Here’s An Extremely Valuable Tip For Anyone Buying A House From Plans

laucarIf you’ve been reading my blog over the past fifteen years that I’ve been blogging about Toronto and global real estate investing you will already know that I’ve spent my entire professional career (at least four decades of it) involved in the sale and purchase of condominiums.

With a constant stream of disappointments resulting from buying condos that consistently failed to deliver on their promises, I finally have decided to invest in a detached house for my principal residence.

I own a beautiful condo townhouse in the downtown core of Toronto, but having to pay $1,000+ per month in maintenance fees and getting virtually nothing in return for that money, now that I’m thinking “retirement“, that monthly “grand” represents a major burden.

Despite how unique this property is, even as an income producing property, I still lose $1,000+ per month out of income and then there’s the annual property tax which together, eats up about $20,000 a year.

But let’s deal with that issue in a later blog. Today, I’m going to address a very serious deficiency that unsuspecting house buyers (buying from plans) are left with.

I just learned this from real life experience as I bought a detached $1 Million plus home from plans in Oakville (actually the 18 home development is called a “Parcel of Tied Land” (POTL) which simply stated means that the private road in our development is condo while the houses are not.

So I bought my new house from plans last Christmas eve (I’ve blogged about this before but just recently realized where the dilemma rests) and noticed that it had two garage doors which, aesthetically seemed to enhance the home and seemed reasonable to not have to open the entire front of the garage to park your car.

With condos you don’t think about parking as it is usually in the basement of the building and is open space, although I did buy one condo that had an undersized parking space and couldn’t fit my S500 Mercedes in it and ended up in a year long fight when the ignorant developer’s litigator (ignorant because he was keeping 23 parking spaces for his collection of cars) refused to exchange one with me.

For decades now, (originally I’ve published what amounts to (according to the media and consumers) “the only true voice in the dialogue about condos” so I published the truth about this developer (I’ve had dozens threaten me with law suits for “slander“) and ended up fending off a frivolous law suit fighting with a litigator whom I actually admired because he put up such a fight with absolutely no merit to his position (he made a fortune from his client)!

So, this time out, I bought this beautiful home, sight unseen from the Internet (I don’t recommend this to faint of heart investors) and for the past ten months have waited and watched only to repeatedly receive delay notices (it still is just a foundation).

Last weekend I drove out to check out the property along with a couple other prospective buys as the developer had delayed past the “Outside Occupancy Date” (most people don’t read their documents but I do and that is the single most pronounced aspect of this entire game that has saved me over and over again).

While visiting some magnificent homes priced in the $1.3 million range, I noticed these dual garage doors on almost every house that I checked out.

So I pulled up to a couple and it became instantly clear that there was no way that i would be able to pull my S550 into the garage.

Oh, I might physically get it in but only with a couple inches on either side and the sensors on my car would have a coronary every time I entered or exited my garage!

I managed to save the day (or deal in this case) but realized just how many unsuspecting buyers end up not being able to park their cars in their garage. With Canada’s punishing winters, that’s downright ugly, and to me an absolute deal breaker!

But it is not something that you can legitimately complain about as, in my instance I had allowed almost a year to pass from the time I bought it and the plans clearly showed the two door garage.

Fortunately for me, the issue of delaying beyond the “Outside Occupancy Date” shifted the balance of power back to me as you are entitled to get out of any deal when this type of delay (outside the “Outside Occupancy Date”) is introduced (you have only 30 days to serve Notice of intent to cancel the deal once the outside occupancy date is passed and then it becomes a firm deal again).

I definitely want to live in Oakville so I expanded my search to include new million and up homes near Dundas Street but was immediately caught off guard by the sheer number of homes in the area. There were literally thousands!

And the greatest majority of them had these little garage doors rendering the garages useless and forcing owners to park in their lane way!

When you take a hundred or so houses with the majority having this situation, the road ends up looking like a used car parking lot!

You end up with a million dollar home in a used car lot neighbourhood!  Here’s a good sideline tip:  “when considering buying into a given neighbourhood visit it early in the morning (like 6:00 a.m.) and you’ll get a much clearer perspective on the community than you will at noon“!  This is how I caught onto the garages!

I managed to get my developer to changed my home to a large single garage door (I would have walked away had we not agreed to change it).

Had the work been completed on the house it would have been very expensive to remedy and I observed that most people buying these million dollars – five million dollar homes, having no available remedies we left to simply live with the reality that they could not park their cars in their garage!

What an unbelievable and unacceptable situation! Most people buying homes in this price range own big cars as well. You can’t even easily fit a small car into these tiny doorways!

You would almost think that there is some kind of conspiracy to screw home buyers!

Where the hell is our government who alleges to be there to protect consumers?

I checked out mls and upwards of 90% of the houses in that area for sale had these small doors.

Could it be that this is the reason so many are for sale?

Well, consider yourself warned, that if you are buying a house and want to park in your garage, that special attention has to be paid to the size of your garage door (they come only in 2 sizes – a single or double door).

I’m Charles

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