the real/estate blog


Fees, fees and more fees

Posted in Condos,Real Estate by Cesia Green on February 1, 2013
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Buying a condo? Then you should be extra careful about what the monthly fees will be.

Generally, the status certificate will show what the current fees are. It will also state whether the condo board anticipates any special assessments in the near future. Most realtors will ensure that your lawyer has a chance to review the status certificate before either the conditional period ends, or the title search date, so that you can be sure that you know what will be happening while there is still a chance to change things if you want.

Monitoring abusive condo owners

Posted in Condos,Real Estate by Cesia Green on December 14, 2012

Back in August, a decision was released on York Condominium Corporation No. 137 v. Hayes, which involved a condo owner who was verbally and physically abusive to other residents in the building.

The condo board was attempting to have Hayes removed, and had applied to the court to have her forced to sell her unit (which is very rare, as I have posted about here). Ultimately, the court decided that, in this case, it would not order her to vacate and sell her condo, because there were other remedies. You can read the entire case here.

A condo is a shared space, and is by its nature a form of communal living. Obviously most condo buildings do not have abusive residents, but generally being comfortable living in close proximity to others is a necessity of condo life.

Small spaces

Posted in Condos,Real Estate by Cesia Green on December 7, 2012

Could you live here?

A developer in Surrey, BC is hoping to build Canada’s smallest condos, with the units ranging from 290 to 653 square feet. The price makes them open to people who want to buy but can’t afford the skyrocketing real estate prices in the Vancouver area. Still: could you live there?

Beware of falling glass

Posted in Condos,Real Estate by Cesia Green on July 13, 2012
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On June 21, Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced changes to the Ontario Building Code that would take effect on July 1, 2012.

There were a number of incidents in Toronto where glass fell from balconies, sometimes up to 30 stories up. This obviously was a safety hazard, both for the person potentially leaning on their balcony and the person walking along the street below the building. The new rules will require builders to use the same type of heat-resistant glass that is used in car windshields, and will only apply to projects where the builders have not yet applied for building permits. This decision follows the recommendation of the Expert Advisory Panel on Glass Panels in Balcony Guards, which was struck after several of these incidents. Minister Wynne also stated that these are temporary measures to help improve public safety while the Canadian Standards Association develops national guidelines.

You can read the government’s press release here.

Building for charity

Posted in Condos,Real Estate by Cesia Green on September 16, 2011

I came across this post the other day at TheRedPin, a website devoted to people looking to buy condos in the GTA. Jessica Speziale, of Options for Homes, wrote the post about what Options does to help people get into the housing market. Basically, Options has been building condo towers since 1992 that deliberately have lower profit margins, and use lower advertising budgets, to start the prices far lower than condos of comparable size and style. They also have what they call “Alternative Mortgages” which are payment-free loans designed to be used toward down payments. The loan must only be paid back at the time of either sale or rental of the suite, with a premium tied to the increase in value. For example, if the value of the condo had increased by 5% at the time of repayment, then the loan would correspondingly increase by 5%. The profit is used to help fund the next building and future homeowners’ loans. Additionally, there are no restrictions on who is able to buy an Options home.

This is a great example of a company bringing home ownership to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it, on terms that are manageable, reasonable and laudable. Kudos to Options for creating this, and to TheRedPin for highlighting it!

LiveHigh 3.0

Posted in Condos,Investment Properties,Real Estate by Cesia Green on July 22, 2011

I have been very honoured to be guest blogging at www.livehigh.com. After a series a while back on closing costs (you can read those posts here and here), they invited me to guest blog this week on additional considerations for non-resident buyers and sellers. You can read my post here.

Thanks again to Karin and the LiveHigh team for this opportunity!