All about condos in TorontoRandom facts about Toronto condos:

  1. The word condominium actually refers to a a legal form, not a specific structural form. A condominium can be detached, semi-detached, stacked townhouses or apartment complexes.
  2. There are 2,008 condos available for sale in downtown Toronto today (south of Bloor, Roncesvalles to Woodbine).
  3. Common elements refers to shared areas including walkways, gardens, elevators, lobbies, parking areas, recreational facilities, stairways, etc.
  4. Most condo boards have rules re: the colour of curtains and blinds and what you can and cannot store on a balcony.
  5. Generally, condo owners own the drywall in – meaning all the plumbing, electrical, etc. is owned by the condo corporation. Details of exactly what is and is not owned is included in the Status Certificate.
  6. When buying a condo, it’s important to consider building amenities, parking, storage, the residents, the management and a whole lot of other stuff. Click here to read about What to Look for When Buying a Condo in Toronto.
  7. Many condos have rented hot water tanks or heat pumps – this can add $35-$75 a month to your carrying costs.
  8. Co-ops are a form of ownership where individuals have a share in the co-op – the right to live in a housing unit but not actually own it. Co-ops are harder to finance than condos but generally cheaper to buy.
  9. The most expensive condo on the market today in the GTA is $28,000,000. It doesn’t suck.
  10. Condos that are part-hotel, part-condo are often hard to finance as banks require higher downpayments. Taxes are often much higher as well as many are taxed as commercial properties vs residential properties.
  11. Storage lockers come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure to visibly look at the locker before you make an offer!
  12. The Toronto condo market is more balanced than the house market, which means fewer bidding wars and fewer sales above the asking price.
  13. If you’re thinking of buying a condo as an investment property, click here to find out How to Make Money by Investing in a Toronto Condo. There are some secrets.
  14. Condominium bylaws are created to deal with the operational aspects of the condominium corporation and the duties and responsibilities of the Board.
  15. The Status Certificate is legal and financial guts of the condo corporation – it contains details of the financial statements, declarations and by-laws of the corporation. It also itemizes maintenance fees, any lawsuits against the corporation, planned maintenance or expenses, the condominium budget, the number of rental units in the building, the percentage of the condo owned by that unit, etc. Your lawyer should always review the Status Certificate – and your bank will likely require it to advance you a mortgage.
  16. Status Certificates generally cost $100 – and the condo corporation has 10 days to provide one once it has been requested.
  17. New condos (as opposed to resale) are subject to HST – though partial rebates are available if the condo will be your primary residence.
  18. Lofts are usually condos too. Click here to read more about Lofts in Toronto.
  19. Part of your condo fees go towards covering the operating costs of the common elements; part of your condo fees go to a reserve fund (a rainy day fund to cover unforeseen problems and expenses).
  20. Condo fees generally include the city of Toronto’s fees for water, garbage and sewage which can amount to $750 a year for a typical Toronto house owner.
  21. Concierge services and swimming pools are some of the most expensive amenities in a condo building.
  22. Before buying a condo, explore the retail establishments on the main level – smells from restaurants or noise from bars can detract from the value (not to mention your enjoyment).
  23.  Condos are generally insured against fire and liabilities – but of course condo owners need to insure the interiors of individual units themselves.
  24. When selecting insurance coverage, don’t forget that you own the toilet, the floors, the kitchen cabinets, the appliances, etc and you need to insure them too.
  25. Some parking spots are owned (deeded), some are granted ‘exclusive use’ and some are rented. Make sure you know the difference!
  26. Lofts that have been converted from old industrial buildings are generally not covered by Tarion home warranty coverage.
  27. You can get a home inspection for a condo too – it’ usually cheaper. Most won’t look at the inner workings of the condo – just the interiors of the suite. Because most of the ‘big stuff’ is owned by the condo corporation, most Buyers don’t bother doing a condo inspection.
  28. Are you still reading this? Cool.
  29. The Condominium Act is a provincial legislative document that sets out the requirements for operating a condominium. The Condominium Act is about to get a revamp (finally).
  30. A special assessment is an assessment above and beyond the monthly condo fees which the condo board may decide to levy for a special purpose. It usually results from unexpected or un-budgeted expenses that are not covered by the reserve fund.
  31. The BREL team (that’s us) owns 2 condos downtown. And Mel has previously owned a condo and a condo townhouse in King West.
  32.  Rental vacancies are at an-time low in Toronto, around 1%. Bidding wars for condo rentals aren’t uncommon.
  33.  Condos set their own rules about pets – it’s rare to see a condo in Toronto that doesn’t have some kind of restrictions (e.g. only dogs under 25 pounds, etc.)
  34. Condos have appreciated by 21% in the last 4 years, though that trend seems to be flattening.
  35. Most condo towers do not allow gas BBQ’s – the reason is usually because of insurance issues with propane tanks in the elevators.
  36. The average size of condo units in newly constructed buildings has been decreasing.
  37. You can buy a resale condominium or a brand-spanking new condominium. Click here to read about the Differences Between Resale and New Condominiums.
  38. Condos generally appreciate more slowly than single-family residences. From March 2011 to March 2012, average condo prices increased by 2%.
  39. Condo Boards have annual general meetings – they can be boring, but it’s important that residents attend.
  40. If you rent out your condo, that income is taxable and the property is subject to capital gains tax when you sell it. But you can write off many of the expenses.
  41. When you buy a condo, you have to  pay land transfer tax and all the other closing costs. Click here to read about Closing Costs. 
  42. Toronto is the 5th most densely populated city in North America. It’s just natural that so many of us would flock to condos!
  43. If your condo neighbour is driving you nuts, there are processes to deal with disputes.
  44. Many condo boards have rules dictating the minimum length of a rental agreement. Most require copies of the lease and your tenant’s information.
  45. Our favourite website for all the scoop on new condo developments in Toronto is BuzzBuzzHome.com.
  46. 45% of Toronto residents are foreign-born – the highest percentage in the world. The rate of immigration into Toronto is one of the reasons many experts point to in support of the new condos being built.
  47. Most first-time Buyers in Toronto buy condos because the costs and risks of a condo vs a house are generally lower.  There’s a lot to know if you’re a First Time Buyer.
  48. There are 132 condos currently under construction in Toronto, the most of any city in North America.
  49. If you’re thinking of buying a pre-construction in Toronto, you can buy directly from the builder or use the services of a Realtor.
  50. Wow, 50 was hard. I really will do anything for a blog title.

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