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 tolerated.

Business professionals
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.

Young adults

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.

Many 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 party.

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 containing two and three bedroom units.

Low-income earners
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.

Vacation properties
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 seasons.

top  contents   chapter  previous   next