Tips on buying a new condo

Here are some suggestions:
Do not be fooled by the project's name. Just because a building is called Rosedale, Park Avenue, The Ritz or Palm Springs does not mean that it can't be a down-market project; a few levels better than public housing.
Don't buy in a huge complex that is over 240 residential units. Fewer would be better. I also would hesitate buying in a mixed complex that also has retail and commercial units.
Check on the developer's reputation. Tridel has a very good reputation; others run from excellent to plain awful. A few developers have never built anything before. Check out two or three recent projects that they have completed and are occupied. See if the owners are satisfied.
Don't believe the sales office claims on the percentage of units sold. They will lie and lie and then lie some more.
What the sales staff promise is not always what you get. Carefully read all the fine print.
Carefully read the Disclosure Statement. Ask questions about everything you don't understand.
Read the Declaration, the By-laws and the Rules and Regulations. Is there anything there you cannot live with? Check especially close for any restrictions on pets.

If there isn't a clause saying the residential units are solely for single-family residences you may end up buying in a building where the residential units are full of short-term rental units, suite-hotel units, small businesses, overcrowded student housing and rooming houses.
Is there a locker? If so, how large will it be?
How many elevators, how many floors and how many units? There should be a ratio of one elevator for roughly every 60 units.
What is the percentage of bachelors and one-bedroom units compared to two and three-bedroom units? Small units means a majority of renters and absentee landlords.
"There are buildings that have a very high rental population and become run down after a while. Too many rentals are a good indicator that the maintenance fees will go up, so try to find a building with a nice balance of rented and owned units."
Arie Buzilo  Toronto real estate agent
Condolife magazine  April 2013
If there are ground-floor commercial units, are they included in the residential condominium corporation or will they be registered as a separate corporation? If they are included with the residential units, they may use their block of votes to dominate the board.

Also make sure they will be separately metered for the utilities.
Does the design call for glass exterior walls and glass balconies? If so check on the type of glass that will be used during construction. Will the builder use window-wall or the more expensive curtain-wall.
Once you move in, be very aware of Tarion's time limits for filing claims for faulty materials and workmanship. You may well find that Tarion protects the builder more than the owners.
Expect the project to run late. Maybe very late.
You will be pushed to move in early, before the building is complete. If so expect noise, dirt and confusion for several months until all the construction is completed.
Verbal promises made by the sales staff are not binding on the builder. Get everything in writing and have "Authorized to bind the developer" printed on the agreement along with a signature.
If you are buying a very expensive unit, make sure that the unit has heat pumps. This will allow you to have heat or air conditioning whenever you need it. Regular heating and cooling systems (fan coils) allow you to have heating or cooling, not both, and it is changed from one to the other by the superintendent every fall and spring.
Don't buy a million dollar unit on top of hundreds of cheaper bachelor and one-bedroom units. You will be perched on top of a huge rental building.
The stated condo fees may not be a realistic figure. Expect that those fees may go up by 25 to 50% a year or two after the turnover meeting once the developer's subsidies are gone.
New condominium developments may contain a few low-cost rental units owned by a social agency. Check to see if the building you are looking at will have social housing rental units.
I wouldn't buy a unit on the first or second floors. There are good reasons they are cheaper. Do not buy on top of a basketball court, games room, movie theatre, fitness room or the party room.

Don't buy a unit that sits underneath a swimming pool or a hot tub. If and /or when they leak, the damage can be massive. Also don't buy a unit that sits above or beside a fitness room. People dropping weights make a terrible racket. It's worse if they blare their boom boxes.
Check to see what utility costs, including heating & air conditioning, are on top of the common element fees.
Look for any "Noise Warnings or any Other Special Notices" in the sales agreement. You may find that there is so much exterior noise due to aircraft flight paths, trains, bus terminals, street cars or nearby industrial zones that you will not be able to comfortably use your balcony or have your windows open.
If the builder limits his liability to only what the Tarion warranty covers, I would walk away.
When you sign the contract, change the clause that states that the buyer will pay any increases in development charges to say that the seller will pay any increases in development charges.
If you want a dog, make sure that the declaration states that at least one dog is permitted per unit. If pets are mentioned only in the Rules and Regulations, down the road, the majority on the board can change the rules and ban all new dogs.
Check to see if any of the expensive building components are on lease including the heating/cooling system in your unit. If so, think twice before buying.

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