Condos are for the newly wed and nearly dead.
Originally, condos were sold to young couples as first homes and to
families who could not afford to buy detached homes or a semi-detached
house. Seniors was the third major source of purchasers.
These condo corporations consisted of larger two-bedroom units with
some three-bedroom units. There were few one-bedroom or bachelor units.
Today, condo developments are built to attract different types of
residents. A potential buyer needs to know what kind of residents a
condo will attract.
A building that consists mainly of seniors will have a different
atmosphere and feel than a condo that has many young adults.
Important amenities would include nice landscaping, outdoor benches,
extra security features and more handicap parking. There would be
far less interest in a basketball court.
A nearby medical walk-in clinic, drug and grocery stores, churches
and community centres are important.
A young man roller-blading through the lobby and up the elevators
would be resented as a serious safety hazard and loud rap music and
loud parties in a neighbouring suite late in the evening will not be
They want to be close to work. A well-equipped fitness centre will be
important to them. They too will want to live in a quiet building.
There are many condo towers in downtown Toronto that have a majority of
single-bedroom units and were built for singles and young couples. They
feature Internet cafes, well equipped fitness rooms and theatre rooms.
of the small units are bought by investors who don't intend to live in
the units as they will become rental units. Renters sign one-year
leases, as in
regular rental buildings and they stay a year or two before moving on.
Some condos may have 60-90% rental units and the vast majority of
residents are between 19 and 35. There are very few seniors and
families are as scarce as peregrine falcons.
Some of condo corporations allow short-term rentals of furnished units
and they operate just like hotel rooms.
The buildings have a steady stream of people moving in and out and they can be
unacceptable noise and behavioural problems from some of the residents
and their guests. They can be great places if you are young and like to
Condos that are close to universities, community colleges or English
language schools attract students. In Toronto, condos that are on the
subway lines may also have a large transient student population.
Traditional condos buildings were built for families. These
corporations consist of townhouse complexes and high-rise towers
and three bedroom units.
There are low-income earners who want to own a home so they buy
what they can afford. There are large two and three-bedroom condos in
Toronto that cost between $200,000 to $300,000. These units can be
found in a number of older towers and townhouse complexes in the
inner suburbs. (Anything cheaper than this needs to be approached with a great deal of caution.)
“The passage of time inevitably leads
to physical wear and tear of condo complexes, leading to more frequent
and extensive repairs.”
—Dan S. Barnabic
It is difficult to
find a well-maintained condo corporation in this
price-range and although the buildings may look okay, the building
envelope, roof, boilers & HVAC units, balconies
and the underground parking garage may require very expensive repairs.
These deficiencies are not seen by inexperienced buyers.
There is another concern. The buyers couldn't read the financial
statements and therefore they didn't pick up on the problems that are
so subtly declared by the auditor.
Low income owners do not want to—or cannot afford to—pay the monthly
fees required to properly maintain a condo corporation so over
time, the property falls into serious disrepair.
Blue Mountain and Florida immediately come to mind when we think of
condo vacation properties.
People own them as vacation and snowbird properties. When they are not
using them, often they are rented as furnished suites during the off
top contents chapter previous