— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.
If you’ve graduated from being a realtor.ca addict to actually getting Toronto property listings e-mailed to you, you’ll quickly realize that whoever designed the Toronto MLS listing was a Realtor who loved lingo and bad abbreviations. Here’s what you should look for when reading a Toronto MLS listing (and scroll down for a description of all the fields):
The Upper Section of the Toronto MLS Listing
- Taxes, asking price and address
- DOM – Days on the Market. If a property has been on the market longer than average (which is about 26 days right now in Toronto) there may be good negotiating opportunities (or something wrong with the property).
- Rms: this refers to the number of rooms
- Bedrooms: number of bedrooms – a +1 would usually indicate a den
- Washrooms: number of washrooms – 1×4 means a 4 piece bath with tub with shower, 1×3 means a 3 piece bath with tub or shower, 1×2 is a powder room with no bath or shower
- Occup: This will tell you if the unit is occupied by the owner or a tenant
- Possession: This is the Seller’s ideal closing date
Don’t worry about:
- SPIS – this refers to the Seller Property Information Statement which is a document some Sellers complete where they disclose what they know about the property – a Y means a SPIS is available, an N means it is not (usually it’s N for condos)
- All the legal descriptions and zoning information, though this is critical info for your Realtor and lawyer
- #Shares% – this is only relevant to co-ops
- PIN # – this is a number that the city uses to identify the property
- Status Cert: This refers to whether or not a status certificate for the building has already been ordered – your realtor will care about this but you don’t have to
The Middle Section of the Property Listing
This next section gives important information about the condo.
What to focus on:
- Heat – what kind of heat is in the building?
- Apx age – the age of the building
- Apx sqft – the size of the unit in sqft- usually a range
- Exposure – this refers to whether the unit is facing east, west, north or south
- Pets perm: This refers to whether or not pets are permitted in the building – most condos have restrictions based on number of pets and size
- Maint – this refers to the monthly maintenance fee
- A/C – does the condo have air conditioning?
- Central vac – does the condo have a central vacuum system?
- Elev/Lift – does the building have an elevator?
- Taxes incl – are taxes included in the maintenance fee? (usually no)
- Water incl: are water charges included in the maintenance fee? (usually yes)
- Heat incl: is heat included in the maintenance fee?
- Hydro Incl: is hydro included in the maintenance fee?
- Cable TV incl: is cable tv included in the maintenance fee?
- CAC Incl: is central air conditioning hydro included in the maintenance fee?
- Bldg Ins Incl: is insurance for the building included in the maintenance fee ? (usually yes, but this of course would not cover your own condo contents)
- Prkg Incl: is the maintenance fee for the parking spot included in the maintenance fee?
- Balcony – this refers to a private balcony or terrace, not a common space
- Ens Lndry: does the unit have ensuite laundry?
- Lndy Lev: what floor is the laundry located on?
- Garage: where the parage
- Park/Drive: where is the parking space
- Park Type: is the parking space owned or rented?
- Park Spcs: # of parking spaces
- Park $/Mo: extra monthly fee for parking
- Prk Lgl Dsc: this is the parking legal description (which is not usually the same number as the real parking spot)
- Bldg Amen: will list some (but usually not all) of the amenities in the building
- Common Elem Incl: are the common elements included in the maintenance fee? (it’s always Y for yes)
Don’t focus on:
- Spec Desig: this refers to special designation of the building, for example, if it’s a heritage building
- Assessment: this will likely be blank, but if not, it refers to the value the city has in it’s records for tax purposes
- UFFI – this will usually be blank, but if there was known UFFI in the building, it might be disclosed here
- Retirement – is the building a dedicated retirement community?
- Cert level: honestly, I have no idea what this is and have never seen anything here
- Energy Cert: refers to whether the building has any energy efficiency certifications
- Green PIS – again, no idea what this refers to and no one ever fills it out
The Lower Section of the Toronto MLS Condo Listing
The lower section will list most of the rooms in the condo (the bathrooms and foyer are usually not included) and some features of each room. You can select if you want to see measurements in metric or in imperial in the upper right-hand corner of the listings.
The description at the bottom will be unique to each listing and should include the main features of the property as well as anything that’s included in the price (appliances, etc.)
The bottom part of the listing will include the contact information for the listing brokerage (the brokerage representing the Seller).
As I’ve put this blog together, it has occured to me how un-user-friendly the Toronto MLS property listing is. In fact, I just may drop a note to the Toronto Real Estate Board.
Thanks! This is very helpful as a first time home buyer 🙂
Mike Reid says:
I am an eco-efficiency advisor, I inspect small – medium sized business facilities mostly, including multi unit residential buildings.
If I were to add my two cents, I’d imagine that the “Cert Level” has something to do with LEED certification.
LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and there are 4 levels of designations:
1. Certified – (inspected)
2. Silver – (met minimum requirements of a LEED standard energy efficient and sustainable facility)
3. Gold – (above minimum LEED standards signifying great energy efficiency and sustainable efforts)
4. Platinum – (extremely high efficiency buildings that have put a high value on sustainable operations and efficient utility use)
Green PIS is probably another forms of certification like Energy Star rating (1 – 100), or perhaps it has something to do with the building information being bench-marked or not within Energy Star’s: Portfolio Manager.
Faiz Juma says:
Thank you very much. This was very helpful.