Toronto Condominiums FAQ

Everything you always wanted to know about buying, selling or owning a condominium in Toronto but were afraid to ask! Feel free to leave us your own question in the comments!

  1. What is the average cost of parking in a condo building?

    While this varies from building to building, an average ballpark figure is $20,000 - $25,000 for downtown condominiums. If a parking space is not included with your condo unit, you might have the option to purchase or rent one of these spaces separately.

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  2. What is a Status Certificate?

    The Status Certificate & Related Documents is a document available through the building property manager's office, which is frequently updated & contains information on the building's reserve fund, fees, condo board & structure. This document ought to be examined by a lawyer prior to purchasing a condo unit.

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  3. Is the condo market going soft?

    No! The Toronto condo market is booming. It is not as investor-driven as in some countries (i.e. most purchases are intended for occupancy by the buyers) and it is common for a well-priced condo to sell with multiple offers.

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  4. Which is the better investment, a house or a condo?

    It depends on your investment objectives and strategy. For example, a house might provide the opportunity to live in while renting out, while a well-located condo pays for itself (given average Toronto rental prices) while appreciating more slowly. We will analyse your own unique situation to help you decide!

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  5. What's the difference between loft and condo?

    The differences between a loft and a condo are often blurred, so it's difficult to give a black-and-white answer to this. Hard lofts, considered 'true' lofts, are often converted from commercial buildings and retain the characteristics we all associate with lofts (exposed ceilings, sweeping open concept space, live/work zoning, concrete pillars & columns, walls of windows etc.) However, some lofts merely add these touches and call the units loft-style. It is a matter of taste & aesthetics as to which you will find more appealing!

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  6. Why do prices for the same type of unit vary so much in the same building?

    Many factors can influence pricing, including ceiling height, finishes, extras & upgrades, exterior access, parking and the like. Also, the higher the floor of the building, the higher the price (i.e. penthouse suites can sell for significantly more than ground floor suites). Finally, remember that list price - asking price - is not always the same as what the units will actually sell for!

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  7. How do I find out about the rules & regulations, and how things work at my building?

    You can request a copy of your condo's by-laws from the property manager. Also, attending your condo board's meetings is a great way to find out what the building is planning, including reserve fund information, planned or proposed increases to maintenance fees and the like.

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  8. What is the difference between occupancy date and registration date?

    With newly constructed condos, there is an occupancy date at which time you will be charged occupancy fees, whether you have moved into the unit yet or not. It is the time at which the condo is deemed to be completed, though all your finishes may not yet be complete. When the building is fully registered and has closed, the suite is legally completely yours to occupy or dispose of as you please.

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  9. What is a reserve fund?

    The condo's reserve fund is the pool of money they have set aside (required by law) for repairs and replacements to the common elements of the building. It is built up through the payment of monthly maintenance fees and can be depleted when major repairs are needed.

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  10. What is a special assessment?

    A special assessment is a charge that may be levied against your unit by the board of directors of your condo corporation. It requires you to pay a sum of money to pay for repairs that the condo corporation can't cover from its reserve fund - for instance, a major overhaul of the garage. The board of directors will usually call a meeting of all unit owners to discuss a prudent course of action.

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  11. If something breaks in my condo, do I have to fix it or does the condo corporation take care of it?

    Your unit is considered to be your property - one of the benefits of ownership! Any repairs of the unit are your responsibility. Repairs outside the unit and regular maintenance like cleaning of hallways etc. are covered in your monthly maintenance fees.

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  12. What is a common element?

    When owning a condo unit, you are said to own the unit itself. Common elements include such things as building amenities (gym, sauna, party rooms etc.) and the hallways, elevators and the like - anything that will be shared by unit owners for common use.

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  13. What do my maintenance fees cover, and will they increase?

    Each condo building is different in terms of what your maintenance fees cover. This information can be obtained on the MLS listing for a condo or by obtaining a list of covered items through the property management company or condo corporation. In most condo buildings, common elements and building insurance are covered; some condos cover parking, locker, and/or many utilities like heat, hydro and central air.

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  14. How come the parking and locker numbers on the MLS listing for my condo are totally different from the actual spaces the building has assigned me?

    Good question! Some condo buildings have an internal labelling system for their parking spaces and lockers. This means there can be three different descriptions of these spaces: the legal descriptions as found in Land Registry, the numbers stated on the MLS listing, and the condo building's own designations. To prevent confusion, ask the property manager to visit these spaces prior to moving in.

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  15. Why do I see condos on the Toronto MLS listed for only $15,000 - $25,000?

    You're not hallucinating! Those are parking spaces being sold separately from condo units.

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  16. What is the difference between owned parking, exclusive parking and rental parking?

    Owned parking means that you are purchasing a parking space along with or separate from your condo unit. It's yours to sell as you please. Exclusive use means you are assigned a parking space that's yours, and only yours, to use as long as you own your condo. Rental parking is sometimes available for units that don't come with owned or exclusive parking - inquire with the property manager!

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  17. What can I do about construction delays?

    In your original Agreement of Purchase when buying a new condo, a building schedule is outlined with provisions for construction delays and the builder's obligation to you as a buyer. Please review the entire document carefully with your lawyer to determine what recourse if any you might have, as delays can be costly and tiresome!

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  18. What is the difference between a condominium and a co-op?

    Certain characteristics differentiate the two. Co-ops often have a much lower purchase price, but demand a much larger down payment - up to 75% of asking price! The major difference is ownership - in traditional condominiums, your unit is entirely owned by you and common elements are shared, whereas with a co-op each shareholder owns a piece of the entire building.

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  19. What is the difference between an exclusive and owned locker/parking?

    An owned locker/parking spot has its own deed separate from the deed for the actual condo. As such, the owner would be able to sell the locker/parking spot if they so desired. As for an exclusive locker/parking, the owner has exclusive use of it but it cannot be sold separately from the condo unit.

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One comment on “Toronto Condominiums FAQ

  1. We were not given the common elements keys when we purchased a condo. Only the FOB fir the garage. Post box keys. House keys. The condo wants us to purchase the common elements keys after the board is formed but it is posing a problem for the family to get in the building without the concierge allowing them. Is there a new law pertaining to the keys for the new condo?

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