Homebuyers get advice from Tri-City REALTOR® - by Gary McKenna - The Tri-City News
Local REALTOR® John Grasty will be holding a seminar this month to discuss the potential pitfalls home buyers face when entering the real estate market. Photo: COLLEEN FLANAGAN/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
John Grasty knows the pitfalls that can come when buying real estate.
In 1997 he discovered the condo he purchased in Coquitlam's Town Centre neighbourhood was one of thousands caught up in the Lower Mainland's leaky condo disaster.
Following the incident Grasty became an outspoken critic of building practices and the provincial governments handling of those affected by the crisis. He has since become a REALTOR® and blogs (http://realestateevolved.com/john-grastys-blog/) about the dangers home buyers face when entering the real estate market.
Today, 13 years and millions of dollars after the first leaky condos were discovered; Grasty said there are still many issues buyers should be aware of before putting an offer on a home.
"I have had clients who have wanted to put an offer in on a building... and after doing our due-diligence we have discovered things that tell us this isn't a safe building to buy in to," he said. "I have had this happen many, many times."
This month Grasty will speak at a seminar at the Poirier Library to discuss some of the issues he has seen and faced himself.
With many younger home buyers now entering the market, Grasty's advice is invaluable. However he is quick to point out that it is not just young buyers who get caught up in the pitfalls
that can come with home ownership.
In fact, the majority of people affected by the leaky condo crisis were owners looking to down size from a single-detached home to a townhouse or condo.
He said he has seen cases of elderly, debt-free people getting hit with $80,000 to $100,000 repair bills following their purchase of a leaky condo.
"These are people in the twilight of their life and it is just absolutely sick they have to deal with these types of issues," he said.
Grasty is also critical of the provincial government's recent decision to eliminate interest free loans for people who have been caught up in the leaky condo crisis.
"We just stepped back 12 years," he said. "The BC Liberals basically ignored all of the good work that has been done."
Grasty said the government is wrong to think the leaky condo crisis is over.
Legislation enacted in 1999 which forced developers to change some of their business practices was not retroactive, he points.
That means a developer who took out a building permit before the changes were made could still go ahead and build under the old parameters. Grasty believes buildings constructed as recently as 2001 could leak.
Also, those buying detached homes often believe they are free of leaky condo dangers.
This is not so, according to Grasty. "Half of the Westwood Plateau was built with the same technology as leaky condos," he said. "
But it is not just leaky condos that Grasty said buyers need to be aware of.
All sorts of situations can come up, whether it is an old oil tank in the yard or information on financing. He said the seminars are a great way for people to learn more about the buying process.
"I am really concerned that too many people are falling victim to the frustration of buying and selling because they don't do their due-diligence," he said. "We tell people how to prepare for the purchase."
Grasty will hold a seminar at the Poirier Library on September 17 between 6:45 and 8:45 p.m. For more information go to www.library.coquitlam.bc.ca or www.realestateevolved.com