Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.

 

Condo style – the choice is yours

Each has its own pluses and minuses, and the fees are just the start

By Inst. of Chartered Accountants

They’re today’s emblem of modern city living. With on-site services, minimal maintenance and sometimes even at-your-door transportation and shopping, condos are the home-ownership choice of seniors wanting to downsize, twenty-somethings trying to enter the real estate market, and everyone in between.

But convenience comes with a price. Condo owners can pay big fees for all those amenities and their upkeep. If you’re trying to choose between an apartment-style high-rise or the relative autonomy of a townhouse, know that each has its own pluses and minuses, and the fees are just the start.

“Condo fees largely depend on the facilities the complex offers,” says Chartered Accountant Peter K. Harris, partner at Harris & Chong LLP in north Toronto. “Townhouse complexes tend to be smaller, so the cost to maintain the common elements is divided among fewer owners. On the other hand, townhouses don’t have interior common areas, elevators or heating systems, so the fees are often lower.”

In both townhouse and apartment condos, Harris says it’s important to read the corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules and know where your responsibilities for repair and maintenance end, and the condo corporation’s begin. In a purchase, you should obtain a status certificate, which, among other important details, outlines the legal boundary limits for your unit.

“On a per-square-foot basis, many condos are more expensive to live in than private homes,” says Chartered Accountant Jack Rothman, who believes developers would design condo projects differently if they actually lived in the structures themselves. As a member of his condo’s board of directors, he’s seen first-hand the problems that can result when developments are built to meet inadequate or outdated building codes and regulations—sometimes at the expense of sufficient parking space or proper provisions for water run-off in bad weather.

Structural issues notwithstanding, Harris says the biggest problems in condos – apartments and townhouses alike –  arise from what he calls “The Three Ps”: people, pets and parking. “Things like installing satellite dishes outside one’s unit can cause major problems for neighbours and the building itself,” he cautions. “People who are inconsiderate, exceed boundaries or do things without checking the by-laws may find out they’ve broken rules. They can be legally forced to take things down and make repairs, or compensate the corporation for doing it.”

Safety is another consideration that can plague condo owners. “Most high-rises have better security. The buildings have locked doors, gates at the entrance to the property and sometimes even security guards,” says Rothman. “Townhouses tend to be out in the open, and can be more susceptible to vandalism and outside influences.”

“In apartments, safety features like fire alarm systems and fire extinguishers are enforced by inspections,” says Harris. “It’s more difficult to ensure a townhouse complex is as thorough and diligent about safety, because such fire detection measures are the responsibility of individual owners.”

Consider, too, Rothman says, the issue of condos as rentals. “In any condo complex, especially where the units are smaller, probably 40% are inhabited by someone other than the actual owner. Tenants don’t have a direct financial stake in the corporation, and sometimes don’t take the same interest in maintaining their units and the common elements as an owner would.”

Still, if you’re like most city dwellers, you’ll probably decide that the pros of owning a condo outweigh the cons. And whether you opt for a balcony on the 20th floor of a high-rise, or an exclusive-use patch of grass outside the back door of your townhouse, experts still say that buying your own home – any kind – can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

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Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information  –  416-388-1960

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