Buying a New Condo: CAUTION

My clients have inquired about Uptown Markham, a low and high rise condominium project in Markham by Times Group. While previous performance is not reflective of future, Times Group also had a project in downtown Toronto (C8 TREB district) called the 500 Condos and Lofts

If one was to take that project as any indication, I am not sure how the Uptown Markham (http://www.uptownmarkham.com) will deliver.

Long Occupancy Period

The 500 Condos and Lofts project by Times Group had an occupancy of over 6 months in some cases. For a 2 bedroom new condo buyer, that meant over $8,400 for 6 months in occupancy fee. (My client had a number close to $11,000 in occupancy fee and the unit was located close to the middle of the building). A high amount of occupancy fee may be indicative of a developer’s inclination to hand over the units to buyers as soon as the building is complete. Compare this to Minto Midtown project and Yonge and Eglinton few years ago. My client was on the 9th floor of a 54 storey building and had an occupancy period of only 2 months. That shows that the builder completed the building as much as possible before handing over the units to buyers – Impressive. The idea of the occupancy fee shouldn’t be to create a revenue stream for the developer while the project is far from completion. This negatively impacts the profits on units bought for investment in the building. The buyers who purchased to live in the building have to put up with dust, noise and construction crews using the same elevators for a longer period of time.

Construction Quality

I make it a point to accompany all my clients on their Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) for the condo unit, unless of course they choose to do it on their own. My formal education and degree in Architecture empowers me to spot defects that may not be obvious otherwise. However in this one specific unit, my education wasn’t required to see a cracked glass installed in the kitchen cabinet, badly applied silicone around the sink and bathtubs in the bathrooms and broken corner of a fridge to name a few. Most of these defects were fixed however the fridge corner still wasn’t fixed until the publishing of this article.

For the benefit of purchasers, I certainly hope that these issues are not repeated in the upcoming projects.

There are other things one should watch out for when purchasing a new condominium apartment. Starting right from the floor plan, check the size of the rooms in actual measurements, not based on the furniture placement. The rooms can seem bigger as the furniture shown sometimes is “condo-sized”. It is also important to check what, if anything may be built next door. The size and type of future construction can impact the value of the building you are considering to buy in. It used to be that you only had to watch out for empty lots. With the land value at a premium, even a 10 to 12 storey building can be knocked down to make way for a larger tower. And the last item, only for the purposes of this article, is the orientation of the unit. The direction and exposure of the unit can impact the amount of sun your unit will get.

Consider these factors and hopefully your new condo investment will yield more return that you would have expected.

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Jagdeep Singh

Jagdeep Singh

Real Estate Broker
CENTURY 21 Heritage Group Ltd., Brokerage*
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