Working day in and day out in real estate has its positives and negatives.  Often these come as the flip side of the same experience.  Here’s what I mean.

  1. I get to meet many new and interesting people as I help clients buy and sell properties and any phone call could be from a client or potential client. The bad bit of that is that unless I’m in a meeting I don’t typically screen my calls.  This makes me very popular with telemarketers, the CRA and anyone else who you probably wouldn’t answer when they call.

  1. With each new client, I have the opportunity to expand my understanding and experience in the particular neighbourhood or housing type they are focused upon. Because I go where my clients are focused, this means I need to step up each time and make sure I’m knowledgeable about the area by researching and previewing properties beforehand.  It can be disconcerting to new people I meet when they mention where they live and I reference the school down the street and how it’s a four minute drive to the GO station.  Just a bit creepy when I don’t live anywhere near there!
  1. I see so many properties that I’ve got a pretty accurate sense of typical layouts, normal problems with certain housing types and what to look for in a quality renovation. Unfortunately, this sometimes means I act overly familiar in other people’s homes.  I went to visit a friend recently and they found me in the basement checking to see if the furnace was near the end of its useful life and criticizing their bathroom tiles.  I was asked to leave.

Earlier this week while working with a client, I encountered something that is definitely a positive.

She is searching for a condo in North York and we visited a building near Yonge and Sheppard that had some units for sale I thought she might like.

It was in a twelve year old building I hadn’t been to before but I loved the location.  Tucked away a little bit but super close to the TTC subway stop.

The units were reasonably priced and from the pictures looked a little dated, some with parquet floors and older appliances.  Good sizes and layouts though and cosmetic updates in condos can work wonders, as long as you make sure the condo corporation approves the work you do beforehand!

Prices ranged from $275K to $630K, with maintenance fees from $230 to $685 per month.  Condos for sale are only required to list approximate square footage (silly I know), so we can’t get an exact figure for maintenance fees per square foot, but it averages between $0.63 to $0.83 per square foot, which is reasonable.

The reason the building is worth mentioning is because they are in the final stages of renovations to the common areas.

This is huge.

I always advise clients that when looking at older buildings the pluses (stable condo boards and maintenance fees, larger size than new units, better layouts) need to be balanced against the negatives (dated common areas, worn or heavily used carpets, flooring, paint jobs, units that need cosmetic renovations).

I love this building as an investment option because it is currently in what I’ll call the opportunity zone, where investors can buy soon and realize a nice bump in value over the next year.  This is because:

  • The renovations to the common areas aren’t quite done (incomplete paint on some floors, carpet covered with plastic wrap still in some places) but are substantially finished so within a month or two the common areas will all look fresh and updated. They did a good job with it as well, with similar finishes to new buildings, like dark glossy brown paint on doors, light grey paint, faux tile near elevators, stainless steel door fixtures, updated light fixtures and so forth.
  • Some units have been renovated but some still need some cosmetic work. All but the bachelor units have balconies of a decent size and there is a mix of units with and without parking, which can mean a lower purchase price but not much of a drop in rental rates due to the subway proximity.
  • A new “sister” building beside shares the lobby which means you have the prestige and appeal of a new building in the lobby without the cost of a brand new lobby being paid for by the older building on its own.

Please get in touch if you have been considering an investment property and like the sound of this building and want to hear more details.  If you aren’t in a position to buy an investment property right now, but know friends or colleagues who are interested, please share this post with them by using one of the options at the bottom of it.  A year from now they will buy you dinner as a thank you!

If investment properties appeal but you aren’t sure if you’d qualify, let me introduce you to the head of the mortgage brokerage I work with so that he can see if it makes sense for you now.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this opportunity and don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to talk about it further.  I’d love to be responsible for what comes next.





The success of a room depends to a great extent on the position of the doors.  If the doors create a pattern of movement which destroys the places in the room, the room will never allow people to be comfortable.

When I go through condos with clients, one of the biggest reasons we decide to not put in an offer is the layout of the unit.  In so many cases, the position of doors makes it impossible for good furniture placement.  When we need to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out where a couch could go, the developer of the building made some very poor layout choices.  I find this is most prevalent in new buildings, where the developers have used a checklist of features but don’t consider the overall livability of the units.