What to Look for When Buying a Condo in Toronto


Is it a good time to buy a condo?  More and more people are asking themselves this, looking to break into one of Canada’s hottest housing markets, or to downsize their empty-nest homes.

And the answer is frequently yes.

These days a condo makes sense from an investment point of view – even when housing prices dip in the city, condominium values tend to remain strong and even increase. And the condo-building boom in Toronto continues.

Know your location. The real estate maxim “location, location, location” holds true for the condo market. Toronto is a city of neighborhoods, so find out where you want to be. What schools do you want your kids to go to? What kind of shopping do like? Do you want the city’s cultural and culinary glories within walking distance?

You can also check out neighborhood equity scores, combining ratings for economic opportunity, social development, health, participation in decision-making and physical surroundings.

Old or new building? While many want a new building for their condo, it’s also worth checking out older buildings. If having floor space is important to you, you’re more likely to get it in a building that’s been around for a while than in a space-conscious new one.

Also, you used to be able to get a price break having your money locked up in a pre-construction building. But now this advantage has disappeared, with pre-construction prices matching or exceeding the ones for existing condos in the same area.

Assess the building’s physical condition. This is important, especially for an existing building. Upgrades and fixing physical problems can add substantially to the condo fees you will have to pay. Although it’s not a common practice for condos, it’s a good idea to hire a home inspector to assess the building’s overall physical condition.

Determine if it’s a good investment. This may not be your forever home, so make sure you have a realtor you trust and ask them to get a detailed sales history of the place, if has been pre-owned. And get a future projection of what you can expect to make if you sell.

Protect your room with a view. If you have fallen in love with the view from the condo you’re considering, make sure that it’s not going to be changed or impeded with Toronto’s rapid development. One place to get information is the Toronto Development Applications website. Also, take a walk around the neighborhood to see if any new building is getting underway.

Dens are good. A condo with a large den gives you options. You can convert it into a bedroom, if you need more sleeping space.  And having another bedroom can add substantially to the unit’s resale value.

Once you’ve done your research, buy with confidence and enjoy your new home.