It was the summer of 1999 and so many exciting things were happening; I had just finished College, signed a lease for my first Toronto apartment, the Millenium was coming and I bought my first condo. Now that I think of it, I signed the lease for my first apartment and signed for my first condo on the very same day. I was overwhelmed and very excited.
My first condo was a pre-construction condo townhouse at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton, the neighbourhood was a little sketchy but there was a buzz about potential development in the area, and the idea of more condos was starting to build traction in Toronto. My dad had read an ad earlier that day in the Toronto Star about ‘The Central’ condos at 415 Jarvis so he and my mother decided to drive into the city from Mississauga to see the showroom.
I had no idea that they were even looking at condos so I was surprised when, that afternoon at work, I got a call from my mother saying - “April, we have put a deposit on a condo for you and need you to come to 415 Jarvis St. after to work and sign the paperwork” - WHAT??? First of all, I was very green, I was young and the idea of owning a condo had never crossed my mind, I was just excited to have signed a lease for a rental. I made my way down to the showroom and met my parents, they informed me they had leant me a $6000 (5%) deposit on a two bedroom, one bathroom, 680 sq.ft. condo that had an asking of price of $130,000 - $130,000 how would I ever pay that off? The builders agent went through all of the paperwork with me and explained the contract and that the complex had an expected completion date of two years. My head was spinning with questions - How would I pay the mortgage? Would I even qualify for a mortgage on my salary of $21,000 per year? How do Interest Rates work? How do I find a lawyer? My parents did their best to explain everything to me but this was their first time as well buying a condo as they have always owned freehold properties. The basic facts came down to this; I had two years to get a better job or else I wouldn’t qualify for my mortgage (BTW the Interest Rate I ended paying in 2002 was 5.75%) and I had to get myself organized.
Two years passed quickly and luckily I was able to get a better job and qualify for the mortgage. I had a lot of fun planning though at times I overwhelmed with the closing arrangements, finding a good lawyer, etc… I didn’t know any Toronto Realtors at the time and was not sure where to turn for advice. I moved into the condo and was excited to have a place that really was my own, the best part was that it was a two bedroom and I was able to get a roommate to help subsidize my monthly mortgage payment.
I am very grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me and for them to have the insight to invest in a condo. I sold it six years later and more than doubled my equity which allowed me to buy my first house. As a Toronto Realtor now, I also appreciate what an agent can bring to the table when someone is buying pre-construction. I made a few mistakes the first time and I was able to not repeat them again when I decided to buy an investment pre-construction condo a few years ago. Buying pre-construction is never black and white, things will vary with each Builder and Property, so never underestimate the value of using a Toronto Realtor to assist you in your purchase.
Written by April Williams
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