Risks Associated with Purchasing Pre-Sale Properties in Vancouver, BC

Are you considering purchasing a presale property in the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC? While the prospect of owning a brand-new home in this thriving metropolis is undoubtedly exciting, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks involved in presale real estate transactions.    
In this blog, we'll delve into the intricacies of purchasing presale properties in Vancouver and explore the risks you need to consider.    
Join us as we discuss the unique factors that make the Vancouver presale market both enticing and complex, including market fluctuations, legal considerations, construction delays, and more.    
Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, understanding these risks is crucial for making informed decisions and safeguarding your investment.

Purchasing Pre-Sale Properties in Vancouver, BC

Photo by Avi Waxman on Unsplash

Understanding Presale Properties

Presale properties, also known as off-plan properties, refer to properties that are sold by developers before they are completed. In other words, when you purchase a pre-sale property, you are buying a property that has not yet been built or is still under construction. This can apply to various types of real estate, including 2-bedroom condos for sale in Vancouver BC, condominiums, townhouses, and commercial properties.

Process of Purchasing a Pre-Sale Property


Start by researching property developers and their upcoming projects. Look for their track record, the property's location, amenities, and expected completion timelines.


Get your finances in order. Understand the payment structure for presale properties, including the deposit requirements and the timeline for subsequent payments.

Legal Advice

Consider consulting a real estate lawyer to review the contract and ensure you understand all the terms and conditions of the presale agreement.


Once you've found a presale property you're interested in, you'll typically be asked to make a reservation by putting down a deposit.

Due Diligence

During the cooling-off period, use the time to conduct thorough due diligence on the property. This may involve reviewing the proposed building plans, understanding the warranty, and double-checking the reputation of the developer.

Mortgage Approval

If you're relying on a mortgage to complete the purchase, it's crucial to secure a mortgage pre-approval at this stage.

Contract Signing

When the cooling-off period ends and you're satisfied with your due diligence, you'll sign the purchase contract and pay the initial deposit.

Follow-up Payments

Be ready to make subsequent payments as the construction reaches certain milestones. These payments are typically outlined in the purchase contract.


Finally, upon completion of the property, you'll pay the remainder of the purchase price and take ownership of the property.

The Pros of Presale Properties

Potential for Capital Appreciation

One of the primary reasons people are attracted to presale properties is the potential for capital appreciation. If the real estate market is projected to rise over the construction period, purchasers can benefit from an increase in the value of their property before they even move in.

Customization Options

Depending on the stage of construction, buyers may have the opportunity to customize certain features of the property, such as finishes and fixtures, to suit their preferences.

Extended Period for Savings

Purchasing a pre-sale property often allows buyers more time to save for the down payment and closing costs, as the full payment is usually not due until the property is completed.

Warranties and Newness

New properties typically come with warranties, offering a level of assurance regarding the condition of the property and the quality of construction materials.

The Risks of Purchasing Pre-Sale Properties in Vancouver, BC

Vancouver’s real estate market has been known for its volatility, and this volatility can significantly impact those who invest in presale properties. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key risks associated with purchasing presale properties in Vancouver, BC.

The Risks of Purchasing Pre-Sale Properties in Vancouver, BC

Photo by Breno Assis on Unsplash

Completion Dates and Deposits

Developers' estimated dates are not guaranteed, and changes can catch buyers off guard, leading to financial and logistical challenges. This uncertainty can cause anxiety for buyers, prompting the need for careful consideration of the associated risks.    
In 2024, the presale market is expected to be most active in the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody), Langley (Willoughby), and Surrey. There's anticipated increased demand for presale condos in affordable markets. Buyers should stay informed and seek advice from real estate professionals to navigate these dynamic markets successfully.

Budget Overextension

Another risk factor is the potential for buyers to overextend their budget when purchasing a presale property. The expectation of improved future financial circumstances may lead buyers to commit to a property that is beyond their current means.     
While optimism about future financial growth is natural, it's essential to be cautious and avoid assuming that everything will go as planned.

Deviation from Expected Layouts

Often, buyers make their purchasing decisions based on estimated layouts provided by the developers. However, there is a risk that the final unit may differ from their expectations. This could lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction with the purchased property, especially if the actual layout does not align with the buyer’s lifestyle or functional needs.

Market Fluctuations

Vancouver’s real estate market is known for its fluctuations, and these fluctuations can impact presale properties. The average sale price of detached houses went up by 6.4% year-over-year and down by 1.8% month-over-month in December 2023.    
What may seem like an upward trend in the market at the time of purchase could quickly turn into a downward trend, leaving buyers with a property that is worth less than what they paid for it? Market volatility is a significant risk that buyers need to carefully consider before committing to a presale property.

Interest Rate Changes

Changes in interest rates can also pose a risk to buyers of pre-sale properties. While a buyer may qualify for a mortgage at the time of purchasing the presale property, changes in interest rates by the time of completion could affect their qualification. This, in turn, may result in reduced eligibility for a mortgage or higher borrowing costs, impacting the buyer’s financial plans.

Navigating the Presale Property Market

If you're considering purchasing a presale property, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:

Research the Developer

Look into the track record and reputation of the developer. An experienced and reputable developer is more likely to deliver a quality product within a reasonable timeframe.

Understand the Contract

Work with a real estate lawyer to review the presale contract thoroughly. Pay attention to the deposit structure, construction timeline, warranty coverage, and any provisions for potential delays.

Financial Preparation

While the extended timeline for payments can be an advantage, it's essential to ensure that you will be financially prepared for the full payment when the property is completed. Additionally, keep in mind that mortgage pre-approvals typically have a limited timeframe, so ensure that your financing remains in place.

Stay Informed About the Market

Keep an eye on the real estate market trends, both locally and regionally. Understanding market conditions can help you make an informed decision about purchasing a presale property.

Have Realistic Expectations

While presale properties can offer many benefits, it's important to approach the process with realistic expectations. Understand that construction timelines can change, and the final product may have minor differences from the initial plans.

A Few Last Words

While there are potential benefits to purchasing presale properties in Vancouver, BC, buyers must be aware of the associated risks. From uncertain completion dates and potential budget overextension to market fluctuations and interest rate changes, numerous factors can impact the outcome of purchasing a presale property.     
Prospective buyers should conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and carefully consider their financial situation and risk tolerance before making a decision. By staying informed and proactive, buyers can mitigate these risks and make more informed decisions when purchasing presale properties in Vancouver, BC.


1. What are the risks associated with purchasing pre-sale properties in Vancouver, BC?

Pre-sale properties in Vancouver come with construction and completion risks. Construction delays could lead to extended periods of uncertainty and possible financial strain for the buyer.

2. How can buyers protect themselves from risks when purchasing pre-sale properties in Vancouver, BC?

To mitigate risks, buyers should carefully review the developer's track record, seek legal advice on the purchase agreement, and ensure their deposit is held in trust until the completion of the property.

3. Are there financial risks associated with pre-sale properties in Vancouver, BC?

Yes, market fluctuations can affect the value of the property between the time of purchase and completion, potentially impacting the buyer's investment.

4. What regulatory safeguards exist for buyers of pre-sale properties in Vancouver, BC?

The Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA) in British Columbia provides regulations to protect buyers, outlining disclosure requirements, deposit protection, and provisions for project delays. Buyers should be aware of these protections when considering a pre-sale purchase.    

2024/01/29 | 4 Months Ago