CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP cont’d.

Continuation of my discussion on Condo Ownership. It always amazes me that so few owners of this type of real estate understand the consequences of owning it. And that so few of real estate agents who are selling potential buyers into this kind of property explain the implications of owning a condominium. [Living in British Columbia, this type of residence or home is referred to as “strata” [ A strata usually is a geological entity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratum ]

Then why do realtors sell this type of property as a “suite” instead of referring to it as a unit in a shared building (shared by more than at least two owners who are responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, financial assets, insurance and other sundries) which – the bigger the building and the older it gets – could amount to millions of dollars for repairs and maintenance to the entire building structure. Hence “an albatross around my neck” expression.

What makes it much worse is the loss of control each unit holder has on the operation of such a building, worse the larger it is. And those who are running the day to day whatever is needed, or even worse, an external management company, otherwise also referred to as “mismanagement company”. It is common human nature that people enjoy controlling others. Unfortunately those are mostly the ones who are incompetent or know the least of construction, finance control. In several condo’s I owned I didn’t have a big problem. But once in a while one is hung up in a situation that becomes the background for a NIGHTMARE CONDO story. Especially if one sees one’s investment going down the drain – literally in a ‘waterfall of busted pipes and other regularly occurring floodings’.

Having lived so many years in Alberta, Canada, in my own homes, on my own land, not sharing any common property, or other buildings hanging around my neck and making my life more miserable, trying to get out is not an option anymore, but has become a necessity.

 

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CONDO NIGHTMARE

That’s all I see when I Google for “condo nightmares” – thousands upon thousands of horror stories. Of course,  owning a condo means living or residing in the same building as many others sharing the building.  Worst situation is owning on the main floor, because water flows down, never up. That would be nice. In four years twice flooding, once from above me, now from below spraying up via a broken water pipe. Get out of here ! s.a.  https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/nightmare-condo/

TALKERS vs DOERS

Talkers – politicians, bureaucrats, managers giving orders, committees (“committees are notoriously known for not accomplishing anything”). Generally speaking, people on power trips who shy from being held responsible. Or, who enjoy ‘talking’ about all the impossibly difficult chores they have done – although it was others who worked hard and have done them, with their own two hands. Like: “I built a house, or a road or a bridge”.

When I say: “I renovated buildings including roofing, drywall, framing, flooring, tiles, and also grading roads and building wall for my own buildings, or building miles of fences for my horses”. That means, I did this using my own two hands and ‘elbow grease’, and if needed my trusted old 4-wheel drive truck. That also means that I did my own hunting in winter. Alone, or going out with my horse.

During my twenty six year in Alberta doing town and country construction for myself, I met a number of very impressive ladies. They worked hard. Ranching women. I never forget the lady to whom I had rented my land for grazing their cows, heifers and some young bulls. She arrived with a large truck/trailer which incidentally broke down in my yard upon arrival. Her partner, an Alberta cowboy, stood by while the lady went under her truck fixing it. As a women I find that rather impressive. I am like wise impressed by anything I can not do, such as using a big chainsaw, climbing up a big tree and start cutting from the top. That guy can impress me. And of course the many friends helping me with any technical construction work that I cannot do or are qualified to do.

But people who talk, talk, talk, not doing anything, just working with their mouth, no, does not fly with me. The downside is, of course, that rush decisions doing something have cost me a bundle. So, there you go: Talker vs. Doer.

NIGHTMARE CONDO

Continuation of my discussion on Condo Ownership. It can go very well or it can backfire. Costing the unsuspecting buyers their life savings. It is totally understandable that many who buy a home/property that is classified as a condominium may not fully comprehend what they are buying into. Primarily, unlike buying one’s own home on one’s own lot or land, with a condominium one buys (a) a commonly shared building, and (b) commonly shared land. The smaller the building, the easier it is to manage, in terms of repairs, regular maintenance and operation (heating, water, sewer, other municipal expenses). Operation also includes managing contracts for gardening, cleaning the building and grounds, and garbage removal etc. All these costs are shared by a number of owners who have purchased a share and reside in their own (four walls so to say) suite, for which they are responsible, and which they may improve or renovate, or repair. All owners also pay regular monthly fees for any of those expenses that affect the common shared portion. More often than not, there exist property management companies who under contract with all owners have the responsibility to manage the building and grounds, finances and insurances and sub-contracts for repairs, maintenance and operation. One of the major components of a good financing plan is (a) receiving sufficient monthly fees from the owners to build up a good solid contingency fund for future bigger expenses; (b) to be accountable to all owners and provide regular financial statements including audits by an independent auditing company;  (c) manage a larger building responsibly, with transparency and allowing for regular information disclosure. Else, the situation arises of the NIGHTMARE CONDO. Because not only does the management of a condo corporation involve one property manager, but also a whole committee or group of people – themselves owners – who regularly meet and take decisions. Which is commendable, being volunteer positions, but can backfire when certain elements of  “being on a power trip” play into this. From the four condo homes I have owned and never had any problems, until now, a slight warning: When buying a condo, look carefully at all condo documents (‘subject to purchase’), check the contingency fund (how much money is available for future larger expenses). With older buildings, after 30 or 40 years, one could assume that there should be a healthy fund. If monthly fees were not raised for years, then there is not enough money. Also new now as a rule is the Depreciation Report which is a fairly large document showing what systems or parts of the property need larger expenses within which time frame. If future expenses – let’s say 30 years forward – exceed the assessed value of the building, a purchase of any unit in that building would not be advisable. A good rule of thumb is: Buildings depreciate when they age, while land appreciates. All in the context of rising or falling property markets, of course.

Example of 2013 flood damages caused=video

TCPL Resources / Trans Canada – a history

TCPL Resources, 1980s subsidiary of Trans Canada Pipelines. Inside the culture. Eye witness account. During the 1980s, when Canada’s National Energy Program almost killed the oil industry in Alberta, many of us employed by those oil companies under false promises suffered. I personally was subjected to two company takeovers (Hudson’s Bay Oil & Gas Company takeover by Dome Petroleum around 1980 – HBOG does not exist anymore). I left HBOG after 4 years as a Sr. Systems Analyst/Designer shortly before its takeover. To accept a Senior IT position with Maligne Resources Ltd. (also does not exist anymore). By 1983 Maligne Resources [ http://www.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/f/finances/index.html?query=MALIGNE%20RESOURCES&field=org&match=exact ] was taken over by TCPL Trans Canada Pipelines Resources (Division).

Interesting, how large oil & pipeline corporations can create divisions, departments, and subsidiaries in a blink of an eye, for the sole purpose of either taking over other oil companies or divisions, or for the purpose of instigating massive layoffs (“culling”) campaigns. Mostly accompanied by a blatant disregard of human rights.

As a professional having worked for over 40 years in the IT and computer services field, in many international organizations in Europe and then – following my graduate IS program at Syracuse University, USA – many years in the Alberta oil industry. The experiences in the Alberta oil patch cannot be compared to anything I had experienced anywhere in the world, as far as professional conduct is concerned.

Hudson’s Bay Oil & Gas Co. was a good solid company. Too bad, they had to go down in history, after several takeovers. The worst experience was with – what does not exist anymore now – TCPL Resources, presumably at the time during the 1980s formed to takeover Maligne Resources Co.

[ more on this : https://renataveritasopinion.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/secondhand-smoke-tcpl-resources-ltd/ and http://renataveritashistory.com/2013/07/03/trans-canada-pipelines-tcpl-resources/ ]