Toronto Condo Market is Maturing, Catching Reno Fever
Stephen Dupuis, president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) says we're already into a renovation boom in the Toronto condo market. He says that "just like new subdivisions, there comes a point about 20 years after original occupancy when condominium suites need repairing or remodeling".
He's referring to the condos built in Toronto in the boom years of the late 1980's. Dupuis believes that most of these renovations are driven by condo owners upgrading and staging to sell for a better price. ( I seldom recommend major renovations to a condo-seller because you never know if the next owner will value your style choices. )
It used to be 'Newer is Better'. Now we're seeing 'Renovators Dream'
I think there's another reason behind the renovation boom in the Toronto condo market. I find more and more Toronto condo buyers are shopping with the intention of renovating their units. A tired, shabby unit will sell for less money. That means a Buyer can get a better location, or a better building, for a lower price. Of course they'll still have to spend money on upgrades. But just like houses, they'll put their personal stamp on their new digs, and they'll often see a profit from the work they do. The Toronto condo market - for renovators - has come of age!
And it's not just first time buyers. Another part of the Toronto condo renovation boom is the condo owner who sees his suite as a permanent residence and not just a stepping stone to a house. Empty nesters have the money and a taste for the finer finishes in their units. They're not moving, so - out with the old - and in with the new.
Before you start, you should know that Condo Renovations are More Complicated
For bigger projects, like redoing the floors, there are condo rules restricting what kind of product you can use and how it must be installed. Some condo boards require that you furnish job spec's to property management before you proceed, file a copy of the tradesman's insurance policy with them, or choose from a list of approved tradesmen.
And it's more expensive
For the average tradesman, the paperwork is an added hassle. But there are also restrictions on what hours they can work, what elevator they can use and where they can park. And can you imagine the cost of running down to the truck (from the 20th floor) for an extra screwdriver? As contractors build in the cost of compliance, the cost of the job rises with it. At the same time, many of the smaller (cheaper) contractors simply turn down condo work because of the complexity.
So who's doing the work?
Dupuis reports that more of his renovation contractors are adapting and finding a niche in the Toronto condo market. As members of BILD they have to commit to the RenoMark Code of Conduct; offer a detailed, written scope of work, warranty their work for a minimum of two years, carry a minimum $2 million in liability insurance, and obtain all required licenses and permits.
I'm not plugging BILD or their contractors, (I don't know much about them) but when you're renovating a bathroom on the 20th floor, you can't afford to have an uninsured rookie doing the work. ANY mistake in a condo can have catastrophic consequences - and you don't want to be the one they blame! So when you do renovate, be sure you choose a contractor that has condo-specific experience.
And if you've had any experience with Toronto condo renovations, or with BILD, or the RenoMark program, good or bad, I'd love to hear about it. Please leave a comment below or contact me directly.
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