Condominiums across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area have proven to be excellent additions to people’s lifestyle and financial portfolios. According to Urbanation, new condo prices hit an all-time high in the third quarter of 2018, while sales volume hit the third-highest Q3 total in the past 10 years. Think of the return on investment condominium owners who bought years ago have enjoyed. Get into the condo market now, while prices are still on the rise.
You will find superb condominiums in remarkable locations close to amenities, public transit and parks. Some offer direct access to transit, which eliminates the need to own a vehicle. First-time buyers, in particular, find this tremendously helpful in affording an urban condo. Buyers of all ages appreciate the convenience of owning within walking and biking distance to run errands, and for some people, to their workplace.
Today’s condominium architecture is stunning, whether the building is a sleek, modern point tower, an intimate boutique midrise, or anything in between. Traditional, transitional, contemporary… when you shop for a condo, you will find a variety of exteriors available to please a variety of sensibilities. Your condo should feel like “home” from first glance.
Lifestyle in a condo is one of luxury, whether you move into a studio or compact one-bedroom suite or a sprawling penthouse. Beautiful building amenities span the gamut from party rooms to boardrooms, fitness centres to yoga studios, ground-level courtyards to rooftop oases with pools, barbecues, dining areas and/or lounges.
The lifestyle is also one of ease as well, as residents’ maintenance fees cover the exterior upkeep such as landscaping and snow removal, as well as the cleaning and repair of all common areas in the building. Imagine the time that frees up to spend more time with family, traveling or enjoying hobbies.
Suite interiors are masterpieces of design, with functional layouts that are flexible as well. With open-concept main living spaces, residents can delineate “rooms” to their preference using furniture groupings and area rugs. Gorgeous linear kitchens become part of the main living area and free up space. Dens can double as guest rooms, nurseries, home offices and anything else your imagination can conjure up.
Today’s features and finishes rival those of condominiums around the world. In fact, our condominium purchasers here have much more choice than they do in the U.S. Even buyers who choose to appoint their suites with standards appreciate their beauty and quality.
In Toronto and the GTA, we are fortunate to have some of the finest builders and developers in Ontario offering condominium communities. They enlist award-winning design firms to help bring their vision to reality.
New condominiums in Ontario are still protected by Tarion Warranty Corp. Last year, the Minister of Government and Consumer Services announced proposed changes to enhance consumer protection, and Tarion is committed to supporting the province in this transition.
Those are just some of the reasons to start 2019 with a brand new condominium. Happy New Year!
BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated, winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com
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COVID-19 has created a unique situation in the real estate market, not only for the buyer and seller, but also for realtors, mortgage brokers and lawyers. The current restrictions and limitations necessary to comply with physical distancing are having a direct impact on a buyer's experience. Showings are conducted virtually, meetings with brokers and lawyers take place over Zoom, and everyone is working remotely.
As a solution to some of these challenges, many real estate agents are now including COVID-19 clauses in Agreements of Purchase and Sale. But how do these clauses protect the parties and what should you look out for?
COVID-19 clauses in Agreements of Purchase and Sale are meant to protect the parties from delays and interruptions to their deal caused by issues relating to COVID-19, including illness, self-isolation or delays with third parties. However, a COVID-19 clause, which is not carefully drafted and reviewed, may cause unnecessary confusion or delay.
Consider, for example, a common clause which contemplates an extension of a real estate transaction where either party is subject to a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine and the agreement is automatically extended, at the request of either party, for a period of 14 days.
This clause doesn't consider a situation where a party is still sick after 14 days or where a party has to stay in isolation as other members of their household remain COVID positive. In addition, most people self-isolate voluntarily, rather than it being mandatory. Would this put a party, who is self-isolating to mitigate the risk of exposure or transmission to others, in breach of the agreement? And what if the party was able to close the deal remotely, using audiovideo technology? Would they be able to delay the transaction due to a quarantine despite their ability to close?
So, what if your real estate agent includes a COVID-19 clause in an offer, or you receive one from a potential buyer? Discuss the clause carefully with your agent and seek the advice of your real estate lawyer before signing the agreement. It's important to disclose what you are hoping to achieve should an unexpected situation arise.
Certainly, there are ways to protect both the buyer and the seller from complications which may arise as a result of COVID-19. But it's important that buyers and sellers are aware of the potential pitfalls with these clauses before including them in any contract or Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
The world as we know it has changed, and we must change with it. Protect yourself and your family by speaking to an experienced real estate lawyer, and they will guide you properly and protect you to the exclusion of all others from the dangers brought forward by COVID-19.
A good real estate lawyer should also ensure you have a will or Power of Attorney. The minute any real estate deal is firm, ensure that at a minimum you have a Power of Attorney in place in the event that you are physically or mentally unable to complete the transaction.
You must protect your family and yourself.
Jayson Schwarz LLM and Jacqueline Moneta are with Schwarz Law LLP. To suggest topics for future columns or ask questions, visit schwarzlaw.ca or email email@example.com.
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