With freehold housing prices drastically increasing and hitting record breaking numbers, buying a condo or loft can be a great option. Over the years, it has become more common for young professionals and young families to explore the option of buying a Toronto condo or loft instead of a single detached home. In addition to young professionals and young families buying Toronto condos and lofts, the “lock up and leave” lifestyle that a condo or loft offers has become popular amongst baby-boomers looking to downsize and travel. With front door security, high-end amenities, underground parking and close proximity to public transportation, condos and lofts provide a somewhat carefree lifestyle that is desirable among young professionals and families who are strapped for time as well as baby-boomers looking to alleviate some of the stresses involved with maintaining a detached home. Not only have condos and lofts become popular amongst young professionals, families and baby-boomers, they have also become a popular investment option for foreign investors.
What Types of Condos and Lofts Are Most Common in Toronto?
There are several different types of Toronto condos and lofts that you will find throughout the city. The most common types of Toronto condos that you will find are typical high-rise and low rise “apartment style condos”, high-rise and low-rise “loft style condos” as well as “townhouse condos”. Each different condo has its own pros and cons. Below is a list of each condo option along with some of the advantages each option has to offer.
Apartment Style Condos
Most buildings will typically have front door security and secure underground parking
A large number of these type of condos include high-end amenities such as pools, party rooms, gyms and rooftop patios
Many of these condos are less than 10 years old and include modern finishes and mechanical systems
Some of the high-rise buildings include breathtaking views of Toronto
Some include front door security and secure underground parking
Most are large and consist of two stories
Many include large windows that allow plenty of light and provide beautiful views
Several of the Toronto lofts provide a historical touch and provide a much more unique living environment than a typical Toronto condo or detached home
Some Toronto loft buildings include units that are different from one another with no two units having the same layout
Some Toronto townhouse condos include secure underground parking
Townhouse condos provide the layout of a house instead of a high-rise apartment style condo
Some townhouse condos include a garden both at the front and back of the property
Many townhouse condos include units with rooftop patios providing beautiful views of the city
Depending on the size, townhouse condos can sometimes be a better option for young families who are looking for a house rather than condo
Top Toronto Condo Neighborhoods
The following are some of Toronto’s top condo neighborhoods:
Queen West (Trinity Park Lofts, Chocolate Co. Lofts, Candy Factory Lofts, 2 Ossington, 8 Gladstone, 2 Gladstone, Q Lofts)
Queen East/Beaches (Beach House Lofts, Academy Lane Lofts)
Important Things to Consider When Looking for a Condo or Loft
Whether you are buying a Toronto condo or loft for the first time or you have already had experience in buying and selling real estate, it is important to consider several different factors when looking for a condo or loft for your next home. Below is a list of things to consider:
How much are the maintenance fees? Maintenance fees can range quite drastically depending on the size of the building, age of the building and the neighbourhood. You will often find higher maintenance fees in smaller buildings as there are less units to share the cost. It is important to consider the age of the building, number of units and the monthly amount that you will be expected to pay in order to determine if it will work with your monthly budget.
Does it include a locker? As you may know, most condos in Toronto are much smaller than a detached or semi-detached home. Due to the limited amount of space, there is typically much less storage space available in a condo. If storage is a concern, you may want to confirm that the unit you are interested in comes with a locker. Not only will you want to confirm if a locker is included, you will also want to see the locker in person before making an offer. It is important to see the locker in person in order for you to determine if the locker is large enough and if it is located in a part of the building that would be convenient for you to access.
Does it include parking? Whether you own a car or not, owning a parking spot along with your condo is definitely beneficial. If you drive and will require a permanent parking spot, you will want to physically see the spot before making an offer in order to determine if it is large enough for your vehicle and if it is in a convenient location. Even if you do not own a vehicle, owning a parking spot is beneficial as it could provide your guests with a spot to park if there are no visitor parking spaces available. You may also be able to rent out your spot to another owner or tenant who resides in the building if the condo board allows you to. In addition, there is added value to owning a parking spot since this feature will set your condo apart from others that do not have a parking spot when it comes time for you to sell.
Is there public transportation nearby? It is always best to determine if the condo you are interested in is located close to public transportation. This may be very important to you if you commute to and from work and it is also beneficial should you ever decide to rent your condo to a tenant in the future. Condos that are located within walking distance of public transportation are able to demand higher monthly rent.
Where is the closest grocery store and pharmacy? Similar to public transportation, you may want to determine where the closest grocery store and pharmacy are located. It is ideal to purchase a condo that is either within walking distance or within a short drive or ride on public transportation. Owning a Toronto condo which is located conveniently close to a grocery store and pharmacy is beneficial both to you as a resident and as a landlord should you decide to rent your condo out in the future.
What is in the surrounding area? It is important to have a good understanding of what is in the immediate surrounding area before making an offer on a condo. You do not necessarily want to invest your money into a building that is surrounded by factories, air pollution, noise pollution, etc.
Does the building have front door security? Security is a great feature to have as it provides piece of mind when it comes to your safety. Having front door security prevents unwanted guests from entering the building. Front door security can also provide assistance should there ever be a serious safety issue that arises within the building.
What are the hours of the amenities? If you are someone who works unusual hours and still likes to get in a work out or swim while the majority of residents are sleeping, you will want to check the hours for the amenities such as the gym and the pool. The majority of Toronto condos have time limits in regards to when the amenities can be used. Make sure you check the hours before making your final decision on a condo in order to ensure that the hours work with your specific needs.
Does the building allow pets? If you are an animal lover and either already have pets or plan on having a pet, it is best to look into the rules and restrictions regarding pets in your building of interest. Many condos have restrictions as to whether pets are allowed, whereas some condos only have restrictions regarding the size of the pet. With this being said, there are an increasing number of modern and high-end condos that cater to pets, with some even including a designated dog wash.
Review the status certificate. It is extremely important that you and your real estate lawyer review the condo’s status certificate prior to making an offer on the unit that you are interested in. The status certificate includes a wide range of important information such as the condo declaration, by-laws, insurance, rules, management contract, as well as the reserve fund and disclosure of any lawsuits involving the condo corporation. A good real estate lawyer will be able to pick out any alarming details which may be of concern to you.
Review the reserve funds. The reserve fund is similar to a savings account and is used only for unexpected expenses that arise. A portion of the monthly maintenance fees that each owner pays is deposited into the reserve fund. You will typically find that older buildings have larger reserve funds than newer buildings.
Determine who the builder was and do some research. By doing some research on the building, you will be able to determine which company built the condo building that you are interested in. Once you know who the builder is, you can dig a little deeper and find out if that builder has had any bad reviews or major issues with any of their previous projects.
Find out what company is in charge of managing the building. Similar to looking into the builder, it is also helpful to look into who is managing the building. The company managing the building is just as important, if not more important, than the builder as they are the ones in charge of the daily activities of the building, security and maintenance.
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