Complete Guide to Buying A Toronto Condo
Often known as condominiums, condos in Toronto are a fantastic alternative to single-family residences and have become a popular choice of residence for city inhabitants, bachelors, couples, pensioners, and more. While the allure of city-living and endless amenities draws many to condominiums, the inexpensive, low-maintenance environment may appeal to others.
For some buyers, a condo is a temporary residence. For some, a condominium might be their forever home.
Our professional real estate brokers have worked with individuals from all walks of life to find the perfect Toronto condominium for their unique lifestyle. Our guide to buying a condo in Toronto is dedicated to answering all your questions and helping you understand the terms and duties you should be aware of when purchasing a condominium.
In this Guide to Buying a Condo In Toronto, we will look at:
- Creating Your Condo Wish List
- Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval
- Hiring The Right Realtor and Team
- The Property Search
- Submitting An Offer
- Meeting Offer Conditions
- Closing Your Toronto Condo
The procedure to buy a condo in Toronto is similar to purchasing a single-family home. However, it involves several other unique terms and conditions.
Create A Condo Buyer Wish List
Many potential luxury condo buyers become preoccupied with the home's details, such as the size of the backyard, walk-in closets, en-suite bathrooms, open floor plans and the inclusion of a swimming pool. However, these desirable features are preferences rather than necessities. When searching for your new Toronto condo, it's essential to prioritize the important elements to you before focusing on their wants.
The best way to learn about the real estate market and available condo features is by visiting properties. The more you look, the more features you want in your future home become clear. Creating a "condo wants and requirements list" can help you stay on track when visiting condo properties in Toronto.
Curate your wants and requirements list based on the possibilities available in your local market. You may broaden your search to include cities such as Durham, Mississauga and Toronto, or narrow your search to specific areas like Pickering, Ajax and Downtown Toronto. When shopping for your condo, it is beneficial to inform your Realtor about Toronto neighbourhood and community preferences.
Remember to update your list when you come across existing or pre-construction Toronto condominiums and share it with your Realtor and trusted people to prevent losing out on potential properties.
Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital to understanding how much you can pay before searching for or buying a condo in Toronto. A condo mortgage differs from a house mortgage in a few ways.
Lenders will include the estimated maintenance bills when determining how much you can pay. For houses under 500 square feet, many banks will want a 20% downpayment (and others will not finance them at all). Conversely, many banks will not lend money to condo hotels, and most lenders and CMHC have a hidden list of condominiums they won't finance, generally due to building issues. Therefore, always include a financing condition or speak with your lender before you make an offer.
Hire The Right Realtor and Team in Toronto
How do you choose the best Real Estate Team in Toronto out of thousands of agents?
Your condo buying experience should be hassle-free and enjoyable, and you should feel confident your real estate team is equipped to take on the market. Carefully choosing your real estate team is vital as they will represent you and your needs and look out for your best interests. You’ll also need to work with a leading Real Estate Lawyer to help you understand the condo closing process upon a successful sale.
The Toronto Condo Team Is Your #1 Source For Condos in Toronto
Founded in 2004 as Right At Home Realty Inc.
The #1 Brokerage by sales volume in the GTA for 9 consecutive years*. Right at home listed and sold more Real Estate in 2021 than any other Brokerage in the GTA.
We are Canada's Largest Independent Brokerage. Over 5,800 Realtors® and growing!
Our condo Real Estate Team works in six modern and high-tech offices across the GTA: Toronto, Burlington, Durham, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Mississauga & with 10 Modern Branches Across Ontario.
Toronto Condo Team is a member of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)
The Condo Property Search in Toronto
Begin Visiting Condominiums in Person
Once you begin your condo property search, you'll be able to schedule private showings or attend open houses with the help of your Realtor.
Conducting Due Diligence
When you've found a condo unit suited to your needs, it's time to research. Your Realtor and the Status Certificate your Lawyer will check once you've successfully negotiated a purchase deal will play an important part here.
The following are vital factors to consider when buying a condo in Toronto:
a. The Reputation of the Developer
Buying a condo is a significant investment, and it is paramount to ensure your money is in the right hands. A Developer's reputation and past projects can help you understand the features and amenities you can expect, the level of luxury and the quality of living in the building. It can also shed light on red flags like a history of foul play and malpractices.
b. The Quality of Construction
Visiting the condo unit in-person provides you with more information than browsing its staged listing photos. Additionally, find out if the Developer owns the construction company responsible for the build or if they hired an outside construction company. This can be a significant factor in the quality of construction as directly overseeing construction allows the Developer to ensure quality standards are met.
c. Unattractive Features
The overall design of your unit is a huge factor when considering buying a condo in Toronto. Developers carefully design each building and unit to provide tenants with the best possible living experience. There are many modern units on the market today, including features like floor-to-ceiling windows and open-concept floor plans. Carefully analyze the condo floor plan and offered amenities and note unwanted features.
d. Tenants vs Owner/Occupiers
The Toronto condo shopping experience differs for owners and tenants, and it's important to know the difference before purchasing a condo unit. An owner-occupied condo means you have sole decision-making discretion. If you don't plan to own the unit, you will rent from a landlord who has a full say on who is approved to stay in the unit.
e. Condo Management
Good management of condominium properties ensures the safety of tenants and improves the overall living experience. The property management company or property manager is responsible for the upkeep and operations of the condominium. Most Toronto condos have shared common areas and luxury amenities like gyms, swimming pools and outdoor terraces. Proper maintenance and management of the condominium building should be critical in your purchase decision.
f. History of the Building
The age of a condo is another factor to consider when shopping for your future home. Older condos are often outdated in appearance but can offer many of the same amenities newly built Toronto condos can offer. However, older condo buildings can have high maintenance fees. It's important to understand your payment obligations when shopping buying a condo in Toronto. Past maintenance, renovations, and repairs are also essential to note when browsing the Toronto real estate market. This will help you better understand any required repairs you can expect in the future.
g. Building Maintenance and Appearance
Typical maintenance and repairs included in Toronto condo fees include landscaping, groundskeeping, snow removal, trash collection and exterior wall maintenance. However, this fee guarantees the upkeep of the exterior and interior of common areas, elevating your living experience and adding a level of luxury to everyday life.
Due Diligence of the Unit:
Due Diligence of the Neighbourhood:
a. Location is key
Submitting An Offer for a Toronto Condo
1. Price: Understanding The Cost Of The Condo Unit
Numerous factors impact the price of a condo unit. They include, but are not limited to:
- What floor is the unit?
- The building reputation
- The ratio of renters to owners
- Location within the city
- Maintenance fees
- Building amenities
- Shared outdoor areas, available lockers and parking spaces
- Condo unit ceiling height
- Available upgrades and renovations
- Toronto Condo layout
- The units location on the floor (for example, corner unit or near the elevator)
- Exposure (West, East, South, North)
2. The Formalities
When working with a Toronto Condo Real Estate team, you are required to sign several legal documents. These include, but are not limited to:
- Confirmation of Cooperation
- Agreement of Purchase and Sale
- Customer Service Agreement or the Buyer's Representation Agreement
- Working with a REALTOR
3. Keeping Your Deposit Ready
After a successful condo purchase has been agreed upon, the deposit is given to the Seller. The deposit is typically kept in trust by the Seller's brokerage. You should pay the deposits within 24 hours of your offer being accepted, typically by electronic money transfer or bank draft.
Conditions are included in a purchase offer and give the buyer time to do due diligence. The following are the most prevalent problems we face in Toronto:
- Financing Condition
- Status Certificate Review Condition
- Home Inspection Condition
5. Offer Process
Your Real Estate Agent prepares your condo offer, including your initial offer price, terms, and conditions. It is valid for a certain length of time; we call this the irrevocable period. Your Real Estate Agent will deliver the offer to the Seller's Agent or Seller directly once you've signed it. The Seller has the following options:
- Accepting the offer as is
- Sign back the offer with different proposed terms
- Decline the offer
Conditions are an aspect of a condo purchase offer that gives the buyer time to perform their due diligence. The following are the most prevalent conditions that we see in Toronto:
Financing Condition: This is a clause in a contract that permits a condo buyer to back out of a deal if they can't get financing within a certain amount of time (typically 3-5 days);
Status Certificate Review Condition: The status certificate review condition permits a Toronto condo buyer to have their Lawyer evaluate the condominium status certificate (the Lawyer has 1-3 days to review the certificate, which they must be supplied within ten business days)
Home Inspection Condition: While not typical in condo sales, a home inspection condition allows a Buyer to hire a professional inspector to evaluate the unit and back out if it isn't up to their standards (usually 1-5 days, depending on market conditions). Condo inspectors may only evaluate the unit and what the particular owner owns and controls so that they won't provide an opinion on electricity, plumbing, or roofing.
Closing Your Toronto Condo
The date you accept the title and pay for the condo is referred to as 'closing.' It is important to note that several days before the deadline:
- Your condo insurance coverage must be prepared
- With your Lawyer, you sign all of the final papers
- The title insurance will cover you
- For the remaining balance on your down payment, you'll need to present a certified check
- The lender will advance the cash for your mortgage
- The money will be transferred to the Seller on closing day, and ownership will be transferred to you
When buying a condo in Toronto, your Lawyer will contact you to inform you of the final closing date. We recommend our clients contact their financial institution and provide the updated closing date at this time to guarantee that everything is in order financially and that your final closure goes as smoothly as possible. Your Lawyer will provide you with the following information through email one to five days before closing your condo.
Final Statement of Adjustments
A Final Statement of Adjustments references the vendor transferring the property to you. The Final Statement can vary with fees depending on whether you have purchased a resale condo or a new development condo closing with a builder. Here is what a final statement of adjustments looks like.
- Balance due on final closing
- Status certificate
- Discharge fee
- Law society levy
- Art levy
- Development charges/education levy
- Parkland contribution
- Tarion enrolment fee
- Realty taxes
- Property taxes
- Occupancy fee adjustment for the month of closing
- Total deposits paid
- HST Tax/Rebate
A Trust Ledger
A Trust Ledger details how the funds will be transferred from your Real Estate Lawyer's Trust account to your bank account on closing day and how much money you'll need to bring with you when you meet with your Real Estate Lawyer. A Trust Ledger discloses the entire amount for closing costs, including everything included in the Final Statement of Adjustments and the Lawyer's fees and land transfer. You should have a bank draft or certified check payable to your "Lawyer's in Trust."
You'll meet with your Lawyer again before closing to sign your final paperwork. You'll also need to pay with a bank draft or a certified check. This is your last closing cost payment, which covers everything in the Final Closing Package shown on the Final Statement of Adjustments, such as title insurance, Land Transfer Tax "Land Transfer Tax Statements," mortgage registration, and Lawyer's costs. These expenses are typically approximately 1% of your purchase price, but you should confirm the amount with your Real Estate Lawyer ahead of time. On the closing day, your Lawyer will receive your mortgage funds and finish your file's banking.
You will need to bring four items with you:
- 3 ID pieces
- Certified funds, as mentioned in the Trust Ledger
- A post-dated cheque for the 1st-month condo fees amount in the name of your condominium corporation
- A VOID cheque for the automatic payment of condo utilities/fees after the 1st month
The payment for the closing fees documents and the mortgage money will then be couriered to the vendor's Lawyer's office. After they send them to the Developer's legal team, all you have to do is wait for notification that your registration has been processed, which may happen as soon as the end of the day!
You will obtain the formal title, and once you have finished the final closing process, your mortgage will be recorded.
Following the successful transaction, you will get an email from your Lawyer a week after your closing date with the final report and accompanying documentation created only for your records and information purpose.
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