Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

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Debunking the myths about your condo fees

Michael Chu – BNN

As the spring real estate season quickly approaches, you might be thinking of jumping on the chance to buy a condo, but watch out, there are hidden costs associated with maintenance fees.

Comment: Not really. All the costs are outlined in the condo documents for each building. None of the costs are hidden, none are secret.

Condos.ca recently released a study gathering data from every single condominium sold in the Greater Toronto Area over the past five years.

Condo amenities
While the study reiterated the widespread knowledge that condo maintenance fees usually go up with more amenities–including pools and saunas – parking could become a murky spot when purchasing a condo.

Comment: Again, not really. They just separated parking costs from the main fee, to better help compare costs per square foot. Taking lockers and parking out makes it much easier to compare apples to apples.

While many condos now require purchasers to shell out upwards of $50,000 for a parking spot, many condo buildings are also charging anywhere from $43-$148 a month in maintenance for warm and heated lots.

Comment: Of course, the upkeep of the parking garage needs to be paid for, same as the actual building. Cleaning, repairs, door maintenance… you name it. That is not free.

Condo lobby
Another condo-fee myth debunked by the study is that older condos don’t necessarily mean you’ll be paying more in fees.

Comment: Except that in most cases it does. Generally, older condos cost more. Not always, but most of the time.

“Many older condominiums actually include utilities such as water, hydro, heat and sometimes even cable,” Sandra Rinomato, owner of Sandra Rinomato Realty tells BNN.

Comment: That is true. The older the condo, the more tends to be included in the fees. Newer ones tend to meter almost everything separately, to encourage owners to conserve energy or water. Older condos even include cable TV a lot of times. And then there are co-ownerships and co-ops that include property taxes as well. Point is, you need to know what is included in the fees, educate yourself!

And while newer condos actually do have smaller fees, you get what you pay for – less square footage.

Comment: Which is what most people forget. The larger the unit, the higher the fees. Balconies have to be paid for as well, they are included in the units square footage. Add in a locker and a parking spot, those also need to be paid for. Add in a pool, concierge, etc. Amenities also cost money.

Condo parking garage
“With condos becoming smaller and smaller, common elements are actually getting valuable to the average condo dweller,” says Rinomato.

Comment: Not always. Many don’t want to have to pay for them. Most people don’t use the amenities. Trust me, I show a lot of condos, the amenities are usually empty. Some buildings have full and busy gyms, but most don’t. I love going swimming at my father-in-law’s condo, we are always the only people in the pool. But go to Pure Spirit on Mill Street, a summer afternoon and the pool is fuller than a cruise ship!

Rinomato says paying less than 50 cents per square feet for maintenance fee is a good benchmark if you wish to control your maintenance fee costs.

The average paid in the Greater Toronto Area is 59 cents per square foot, according to the study.

Comment: But that is misleading, as it is unit cost only. You have to add in parking and locker costs as well, to be able to get a proper monthly cost. Point is, do your homework, know what you are paying for!

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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Summary
Debunking the myths about your condo fees
Article Name
Debunking the myths about your condo fees
Description
The larger the unit, the higher the fees. Balconies have to be paid for as well, they are included in the units square footage. Add in a locker and a parking spot, those also need to be paid for. Add in a pool, concierge, etc. Amenities also cost money.

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