In a city with a booming population, healthy economy and opportunities abound, it’s not surprising that Toronto has always been and now, more than ever, continues to be an attractive option for real estate investment. Ground-breaking architecture and design, distinct and desirable neighbouhoods and proximity to local amenities, school and health systems and public transit are just a few of the reasons why many people consider buying a condo in Toronto. This investment in particular is consistently on the rise.
Image credit: City of Toronto
But before you leap into that condominium investment, make sure you do your homework. Major points to consider before buying a condo in Toronto include: doing your research ahead of time, narrowing down locations, getting to know existing residents (i.e. your future “neighbours”) if possible, being aware and planning for occupancy fees and condo fees, consideration and planning for potential repairs and insurance, and of course – the likelihood of keeping your “view” in a city that never stops growing “up” around you.
Image Credit: TripSavvy
As Canada’s largest city and the capital of Ontario, Toronto spans an area of 630 square kilometres, with a maximum north–south distance of 21 kilometres. It has a maximum east–west distance of 43 km, with a 46-kilometre long waterfront shoreline, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, per Wikipedia.
According to the city’s official website, there are 158 social planning neighbourhoods in Toronto. Each of these neighbourhoods reflects the tremendous diversity of this thriving city, and all contribute to the fabric of the cultural mosaic that is Toronto.
From high-rise condominiums to boutique buildings, there are condo options at all ends of the spectrum in the city available for investment. Narrowing down your location of interest is one of the most important considerations when procuring a condominium to best serve your interests.
Sounds pretty common sense, right? And yet, every day more and more buyers say “yes” to the condo, get excited at the thrill of finally finding “the one” and sign on the bottom line before really doing their due diligence.
In a competitive market, hopeful purchasers will want to ensure they’ve crossed all their “T’s” and dotted all their “I’s” before putting ink to paper. Having a clear idea of affordability, the process awaiting you upon signing are definitely things to put thought into ahead of time.
Another key point of research has to do with the developer of the property you’re considering buying into and the corporation behind the construction and management end of things. Buying from a reputable builder and corporation in good standing will help to ensure you avoid some potential headaches in the long run.
When you buy into an existing building, you’re buying into the lifestyle and community therein. Just as you would hope to get a feel for your neighbours in any detached-home community, those residents in your building of choice will also play a role in your experience, both as an end-user and investor. Not to mention, resident demographics will often have influence when it comes to re-sale value and appeal. For example, a building where there is a significant portion of residents who qualify as retirees who’ve downsized could be appealing for future re-sale for similarly-positioned potential buyers, or those looking for a more quiet condo community.
When it comes to conferring with existing residents, should any red flags come up, it may give you some extra things to consider when making your final decision on whether or not to buy. Getting to known your future neighbours is all about getting some insight into the “community” dynamic of the building and having a peek behind the curtain.
In the pocket of time between taking ownership of your condo and your point of actually taking physical occupancy is when you’ll be paying occupancy fees often referred to as “phantom rent” because it does not apply to your mortgage. The duration of these fees will generally span four to six months. Here is where another benefit of reputable developers comes in, making it less likely that those pesky occupancy fees will be dragged out beyond this common timeframe.
Condo fees are a series of monthly fees allotted toward the building’s maintenance and services. It’s always a good idea to ensure you do your homework on how a building’s condo fees are established and what they include (for example, amongst the service and operating costs, are utilities included?), to start. When it comes to a new development, you’ll also want to look into how much you can expect those condo fees to go up in the second year.
When it comes to repairs and insurance, you’ll want to know where you stand before you buy into the building. Is the condominium responsible for repairs and such, or will you be expected to cover some of those costs? What kind of coverage is included in the standard insurance provided by the coporation? The more clarity you have on these matters, the better equipped you’ll be to go forward.
Image Credit: Unsplash
The City of Toronto offers distinctly unique views no matter where you’re facing. But some views are definitely better – and more importantly, more valuable – than others. If it’s the view that drew you in – then odds are you’re paying a premium for that exposure – so it’ll be an added point of (significant) financial investment in your unit.
While there’s no way to guarantee your view will remain unobstructed in a city where development is constant, you should still take the initiative to inquire about any upcoming developments in the area, additional buildings in the development plan (in the case of new builds), by looking into active development plans and applications for the city and of course, checking in with your real estate agent, who will have the knowledge and resources to help you obtain all the information you need.
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