Buying a Condo in Toronto
If you take a look at the gorgeous skyline of Toronto, chances are that after the CN Tower, you notice the overwhelming cityscape created by the condo buildings in the city. Condos make up a huge portion of not only the downtown core of Toronto, but the cities of Etobicoke, Mississauga, and into the Greater Toronto Area. With less room to expand outwards, the city is growing up and up!
Living in a condo is a great option for home buyers. It’s often cheaper than a free standing home, and you get the added benefits of condo amenities, the ease of not having to care for a property, and often the added bonus of a gorgeous view of the city from your window.
Buying a condo is different than buying a home, so it’s important to know what you should expect or look out for when you are buying a condo in Toronto.
Here are a Few Things to Consider When Buying a Condo in Toronto:
Pre-construction vs. resale condos
A pre-construction condo is a condo that is not yet built. Often times, you can put a portion of money down to secure a unit in a building anytime from way before they break ground on the site, until the building is registered aka finished (if it’s not completely sold out). The benefit of this is that you put down the down payment in increments, making it easy from a budget standpoint. The mortgage kicks in only when the building is registered and you move in. This is great for people looking to invest, or those who are looking to continue to save as they wait for the condo to be finished. The prices are lower than a resale condo, since nothing is built yet and it’ll be a few years before it is.
The downside of buying pre-construction is the fact that the condo isn’t ready yet. You can wait anywhere from a year, up to 3+ years before you are able to move in or get a renter in. Also, since the condo isn’t built yet, you are buying a unit in a building which you haven’t exactly seen. You simply have to go off of floor plans and model suites. While it can be a great investment, it’s not always something buyers are comfortable with.
Buying a condo resale is almost the same as buying any other property. Someone already owns it, it’s already built, and you go to condo showings just like any other house showing. The perks of this is that you can see the building, the amenities, and the unit. The cons are that its market price, whereas buying pre-construction has that benefit of being much cheaper.
Ask About Amenities and Condo Fees
Condo fees are fees that go towards the maintenance and upkeep of your condo building. They range anywhere from $250-1,000+ depending on the building. Typically, condo buildings that have more amenities have higher fees. Amenities are things such as your front door staff, a garden, pool, gym, rooftop area with a barbeque, party rooms, dog washing rooms – you name it! They also go towards caring for the building, such as washing the underground parking and windows, maintaining the pipes, and cleaning out your filters in your unit.
It’s important to know what amenities are important to you, and which are not since you’ll ultimately be paying for them with your condo fees. Each condo has a condo board which decides where these funds go. Ask your realtor to get you as much information as possible about the condo fees and where they go, and take a good look at the building and the grounds. Make sure it all looks good, and you’re happy with the upkeep. When you buy a condo unit, you are also investing in the building.
Understand the Condo Board & Rules
Condos are run by condo boards, which is a group of owners who elects the board (also made up of owners) and votes at General Meetings. Every condo is allowed to make up their own condo rules (such as no dogs). Ask about the condo board and condo rules, and look into it before you put down an offer. If it helps, chat with other owners in the building. Your realtor will likely have connections with other realtors, and can help find you some references.
Condos are a Great Place to Live if it’s Right for You
At the end of the day, some people love condo living while others prefer a home. Some love the ease at which everything in a condo is taken care of, while others like to have more privacy. It really depends on the person, and there is no right answer. Condos give you the luxury of more affordable prices, and the ability to live in the center of the city. As with any home purchase, it’s incredibly important to work with a knowledgeable Toronto realtor and do your research before you buy.