May 12

Toronto Condo Or Loft Decisions

If you want to live downtown when you move to Toronto, one of the most desirable neighborhoods is the King West area. Because so many people want to live there, you won't find any detached or even row houses in this area - it's entirely devoted to apartments, condos and lofts. When you're choosing your new living space, it will help you real estate agent if you know which type of real estate you would prefer: a regular condo/apartment or a loft. If you're not sure what the difference is, we can enlighten you here.

Whether you decide to search for condos, lofts or apartments will depend on how you want to pay for your living space in downtown Toronto. When you live in an apartment, you pay for the privilege of living in a unit owned by someone else by handing over an agreed upon sum each month as rent. When you live in a condo, you buy the condo outright like you would a house, by getting a mortgage. You then own the condo but you must also pay fees each month to the condo association to help with the upkeep of the building and the common features shared by all residents (the gym, for example).

Lofts, however, differ from regular apartments and condos primarily by their ceiling height. In Toronto, the average ceiling height in a normal condo or apartment is about eight feet, while in a loft you may have ceilings that soar to ten or more feet, giving you the illusion of more space. Because of the extra vertical space, the loft's designer may decide to give you more floor space for living and entertaining by building an extra half storey for your bedroom, but not all lofts have a bedroom you must access via stairs or a ladder.

Because lofts tend to be created by converting old industrial and commercial buildings (such as factories and warehouses) into living spaces, lofts also typically have more floor space and fewer interior walls than your average condo or apartment. In most condos, the only interior walls in your unit will be around the bathroom, making the unit very echoey. This is fine if you live alone, but if you have a spouse or roommate you may find it difficult to get privacy or quiet time.

Many people prefer Toronto's lofts because they have more character than an apartment. This is due to some of the original factory fittings, such as huge windows, exposed brick exterior walls, and huge unfinished wooden ceiling beams, remain after the conversion. Lofts are also ideal for artists who are looking for a unit where they can both live and work - they will typically use the kitchen and bedroom for living and the living/dining space to work.

May 05

Cabbagetown, Moore Park and Toronto Realtors

Most people who move to Toronto are forced to make a trade off - the more money they save on their home purchase the longer their commute to work will be. If you don't have a limited budget, however, you don't have to make a trade. You can have your single family detached home and still be within a few minutes' commute to downtown. With Toronto's high population density, there are only a few central Toronto neighborhoods where you can find houses that have not been turned into apartments. They include Moore Park, Rosedale, Lawrence Park, Cabbagetown, and the Annex. If you want to buy into any one of these, we recommend that you get a real estate agent's help.

Each of Toronto's neighborhoods has a unique feel to it which is influenced by its history, the type of architecture prevalent in the area, and the people who now make their homes there. A Cabbagetown, Toronto real estate search will reveal that many of the homes in this area are brick row houses formerly owned by blue collar Irish immigrant workers in the early days of industrialized Toronto while the homes in the Annex tend to be large, stately Victorians once owned (and still owned) by college professors who work at the nearby University of Toronto as well as famous Canadian artists and television personalities.

If you want to live in these areas without renting, you will have to have a very large budget indeed. A two storey house in Cabbagetown will cost at least $650,000 while the homes in more upscale neighborhoods like Forest Hill, High Park, Lawrence Park, Moore Park, and the Annex are even more expensive. The average price for two storey homes in Moore Park is the highest in Toronto at $1,100,000. Lawrence Park is a close second at $1,000,000 and Forest Hill comes it at an average of $959,000. Compared to these other areas, the Annex has a comparatively reasonable $880,000 average. Keep in mind, though, that many of the homes in these areas are not small. They were designed as mansions for the rich and to accommodate guests and servants they may have four, five, even six or more bedrooms with costs to match.

Realtors in Toronto typically work for commission, which means they take about 5% of the sale price of the home to be shared among both the selling and the buying agent. If you're buying a multi-million dollar home in a neighborhood like Rosedale, however, you could end up paying your realtor $50,000 or more to do the same amount of work they would be doing to help a buyer find a cheaper home, so you may want to pre-negotiate the realtor's fees before you sign a contract with them.