Toronto Homeowner FAQ

As a buyer, you have to make sure to know how the market works before you step in, or you risk missing out on the property of your dreams when you find it. Here are the core questions most homeowners have. Feel free to leave us your own question in the comments!

  1. What is a building permit, and when do I need to obtain a building permit?

    A building permit is a formal permission from the City of Toronto to begin construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property. Toronto Building staff must review your plans to ensure that they comply with the Ontario Building Code, local Zoning By-laws, and other applicable regulations. Here's when you need one: constructing a new building or putting on an addition; making structural alterations; changing a building's use; building a garage, balcony, or deck; installing or modifying heating, plumbing, or air-conditioning systems... The list goes on! You can visit Building Permits for more details!

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  2. What is HVAC?

    That stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning - the essential systems found in your home.

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  3. My insurance company is asking a lot of questions about the house I bought, can you help?

    Absolutely! Insurance companies will ask you such questions as the square footage of your new home, updates to major mechanical systems, type of construction materials used etc. We will contact the listing agent for your new home to get as many answers as possible from the sellers, who will know the most about the home. One caveat: insurance companies always ask for exact information (i.e. year roof was re-shingled) yet they too realize it may not be possible to get exact information, so approximate values usually suffice.

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  4. Can I evict the tenants that came with the house I bought, and get my own tenants in there?

    The short answer is no - according to the Tenant Protection Act, they must agree to go upon proper notice given to them. If they do not wish to leave, they do not have to, though a homeowner facing this problem should definitely seek legal advice. One exception: If the homeowner's immediate family is to use the currently tenanted space, a homeowner may give proper legal notice to vacate to the tenants, which must be complied with. For more info on this topic read our guide here.

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  5. Am I allowed to rent out my finished basement?

    That depends! Before putting up the For Rent sign, it would be wise to check that the basement apartment complies with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code, local Zoning By-laws, and other applicable regulations. That will give you the real scoop on what reno's might need to be done (such as adding another exit) to bring your finished basement into compliance as a secondary unit. For all info about basement apartments visit our guide here.

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  6. If I change my mind about certain details after I have signed an agreement of purchase and sale, can I still change anything?

    That depends! If the firm (no conditions) offer has been accepted by the seller, and is not a special circumstance (as in with new condo construction for example, where you may be allowed a cooling-off period) you can try to negotiate changes with the sellers - bearing in mind that if your offer is not conditional, the law is on their side. Eventually, both lawyers may have to get involved. Ultimately your deposit, legal costs and the like are at stake if both parties cannot agree.

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  7. I'm looking for a great contractor, can you help?

    Absolutely! Referrals are the backbone of our business, and we believe in sharing the love - so over the years, we have compiled a list of trusted professionals who can care for your home. All our contractors and tradespeople have worked for us, our friends, family members and/or clients, and come highly recommended. Contact us for what kind of help you are seeking, and we'll send you the appropriate names!

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  8. How much more do houses with finished basements sell for compared to houses with unfinished or partially finished basements?

    Good question - that is of course based on a lot of different scenarios. As a finished basement can range from dugout professionally done, with bathroom, maybe kitchen, fully wired for sound/stereo, gorgeous laundry, bedroom, separate side entrance... All the way to an old panelled room that is low ceiling height, potentially damp etc. But having a finished basement, even if not fabulous is a definite benefit, especially if it's appealing to a family.

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  9. Is there a cooling off period when buying a resale?

    There isn't a cooling off period when you buy a resale, only if you are buying a new build.

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Didn't find what you were looking for? Contact us right away with your questions!