These days, you don't need to have a real estate license to notice that
the market for condos, especially in Toronto, has skyrocketed over recent years.
The combination of space running out and a steady stream of people moving in has
given birth to a new paradigm of real estate that blends the traditional ideals
of home ownership with some of the precepts common to renting an apartment. The
result is the condo: the one part apartment, part house, all-new approach to city real estate that you should become familiar with if you have any plans of living in Toronto during any part of your life.
Most condos are indistinguishable from apartments upon viewing. Many
look the exact same as apartments in that they are generally located
inside a much larger building or skyscraper that has been subdivided into multiple
units. Both apartments and condos have the basic necessities that make up a
home: space to sleep, a kitchen with food preparation appliances like a refrigerator,
stove, and oven, plus a washroom with bath and/or shower facilities. In fact,
condos and apartments are often located in the same building and built upon
the same floor plans.
The major difference lies not in planning or layout but in the law. Apartments
are rented out by a person or company to a tenant who has agreed to live there
for a set amount of time for a set amount of money, while the tenant owns their condominium. North York and other areas of Toronto that are highly built up have few opportunities for detached home ownership because of space concerns, so what developers have done to give people wishing to live in these areas the opportunity to own real estate is to sell individual apartments outright instead of renting them out.
The practice has become so lucrative and popular that real estate listings abound with condos for sale, and more are being constructed all the time. However,
before you decide that condo ownership is for you just because you want to have
a water view, you should take into account that owning a condo presents unique
challenges and advantages compared to renting an apartment or owning your own
detached home. The biggest concern is that while the condo itself will belong
to you, the building it is located inside still belongs to someone else, so
there may be limits on what you can do with the place regarding renovation,
subletting, or sale.
Another major difference between a condo and most detached homes is that you may have to pay a yearly fee for things like snow removal
or be prepared to shovel snow yourself, which would otherwise have manifested as you paying a plumber
or shoveling your driveway if you owned a house. The upshot of all this is that
most condo buildings have common amenities like a weight room, pool, parking
spot, theater or library that you may not have been able to afford if you were
living by yourself.