeared within months to a couple of years in the case of woodframe apts; perhaps others can confirm this. Concrete highrises can take up to 5 to 10 years after the buildings have settled, moved, pipes shaked out of positions, underground carpark walls cracked, water seeped in… I've also seen a case of concrete with insufficient cement and when it rained water seeped through and the metal pipes inside the concrete walls/floors became rusted.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

Only in the recent buying mania have people ignored the past 'leakiness' of condos. Even in a best-case 'soft landing' scenario, that attitude will change and leaky condos will again become the RE equivalent of a leper colony. And, as others have pointed out, there's no guarantee against future leaks with bad design. Walk away.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

I share the same sentiment. Why buy in to an unknow product, esp if the developers are foreign-based!!!It's another story if it's a local developer esp one owned by a guy who was THEN the huncho of a crown corporation like BCH concerned about his reputation, the buyers were able to sue for a huge sum of monies. The monies generate interest income from GICs. 😉

d_oush
d_oush
14 years ago

Well, any building will eventually need some sort of repairs or maintenance, but the design of the building definately has an impact on how often those repairs are necessary.If this place is an excellent deal and you are prepared for the possibility of paying extra for repairs in the future then go for it. If you are stretching to pay for the condo and don't have a reserve of cash you might want to talk to a few building inspectors before you consider it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

"Or are previously leaky condos a good way to get into an overpriced market?"Aarrgghh! I wouldn't touch one of the units with a barge-pole. Why would any right thinking person knowingly buy one? Some remediations have been done on these buildings not once, but two or three times.If you've got a gambling soul maybe it makes sense, but paying top dollar for an unknown product doesn't appeal to everyone.

digi
digi
14 years ago

Like most of these types of questions there are too many variables that are personal.. Are you buying to live in it long term or buying to flip it in a year? If you're going to live there long term are you prepared to pay for more repairs if there are problems after the warranty is expired?Buying to flip it in a year would probably just be a silly way to lose a bunch of money at this point.