1. “I Better Buy One I Like, Because After I Do – I Can’t Make Changes!”
This is only partially a misconception. On one hand, you can renovate your condominium – as long as it’s done within the standard building codes provided by the developer. However, approval by the Board is required and not always guaranteed. Although it may take a little longer to alter your new space in big ways – the Board doesn’t care about the colour of your couch or the artwork you hang on the wall – so there is still lots you can do to personalize your unit.
The main thing to be aware of is condo living is ‘uniform living’, meaning any personalizations you make that can be seen from the outside (ie. your balcony, door or windows – such as the exterior colour of your curtains) may be limited, including what you can store/house on your balcony.
2. Condos Are Starter Homes
The Condo Market in Toronto doesn’t discriminate. So throw out your old thoughts regarding who lives in condos, and start thinking of who doesn’t. Although they may not be ideal for large families of 4+ people, or those looking for an absolute sense of peace and quiet, there are several reasons you see people of all types turn to condo living.
- Owning property in Toronto is not a financial reality for everyone. As of April 2018 – with the average Semi-Detached House price around 800K, and the average Detached House slightly over 1 Million – Condo living is a viable option to enter the Real Estate Market.
- Condo living is a lifestyle. Coming home without having to think about yard work or roof repairs has it’s appeal. Additionally, the majority of Condos are located in walkable areas, meaning an abundance of shops, services and transit options at your doorstep. Let’s not forget the stack of hotel-style amenities, where state-of-the-art gyms, swimming pools, movie theatres and expansive party rooms are becoming commonplace. With condo living, everything you need is certainly within reach.
For these reasons condos are suitable for not only singles or first time homebuyers, but also starting and growing families, couples, and professionals that want to live in city centres as well as retirees looking to downsize.
3. “I Can’t Wait To Make Some Extra Income Hosting My Pad On Airbnb!”
Condo Owners are governed by the rules outlined in their respective buildings, and a lot of Toronto Condos do not allow leases that are less than six months. Even though Airbnb is technically not a “lease” in the traditional sense of the term, you are still allowing someone to use your unit exclusively and doing so is likely against the Board rules. Furthermore – Toronto’s new Airbnb rules come into effect July 2018 (Update: the rules are now under appeal and likely won’t come into effect until after the OMB decision at the end of August) so you’ll see less Airbnb regardless if your Condo Board permits them or not. If you haven’t heard – the new rules are summarized below.
- Every short-term landlord needs to apply for a licence. Only people who can demonstrate they meet the city’s requirements would get one.
- The new bylaw will cap the number of days per year that a person could rent out their entire home at 180 days. That being said, there would be no such restrictions on people who only want to rent out a few rooms in a house, or a secondary suite (like a basement apartment).
- People who rent their homes short term must register with the City and pay $50.
- Short-term rentals will incur a 4% MAT on all rentals that are less than 28 consecutive days.
4. “Condo Fees Are Too Expensive! How Is Paying Monthly Maintenance More Cost Effective Than Owning A House?”
Condo fees vary based on unit size and the building itself (how it is managed, if there are things that need fixed etc.) and undeniably they add up (ranging from $0.55 – $1.00 per sq. ft. /month in Toronto). Generally, paying these fees is still cheaper than owning and maintaining a house. Home owners have a plethora of expenses including higher utility bills and insurance payments, water, garbage and sewers fees and on-going maintenance and renovation costs. Homeowners should set-aside a healthy renovation/ ‘rainy day budget’ for unexpected circumstances.
5. “Are Condos Really A Good Investment?”
We say yes. While Detached and Semi-Detached Homes have seen a dip, condos in Central Toronto appreciated on average 20% in 2017 and continue to experience growth.
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