Should you buy a condo from a builder?Everyone knows that new Toronto condo developments are a hot commodity. Depending on which numbers you believe, there are between 132 and 172 new condos under construction right now.  Yes, that is the most of any city, but then again, the US and Europe are in a free-fall, so is that really a surprise?

If you’re thinking of buying a pre-construction condo in Toronto, you’re probably wondering if you should use a Realtor or go it alone. Of course, we’re biased (we are Realtors after all)…but here’s the case for using a Realtor:

  • Many Buyers buy directly from the Builder, but the sales guy at that gorgeous model suite works for the Builder, not for you. His job is to get the highest price and the best conditions for the Builder. He doesn’t care if you don’t get the best price, or if you sign a contract that restricts your ability to resell or rent the unit–he works for the Builder, not for you. How can that be a good idea?
  • Yes, when you use a Realtor to buy a pre-construction condo, we get paid (imagine–we get paid for our work!). But don’t be fooled into thinking that if you don’t use a Realtor, that you’ll pocket the money we would have been paid. That money will go to the Builder’s sales team (or maybe the Builder himself). Have you ever heard of a Buyer getting a discount because they didn’t use a Realtor? Me either.
  • Buying a pre-construction condo is complicated and there are a lot of legal intricacies and details involved–just ask all the Buyers at the Trump Tower who just found out they signed contracts that barred them from selling their units before completion, or all the Sellers getting surprise HST bills when they flip their condo before closing.
  • By the time a new condo project goes on sale to the public, most of the good units are already sold–in fact, we routinely see condos or lofts that are already 50% sold  by the time of the public opening. The ONLY WAY to get the best units (high floors, best layouts, good views) is by partnering with someone who has VIP access to the condos BEFORE they go on sale to the public. And if you’re working with the right VIP Realtor, you should get special VIP pricing and upgrades too.
  • Yes, Builders are notorious non-negotiators. But there ARE things that a knowledgeable Realtor can negotiate for you–from upgrades to a cap on your development closing costs (See? you probably didn’t even know that closing costs for pre-construction condos can be thousands and thousands of dollars more than a resale a condo and they CAN be capped)

If you decide to use a Realtor to buy a pre-construction condo in Toronto, make sure you partner with someone who knows pre-construction and knows the particular project you’re interested in. They’ll know the good buildings, the good builders and can walk you through what can be an intimidating process.

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