Toronto’s Condo Land The Wild West Of Real Estate

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Condos in Toronto have indisputably become “commodities” that are traded just like any other commodity on the stock market.

The thing that stands Toronto condos apart from all other commodities though, is that they are not regulated with minimal oversight limited to CRA now stepping up to collect all those unpaid income taxes.

The truth is that they are NOT REGULATED AT ALL.

I’ve spent the better part of my half decade as an entrepreneur somehow associated with the sale of “pre-sale” or “pre-construction” residential condos in this city.

I am no longer in the day to day game of representing buyers (although I do still hold a valid real estate license), that IS CondoLand, as an investor in condos with a totally different investment strategy and battle plan, I can tell you that playing in CondoLand is a high stakes game.

High end condos in Toronto are shadowing prices in England and Hong Kong running anywhere from $1,000 per square foot to $1,500 per square foot.

My complaint is certainly not regarding prices, although I do feel that Toronto’s condo prices, despite what the media appears to be clinging onto, are excessive and based on the quality standards, investing in them is just not sound logic at this time.

My issue rests heavily on the substandard quality that consumers get for their money and the manner in which developers are allowed to misrepresent absolutely every aspect of the process to their benefit and the detriment of the consumer.

Mid range condos are still coming on the market around $700 per square foot and realizing the glut of unsold or “shadow” suites in buildings that have completed and many of those still being built, I just don’t see the upside return in speculating where there are such narrow profit margins.

We are buying condos these days on the same logic that my sister always cut both ends off of the roast.

Inquisitive by nature I asked my sister why she did that, thinking that it possibly allowed toxins to escape in the cooking process or something.

I was surprised to have her tell me that that was what her mother always had done.

We then went to our mother and asked why she cut the ends off the roast and I was again surprised to find out that she cut the ends off because that’s what her mother had always done.

So, we went to gramma and asked her why she cut the ends off of the roast and she informed us that her roasting pan was short.

I helped set up the aggressive sales tactics employed by developer reps today, dating back into the 1970’s – 80’s and I am shocked that nothing has really changed.

The Government hasn’t even advanced, updated, enhanced, The Building Code despite radical changes in building material.

When you buy a condo in Toronto you had better be prepared to get to know your neighbours in a very unique way.

I bought a million and a half dollar condo in Churchill Park condo in Forest Hill, in a frustrated attempt to buy a Forest Hill home (houses in Forest Hill will run you $5 Million and up) after a disastrous failed attempt just down the street, which followed an earlier disastrous failed attempt.

Three condos in a row, each growing in price by approximately 100% in my search for a permanent home, all failed miserably and there was literally nothing, as a buyer or consumer or taxpayer, that I could do about any one of them!

Sound attenuation issues in condos in Toronto are outrageous, yet no-one wants to talk about them as they will scare off buyers!

With the majority of buyers “speculators” who probably won’t ever see the actual unit, attend a board meeting or Annual General Meeting, or even read any corporate correspondence, legitimate owners have literally no chance of being able to manage the affairs of the condo corporation.

In Toronto, you buy a condo to end up living in a rental building.

Renters treat a building differently that owners, yet in over 40 years, we have not seen a legitimate attempt to serve us independent tax payers/consumers or protect us in any way!

If you haven’t checked out the links at the bottom of this site, and you are thinking of buying a condo in Toronto, you should stop right there in your tracks and take the time to educate yourself on the Toronto condo industry, and believe me there is NO PLACE ELSE THAT YOU WILL FIND THIS INFORMATION.

Read the Toronto Life article “Faulty Towers“, and watch CBC’s “The Condo Game” plus CBC Marketplace’s “Condo Crunch” at the bottom of this page, and you will be sufficiently informed.

For fifteen years I published simplycondos.com, Toronto’s number one condo buyer’s site and became known around the globe as “the guy that tells it like it is” in the high priced game of condos in Toronto.

I’ve given up on condos and on Toronto myself. I’m building a detached home in Oakville, an upscale area just west of the city and just far enough to allow me to ignore the ignorance that IS CondoLand.

Although, despite buying a detached home, today you get a condo road leading up to your driveway so you don’t seem to ever be able to avoid the drudgery that condo law grants developers.

You are only important to the developer for ten days basically. You sign a contact that is stupid at best and have a Ten Day Rescission Period during which time you can cancel the contract and get your deposit back.

And during this 10 day period you will be treated respectfully, attentively and like someone spending upwards of a million dollars, would expect to be treated throughout the entire time period.

Well, 10 days after signing, you are locked in!

They don’t have to accommodate you any longer and believe me, they don’t!

Apparently it works the same when you buy a pre-construction detached home as my seven figure new home developer seems to have gone to the same developer’s course as all the other condo developers that I know, and once the deal went firm, well they just went!

As buyers we all have this false perspective that developers actually put their name and reputation first, and will thus be aspiring to deliver a quality product, when the entire process has been built on building hundred million dollar buildings on “the lowest bid contracts”!

When you buy in Toronto these days, my advise is to buy old as at least with old, you had better sound attenuation (you didn’t hear your next door neighbours or above or below neighbours talking).

I’m not kidding, today’s condos force you to get to know your neighbours. That Churchill Park unit that I mentioned earlier was worse than hearing my above neighbours talk.

Each morning at 5:00 a.m., religiously I got to hear my neighbour get up a go to the bathroom. And that was a $1.5 Million Dollar residence!

The heating systems were all installed improperly as was the trash recycle unit.

The owner were required to replace all the lobby furniture and redesign and appoint the entire lobby immediately following registration (which was almost a year over due)!

I have a client in an Entertainment District loft where she discovered that “waking up in the morning in this unit equated to living with a cigarette smoker who lights up in bed” because her brand new half million dollar loft stinks so bad from cigarettes next door!

Developers continue to advertise and cell “executive concierge service” and deliver a security guard.

And all of this goes on in some kind of vacuum where the media boast of ever increasing sales of real estate as if this craziness is going to go on for ever!

I lived through the condo crash of 1989 and can tell you that I’ve been writing about all the same signs being present since around 2012!

Global economist have reported Canada’s housing market as being “up to 30% over valued”!

And let’s not forget that “Tarion Warranty Program” which purports to protect consumers.

They acknowledge that they are “an agent of the developer” as the developer pays them to be registered. Sounds logical I guess!

But why do they represent themselves a “protecting the consumer“. I disputed this with Tarion regarding Churchill Park, when dealing with ridiculous deficiencies that the developer was ignoring!

Now, it is important for you to understand that the developer, at closing, passes 100% of this fee on to you under “adjustments” (it’s legal and in the contract) but Tarion does not consider this a conflict of interest, as the develop paid them.

So, if you are thinking that Tarion will come to your aid, forget about it. This is insurance and insurance always tried to no pay!

If you are thinking of doing anything here is Toronto’s condo market I would strongly recommend that you talk with me first.

I’m honestly not looking for new clients as I am no longer involved in that way. I do intend to continue to help buyers in whatever capacity feels right so please let me know if you are thinking of doing anything and I’ll point you in the right direction.

I have a solid network of qualified realtors that I can arrange for you.

My message underscoring today’s blog is that you “WAKE UP”.

Those VIP Limited Time ONLY Sales Events are how developers get rid of their “Dog Suites”, despite them telling you that they are offering “premier suites at discount prices”. Just think about that logic for a moment!

I’m Charles

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