Thinking about purchasing a condominium in Toronto? While it’s a similar process to buying a house, there are some differences. If you’ve decided the condo lifestyle is the right fit for you, here’s what you need to know.
What if I’m a first-time home buyer?
If you’re ready to make the leap from renting to owning, see if you qualify for the government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. There’s also the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), which allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 from your RRSP and pay it back within 15 years. Once you’ve purchased a condo, you could qualify for tax credits, such as GST/HST housing rebates, or deducting moving expenses.
What do I need to buy a condo?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is the same process for a condo or house: you’ll need documentation including a credit check, letter of employment, T4 slips, and proof of assets. Once you start the condo search, you’ll need money that’s accessible for a deposit (5% of the purchase price) if your offer is accepted, and the minimum down payment amount for closing.
Should I get a home inspection for a condo?
While you can have a home inspection for a condo unit, instead you usually review the status certificate (or estoppel certificate) with a lawyer when you make an offer. This document helps determine the financial and legal standing of the condo corporation, as well as any bylaws and rules you should know about.
What’s different about buying a condo versus a house?
- Affordability. While condos in Toronto are also in demand, they’re generally cheaper than buying a semi-detached or detached house in the city.
- Monthly fees. On top of the mortgage, condo owners pay monthly maintenance fees which differ by building. These go towards covering repairs and cleaning of common spaces and amenities, concierge services, a reserve fund for larger projects, and sometimes utilities.
- Less maintenance. Don’t want the upkeep of a house and backyard? Condo living is more low maintenance than owning a home.
- Amenities. Condos can offer great amenities for residents, such as a gym, pool, rooftop patio, and party room.
What should I look for in a condo?
- The condition of amenities. Check that the building’s amenities are well maintained.
- Property management. Research the property management company’s reputation. Has there been recent turnover?
- The view and lighting. Toronto offers some spectacular views, which can be a huge selling point, and you’ll want to check what kind of natural light the unit gets.
- Short-term rental rules. Find out if units are allowed to be rented through Airbnb—this could affect the noise and traffic in the building.
- Design and decor. Inquire about decor limitations, such as rules for window coverings. You also want to consider functionality, like where the TV would go or where outlets are located.