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"How to buy a condo in Toronto" for dummies

1. Get Pre-approved for a mortgage by the Bank

  • go to your bank manager or a friend that says "I do mortgages!".

  • Find out how much you can afford given your salary and savings

(I would recommend finding an A lender for your first mortgage as the big banks typically have a 10% contribution rule which you can pay off your mortgage quicker with no penalty)

2. Find a Real Estate Agent

  • Tell the agent what areas you are interested in, if you need parking and how much you were pre-approved for by the bank.

3. Go for Showings

  • Go for showings at any properties recommended to get a feel for the market.

  • Ask your agent to setup automatic Emails so you get anything that's listed daily and can view the good properties first and steal them.

4. Make an offer on a home you love

  • When you see "the one", ask your agent to draft an offer.

  • Request recently sold data in buildings to ensure you are getting a good deal.

  • PROTECT YOURSELF with conditions. For condos, you will always want to add a "condition on status certificate" to ensure the condo corp is not being sued for $1 billion dollars, and also you may want to protect yourself with a "Financing Condition"if you are purchasing a property which is close to your pre-approval upper limit.

5. Offer Accepted

  • If you are lucky and your offer was accepted, the Property will show as "Sc" (sold with conditions).

  • You as a buyer MUST prepare a certified cheque or bank draft for the deposit amount (typically 5%, but can be any number - check the exact number written on your APS or ask your agent) and bring it to the listing agents brokerage within 24 hours or 1 business day.

  • You should find a Real Estate Lawyer or have 1 recommended to you by your realtor/brokerage now!

6. Sold Conditional period

  • If you put conditions on your offer as mentioned above, the deal will be considered "Sold Conditional" and the deal can still fall through.

  • You should refer to the "Schedule A" in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale and read this carefully.

  • You will a period of time to review the Status Certificate with your lawyer and get mortgage approval from your Mortgage Broker. If you are happy with both, you should tell your Realtor this ASAP and then sign a "Notice of Fulfillment" or "Waiver of conditions".

  • If you are not satisfied, or you want to back out of the deal - you will need to ask your Realtor to sign a "Mutual Release" to get out of the deal and to get your deposit back

7. Sold Firm period before closing

  • The deal is now firm after all the conditions are written off. You are now just waiting for your completion date (Closing date) and are also committed to the deal. There is no backing out now without penalty and significant consequences.

  • You will need to:

  • Meet your Mortgage Broker to sign documents (locking in your mortgage, if you want insurance etc.)

  • Meet your Lawyer to sign documents (authority to release mortgage funds on your behalf, representation documents etc.)

  • Set up home insurance for your condo

  • Book the elevator for moving in (condos are strict about moving in and you should book this early!)

  • Set up maintenance fee payments and fill in the moving in form.

  • Get a buzzcode number and get registered in the intercom system

  • You will want to tell your Realtor that you want to visit the condo a few weeks before closing. This could be for any of the following:

  • Ensure tenant didn't damage the property since you made the offer

  • To measure dimensions for a new and sexy sectional couch you want to order

  • To show off to your family and friends that your equity is now more than them, significantly xD

8. Closing - AKA the Completion Date

  • You will need to give the rest of your down payment on this date. Your Lawyer will tell you how much that is and where/how to send it, but if you want to calculate it yourself, it is [Down payment - Deposit].

  • On the closing date, your Lawyer will send the money to the other Lawyer and the sellers Lawyer will give or courier the keys. From my experience, expect the keys to arrive between 3-5pm. Congratulations, you will now officially be a Homeowner!

9. Hosting a cleaning party disguised as a house warming

Buying resale, more often than not you won't get the property in perfect shape. I recommend hosting a pool party or sushi party where you get your friends over and surprise them with a ton of cleaning materials as this works better than most professional cleaners actually. They will think they are coming for sushi and pool, but then BAAM! the next moment they are helping you lift the fridge and cleaning behind your stove haha

Things to know being a Condo Owner

  • You will be responsible for paying property taxes

  • You will be responsible for paying maintenance fees

  • You will be responsible for any lawsuits against the condominium as you are now a partial owner.

  • Special assessments such as wallpaper and flooring failing prematurely may result in raised maintenance fees or a lump sum payment (so its good to consider if you want to live in a condo with more units or fewer units)

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