Tag Archives: Location


Location, location, location, why it’s so important when buying a condo

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Location, location, location, why it’s so important when buying a condo

I often write about condominium shoppers creating a spreadsheet or list of important items to consider. The number one thing is always location. The phrase “location, location, location” may seem trite, but in fact, it is based on solid truth. For most purchasers, the big picture is paramount in their final decision. Fortunately, in Toronto and the GTA, you will find a myriad of amazing choices, locations and designs available offered by some of the world’s finest developers and architects.

One of the first things to look at regarding location is whether the buildings are in established or up and coming neighbourhoods. You may feel that you prefer and can afford a residence in the midst of established amenities and mature trees and greenery. On the other hand, if price is a major factor for you, selecting a growing area with new amenities planned in the future might be more economically feasible. Again, you have numerous wonderful choices of both types.

Where do you work? Even with the pandemic-fuelled work-from-home scenario, there are still thousands and thousands of people across the GTA who have to go somewhere for their jobs. When you consider your commute from a new condominium, be sure to avoid the mistake of estimating times by the as-the-crow flies method. You are wise to actually do the commute during rush hour, whether by driving or using public transit, to be realistic.

And speaking of public transit, are the condos you are considering close to transportation access? In addition to making your life easier, they will hold their appeal more when you go to sell someday. Our transportation infrastructure continues to grow and expand, which is a wonderful boon to residents everywhere.

Transportation aside, what about walkability? Most condo owners want to live where they can shop, dine out, run errands and the like within a quick stroll. Visit walkscore.com, plug in the address of a condo, and you can find out what amenities and services are within walking distance.

How about the places and people you visit often – family and friends, and any clubs and associations you belong to? Will they be easy to get to from the new locales you are looking at? If you are a member of a yacht club or keep a boat on Lake Ontario, you might want to live right by the water.

Of course, price, architecture, building amenities, features and finishes and builder reputation and track record should all have prominent places in your comparison list or spreadsheet. Wherever and whatever you buy, keep in mind that when you purchase new, you benefit from the latest design and construction standards, as Ontario Building Code is regularly amended to increase quality and energy efficiency.

New-home buyers in the GTA are among the luckiest in the world. So, enjoy your shopping, consider the details and remember the big picture. Then take your place in it in a beautiful new condo!

Barbara Lawlor is President and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc. and winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, among other accolades. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in Canada in the GTA, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, and internationally in Beijing. bakerrealestate.com


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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

Successful condo investors know that there are a number of key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a property that will reap them a solid return on their investment.

Here is a rundown of what investors should be focusing on in their search for a profitable rental property.

Photo courtesy Activa


In the GTA’s increasingly expensive housing market, affordability tops the list of considerations for investors. A condo unit should be purchased at a price you can afford to carry, and you’ll need to consider condo fees and property taxes alongside sale price.

Also keep in mind the costs of routine upkeep for the property, particularly as you begin renting it out, and the potential for damage rises (hopefully it’s minor.) Speaking of damage, you will need to cover the cost of insurance for the condo unit; this is required by condo corporations.

Make sure you’re doing a cost benefit analysis of all of this to be certain that the rental income you get not only covers your carrying costs but also provides a bit of profit on top. The goal is to be cash flow positive, but it might take a year or two to get there.


Be mindful of a property that will require maintenance outside the routine needs, such as lawn mowing or snow shovelling. Buildings with swimming pools, for example, will have higher maintenance and common element fees down the line, which will cut into the rental income potential for the investor.

Room to grow

Space is a key consideration, especially with more families looking to live in condo properties versus actual houses, which are getting out of most people’s price range — buyers and renters alike. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental units with parking and storage will see greater demand from tenants who are willing to pay higher rental rates in order to have more room. If buying close to university or college, larger units can accommodate more residents, which helps students share the monthly rent.


The essential element in the assessment of any condo property’s potential. The condo will have much greater value as a rental unit if it is close to transit, universities and colleges, and retail offerings. It should be noted that many new condo developments — such as the Regent Park revitalization in Toronto — are helping to reshape communities for the better. And the value of condo units in these areas is seeing significant growth as a result.


Nearby employment opportunities should be a key consideration when assessing whether a condo unit will carry greater value as a rental property, such as locations that are close to work nodes. Basically anything in downtown Toronto, where much of the younger talent is flocking nowadays, will generate a stronger rental income.


Amenities are definite value-add when it comes to rental properties. Gyms, party rooms with catering kitchens, front desk/ concierge service, bike parking and storage — all of these will translate into higher rental rates. The same is true for community amenities. A building will see far more renter interest if it’s close to parks, trails and libraries, with a variety of nearby shopping, dining and entertainment options. And that increased demand will mean more rental dollars.

DEBBIE COSIC, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for more than 25 years.



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Perfecting your marketing message: Identifying your ideal client

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Perfecting your marketing message: Identifying your ideal client

One of the most common challenges business owners face is figuring out exactly how to consistently and effectively reach their target market. In a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with advertising and information, it’s absolutely critical to know who you’re talking to, where you’ll find them, and what they want to hear from you. If you want your message to be heard through the noise, follow these three steps to effectively connect with your future customers.

Identify your ideal client

For any company to successfully market themselves, they must start by identifying their ideal client. Keep in mind that successful marketing is not about what you can offer anyone and everyone but, rather, how do you specifically fill the needs of your target market. You can identify your ideal client by asking yourself these questions.

Who is your ideal client?

To answer this question, start by considering your target markets psychographics and demographics. Demographics are characteristics like age, marital status, income level, geographical location, and other tangible traits.

What do they care about?

Demographics are certainly important to know, but arguably even more important are psychographics. Psychographics are more about their needs – what excites them, what their goals are, what their fears are, what they are interested in, and where they spend their money. If you’re unsure what some of these characteristics are, consider asking a few of your top clients to answer a few questions over lunch (on you). Your ability to thoroughly understand your ideal client’s needs, wants, fears, and interests will provide an important foundation for all of your marketing (and eventually, sales).

Once you’ve gotten a clear, detailed idea of who you’re looking for, you’re ready to move onto the next two steps.

By Danny Kerr, Managing Partner, Breakthrough Academy


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Home Realty: It’s All In The Planning

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Home Realty: It’s All In The Planning

Six benefits of buying in a master-planned development

There are many advantages to purchasing a home that’s part of a master-planned community. Here is a rundown on the top six reasons why you may want to consider buying your next abode in one of these communities.


Master-planned developments typically incorporate amenities and retail stores, all of which make life within them more enjoyable. The developer also tends to have a longer-term commitment to these communities, so is therefore more likely to produce better-quality housing, which translates into less maintenance over the lifetime of these homes, and higher resale values if and when the time comes to sell.


Master-planned communities tend to be built in better areas, neighbourhoods that are located within close reach of quality schools, transportation and transit networks, shops and services and recreational options. And while these communities are situated nearby to everything, in the case of lowrise neighbourhoods, they’re also designed so that traffic within them is controlled, providing peace of mind for residents who don’t need to worry about living on a busy or noisy street.


Builders of master-planned communities ensure that these neighbourhoods have a cohesive and consistent design, while also making certain there is enough design variety that they don’t end up looking like cookie-cutter developments. Architects create a selection of product types, from detached homes to townhouses to multi-family buildings, and these homes employ a blend of building materials so the product is appealing to the eye but also works well within the development’s surroundings and context.


Master-planned developments usually have a wide selection of amenities. In the case of midrise or highrise projects, this includes party rooms, pools, gyms, entertainment and media rooms. Many condo developments are also incorporating more outdoor amenities such as green spaces, rooftop terraces and communal gardens.


All those aforementioned amenities mean that a master-planned development tends to feel more like a real community, with the residents believing they are a part of something bigger than themselves. In the case of lowrise neighbourhoods, children playing in the parks or on the playgrounds will generally be attending the same schools, and their parents are more likely running into one another at the community centre or while shopping. This can lead to neighbourhood barbecues and get-togethers at each other’s homes. In a condo building, residents will meet in the gym or entertainment rooms and make connections there.


Homes within master-planned developments typically have greater value over the long term as a result of their ample amenities and quality locations, plus the fact that the units are built with quality and cohesive design in mind.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. She has sold and overseen the sale of over $15 billion worth of real estate and, with Debbie at the helm, In2ition has become one of the fastest-growing and most innovative new home and condo sales companies. In2ition has received numerous awards from the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the National Association of Home Builders.


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THE BROKER: Smart investors see into the future

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THE BROKER: Smart investors see into the future

Smart investors see into the future
By Ryan P. Coyle
CONNECT Asset Management

People often ask us how to invest in real estate and what they should be looking for in an income-producing property. The real estate industry is full of various scenarios and situations that can impact an investor’s return.

This is a great time for investors to buy a condo. If purchased early in the cycle, the developer generally offers more competitive pricing and incentives to get the shovels in the ground faster. The lower pricing and greater choice afforded by the pre-construction phase is certainly a big selling point for potential investors.

We are constantly talking to investors and listening to what it is that they want in a pre-construction investment property. What is interesting is that the dialogue is essentially the same regardless of whether we are speaking with a seasoned investor or somebody that is new to the investing process. Their investment strategy seems to have many of the same key features. Below is a summary of some of the top priorities for investors who are looking to purchase pre-construction.

A realtor that specializes in pre-construction

Investors are looking for a proven team with a solid track record and strategy in pre-construction. They are looking for knowledge and information and will look for a professional that can help them understand things such as taxes, costs and fees, how to read building plans, understanding assignment clauses, condo fees, etc.

There are definitely perceived risks to buying pre-construction due in part to fear of the unknown. Our advice is simple: only deal with a team who has worked directly with builders in the area and who have the most insight into the pre-construction process. Investors generally understand that the right professional can get them access to the best properties and help them manage these properties for the long-term.


It should be no surprise that one of the first things that investors look for when buying pre-construction is location. Investors understand that the quality of the location will influence the type of renters attracted to the property. In downtown Toronto, most renters are young professionals who enjoy the simplicity of condo living. Our clients are looking for locations with a robust job market, a good walk score and amenities like parks, grocery stores, restaurants, cafés and public transport hubs.


Rental income is the bread and butter of a rental property for an investor. One of the main things that investors look for when buying pre-construction are average rents in the area. Investors want to ensure that the rent will be high enough to cover mortgage payments and other expenses. Our clients are generally looking for opportunities that will put them in a positive cash flow situation. With low vacancy rates and condo rents soaring, it is no surprise that this can be a deal breaker for some people.

Future development

Investors want to be as educated as possible when shopping around for pre-construction investment opportunities. They want to know what future developments are planned for the area as this can positively or negatively impact the value of the property. Is it a high growth area or one that is currently in decline? While many clients are looking for a sure thing and will only buy in an established location, some clients are looking for a neighbourhood in the early stages of gentrification. Savvy investors know that these properties can sometimes result in a faster and higher appreciation for the investment property.

Special incentives

The deposit structure is something that investors will look at when buying a pre-construction condo. The more appealing the deposit structure, the more appealing the property. A lower down payment requirement up front, as well as a flexible payment schedule, can be very enticing to investors. Another thing that many investors look for is an assignment clause. Some investors want the flexibility of being able to sell on assignment, prior to closing. The assignment clause allows them to do this. Extra incentives like free parking or locker, discounts for buying early, etc. are also at the top of the list.

I believe that buying pre-construction is an essential part of the long-term growth story. Pre-construction condos are one of the best real estate investment opportunities available for independent investors who know that they can build serious wealth in real estate by buying pre-construction.

Ryan P. Coyle is a broker and real estate advisor with CONNECT Asset Management.



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