7 things to look for when choosing a Toronto condo development

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Investing in a Toronto condo seems like a good idea right now. The condominium market is on the rise in Toronto, as the prices of condos increased by almost 20 percent by the end of 2017. The rest of the housing market unfortunately has slowed down.

Condo development market in Toronto is also on the rise, as condos make a sweeping majority of the new homes being constructed, while still being much cheaper to buy than single-family dwellings.

With so many new units on the market, and their competitive pricing when compared to different types of housing, condos may be your best way to being able to afford living in this amazing city.

So, here are some tips on what to look out for when choosing a Toronto condo development:

Find a good developer

It is imperative that the condo developer has a good track record. This is easily discoverable through government websites, simple Google searches, and our comprehensive guide to buying a condo in Toronto. A developer with a good history will have a lot of happy residents willing to recommend them.

Reputable Toronto developers will not have had projects fail, or been consistently late on delivery to condo owners. Don’t stop at internet research, feel free to try to reach out to condo or homeowners’ association boards in particular condo communities and ask questions.

Go look at already built developments, talk with residents and owners who originally purchased from the builder.

Some of the critical questions to ask are:

  • how long did the construction project take and were there delays

  • how many big repair projects since the residents moved in

  • what is something you love about living here

  • what is working with this developer like, etc.

We recommend preparing a list top condo developers in Toronto and narrowing it down from there.

Know and love your location

Toronto has over 100 neighbourhoods, so it’s important to narrow down where you want to live, or invest in. We have our favourites, and you should make a list for yourself, as well. You may care about easy access to grocery stores, transit, or other important amenities. Feel free to browse through Toronto’s neighbourhood explorer, or school finder to find exactly what you need.

Know and love your amenities

It is great that some condos have exciting and sometimes ridiculous amenities, like private jets and feng shui consultants, but you must consider what it is that you need when investing in a condo. Remember, when you buy a condo, you subscribe to long-term payment of condo fees which include the amenities that condo community has.

Make sure it’s something you’ll want to use regularly. Maybe you’re a swimmer and you want that Olympic size pool, if you like to work out, you should search for a top of the line gym, and for best relaxation go for the spa. If you search diligently enough, you’ll be able to find the amenities that fit you best.

Wait, condo fees?

Yes, while owning a condo, you subscribe to paying a condo fee, also known as a homeowners’ association fees. These fees cover a variety of things, such as maintenance and repair, landscaping, insurance, amenities, etc. You can’t opt out and you have to pay them as you would rent.   

Doing your research into condo developments will let you see exactly how much condo fees you will expect to pay with each development, so you’ll know whether or not it fits in your budget while evaluating developers.

Ask the developer up front what the condo fees are, what they include, and how fast they have risen in their other developments.

Get those perks and upgrades

If you’re buying a pre-owned condo, you may want to negotiate some upgrades. If you’re getting a pre-construction condo, this should be even easier, as there are common upgrades that are being offered. It’s important to pick these carefully, as you want your investment to increase in value over time.

Get a parking spot

Some condo buildings offer parking, some don’t. If you drive, you’ll need a parking spot, and if you don’t drive, you may consider getting one anyways, because believe it or not, parking spots are a good investment.

That said, depending on the cost of a parking spot it’s not the end of the world not to have one, especially if you are right downtown or very close to public transportation.

Evaluate the property management company

Very often, homeowners’ association will hire a property management company to run the condo community. If you’re investing in a pre-owned condo, or a building that’s already up and running, we suggest you find out who is running the community, and evaluate them. Make sure they have a proven track record.

For brand new condos, a management company may not be set up yet. But, you can ask the builder who manages their other buildings, and it’s likely that they will manage this one. Do your research on this management company.

If you’re from out of town, but sure to find someone to talk with who has local real estate knowledge. Whether that is a friend, a friend of a friend, a Realtor, of whomever, but sure to speak with someone knowledgeable about the Toronto condo market. Secondly, do your research! Conduct Google searches, read Toronto condo guides, check out the real estate sections of local news outlets, and inform yourself on what is going on. After all, this will be your new home.

Glenn Carter