Many people use the words condo and apartment interchangeably. But there’s a big difference between the two, which involves ownership. Specifically, condos are bought and owned, while apartments are rented. Furthermore, the process of purchasing a condo is similar to that of buying a house. The main difference is the price. Therefore, buying a condo is probably the best option if you’re relocating to Toronto to further your career. And the same applies to seniors looking to downsize. Either way, this is a big decision. So, you have to be sure that now is a good time to buy. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision when buying a condo in Toronto.
The first point in our guide to “Buying a condo in Toronto: What you should know” is your budget
Buying real estate is expensive no matter what. However, you should know that the prices of condos in Toronto are constantly on the rise. Therefore, you should start by doing some market research to determine the current price range. Otherwise, you won’t even know if you can afford one. Of course, prices differ based on the condo’s location, size, and amenities. But for the moment, you should focus on identifying the average costs and required down payments. Once you know what you’re getting into, it’s time to analyze your finances. Apart from your savings, you should also look at your monthly income and expenses. Because you should also make sure you can afford to live in the condo after you buy it. Don’t forget to include future mortgage payments, home insurance, and taxes. Moreover, you’ll also have to make payments to the homeowners association (HOA) for the maintenance of the jointly-owned common areas.
Your loan options
People don’t usually pay for condos out of pocket. The investment is too big, and they can’t afford it. That’s why we have loans. So, you should research the loan options you are eligible for. If you’re a first-time home buyer in Toronto, you might qualify for the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) or the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.
Furthermore, you have to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you can get. Lenders usually require you to provide a letter of employment, your credit check, a T4 slip (Statement of Remuneration Paid), and a Notice of Assessment.
The potential additional costs
One of the essential aspects of buying a condo in Toronto is that people often overlook additional costs. Firstly, you might have to do repairs and updates to the condo after buying it. Depending on the state it’s in, this could involve a minor or a major project. Secondly, if you are moving to Toronto, you’ll have to hire residential movers. You shouldn’t expect this to be cheap, but it’s better to rely on pros to handle it. If you do it by yourself, you risk damaging your valuables during transport.
The benefits of hiring a realtor
If you want to buy a condo in Toronto, finding the right realtor is crucial. Yes, this also involves additional costs, but it’s worth it. A professional can save you a lot of time. They can sift through the real estate market and identify the condos that best suit your needs and preferences. This way, you won’t waste time visiting irrelevant properties. Furthermore, an experienced realtor has many connections and will quickly discover when a new condo is placed on the market. Finally, one of the most significant advantages is that a skilled realtor might be able to negotiate a better price for you.
Determining what you want is key
Even the best realtor in the world can’t find the right condo if you don’t know what you want. Therefore, you should narrow it down as much as possible. One of the most important aspects is the location. If you’re not a resident of Toronto, do some research. Use the internet to find out more about each neighborhood. Don’t overlook things like close access to grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and public transport. Once you’ve gathered all the information, go visit your top choices. This will give you an idea about the community and the vibe of the place.
Apart from the location, it would be best if you also got specific about the condo. Firstly, decide how many bedrooms you need. Secondly, determine what you can’t live without. Is it a second bathroom, a big closet, or a parking space? These are the essentials. But condominium complexes often provide other standard amenities as well. For instance, you might be interested in one that gives you access to a gym or a swimming pool.
The importance of a home inspection
Once you find the right condo and your offer is accepted, you’ll sign an agreement of purchase and sale. Make sure you read it carefully before you sign. You can even consult with a lawyer in case you have any doubts. Furthermore, if the agreement does not include a home inspection contingency, you should ask the seller to add it. This is crucial because it gives you the right to back out of the deal if the home inspection finds significant issues. At the same time, if you don’t want to give up on that condo, you can at least negotiate a lower price.
Moreover, as a result of the home inspection, you’ll know the exact state of the condo. So you won’t have any bad surprises later. It also helps you determine how much money you have to invest in repairs and updates. Given all of this, finding the right man for the job is very important. And there are some key aspects to look for when choosing a home inspector. These include proper qualifications, years of experience, and good referrals.
As you can see from this guide for buying a condo in Toronto, there are many things to consider. Plus, since this is a big life decision, you shouldn’t rush it. Above all else, make sure you can afford to buy a condo and live in it afterward. Then find the right professionals to help you in the process.