Do You Think I Could Fit A Turkey In There?



Back in 2012, I wrote about the frustrating fact that builders were making kitchens smaller and less functional than they'd been in the past (read that blog post here). I noted the lack of counter & cupboard space, and I illustrated the difficulty of trying to place a dining room table in a layout where there simply wasn’t enough room for one.

Here we are, four years later, and the trend is still going strong! Prep space and storage are still tight, and European-sized appliances have become the norm.

This becomes quite an issue when I’m working with a buyer who tells me they want to be in a new condo and have a “chef’s kitchen” with all the bells-and-whistles.

Unfortunately, these two features rarely go hand-in-hand. Not unless you’re spending the big bucks!

Great kitchens are oftenonly found in larger condos now (mirroring the trend towards only making parking available to purchasers of larger units).

What about those buyers who are in the market for something smaller though? A one-bedroom + den in the 650 - 700 sq ft range, for example?

It just so happens I’m working with a buyer right now who’s shopping in that range. She has a healthy budget, she wants to be in a newer building, and she wants a kitchen that’ll allow her to her enjoy her love of cooking.

Sounds totally reasonable, right?

Unfortunately not. The kitchens we’re seeing are falling short of what she wants.

I still remember the look of disappointment on her face when she saw her first Miele 24” oven.

”Do you think I could fit a turkey in there?”

That’s one of the questions I hear most often when a buyer sees one of these tiny appliances for the first time.

“I want to be able to have family or friends over for dinner, and cook a decent meal.”

While you can actually roast a (small) turkey in a 24” oven, there isn’t room for much else! And forget about heating multiple dishes at once (which can make cooking for a bunch of dinner guests rather difficult).

Granted, this isn’t an issue for every buyer. I know plenty of people who don’t cook much, and could care less about counter space or the size of their appliances.

For the ones that do care though, it’s frustrating.

The fact is, in today’s Toronto condo market, buyers have to make some concessions if they want to be in a new building. And the size of the kitchen is often one of those concessions.

Like I said in that 2012 blog post mentioned above, condo kitchens ain’t what they used to be.

If you're thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.

Would You Pay $1 Million Dollars For A Home... With No Parking?

Would You Pay $1 Million Dollars For A Home... With No Parking? Photo "For a million bucks, we want a parking spot."

Those were the exact words my clients used.

Let's back up...

Last year I was working with some buyers who were looking to purchase a home in the Bloor West/High Park area.

A few weeks into our search a gorgeous house popped-up for sale.

It seemed to have everything these guys were looking for; it was fully detached, located on a great street, had a finished basement with remarkably high ceilings, an impressive master suite, a huge backyard...

It was missing one VERY important feature though... parking!

We explored the possibility of adding front-pad parking, but there was a massive tree in the yard that would've made it difficult (if not impossible).

And if it really was possible, wouldn't the sellers have added a parking spot during their time in the house?

There were just too many unknowns and the prospect of not having parking was a deal-breaker for my clients.

I don't blame them.

I told them flat out, "Even if you're okay with not having parking right now, it'll certainly affect the resale-abilty and hurt you when the time comes to sell."

Sure enough, the house sat on the market for 2 1/2 months and sold for almost $60,000 under the list price.

I guarantee you the lack of parking was to blame.

That's not to say there aren't buyers out there willing to spend a million bucks on a home without parking.

Last year in the Toronto area (north to Steeles, west to the 427, east to Scarborough) there were 78 sales above $1 million dollars with no parking.

Clearly, some buyers are okay with it.

Not many though.

For the 78 houses that sold without, there were 2884 house that sold with parking.

That's a 3% vs 97% split.

Thankfully, with odds like that you'll probably never be in the position my clients were last year... having to pass on an amazing million dollar home because it didn't have parking.


If you’re thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.

WTF? $20,000 For A Locker!

WTF? $20,000 For A Locker! Photo Depending on the building's location, a condo locker typically sells for $3,500 - $5,000 on the resale market.

A locker might fetch more if it's unique in some way.

Maybe it's larger than average.

Or maybe it's actually a separate room, thereby offering the owner more space and added privacy.

Most lockers aren't separate rooms though.

Most are nothing more than see-through "cages" (approx 3ft wide x 6ft high x 6ft deep) and sit in an open room, side-by-side with everyone else's locker.

Well, one of these "cages" is for sale on MLS right now... listed at $15,000.

WTF? $20,000 For A Locker! Photo


(I did a spit take when I first saw the listing and covered my laptop in Tahiti Treat. You guys remember Tahiti Treat?).

That's not all though...

$15,000 is actually the reduced price.

They had it on initially at $20,000!

I wonder how much these guys would be looking to sell their parking space for...


If you’re thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.

Parking (Part III): "What Are The Different Types?"

What Are The Different Types Of Parking? Photo      In part one of this series on parking I addressed the question, “What’s it worth?”  In part two, I addressed the question, “Should I purchase a property that doesn’t have parking?”  In this third part, I’d like to identify some of the different types of parking.


Owned:  In a condo/loft, parking is generally either owned or exclusive use.  If the space is owned, it’s registered on Title (either within the unit description or as a separate piece of property) and can usually be bought and sold apart from the unit, subject to certain restrictions. 

Exclusive Use:  If the space is exclusive use, the condo corporation owns the space but grants the unit owner the exclusive right to use.  The unit owner has less rights here than if the spaced were owned, as the space cannot be severed and sold as a separate piece of property.

Leasehold:  There are some buildings in the city where the parking spaces are retained by the condo corporation and are leased out to the unit owners.  For example, I recently helped some clients purchase a condo at 77 Maitland Pl (“Celebrity Place”).  The parking spaces here are not owned, but all unit owners have the option of leasing one, at a cost of approx $80.00/month.  I helped another couple purchase a condo at 250/260/270 Queens Quay (“Harbour Point”).  Parking here is leasehold as well (at a cost of approx $110.00/month), however not every unit owner has the option of leasing a space.  Basically, units either have a leasehold space attached to them or they don’t.  As a result, the units that have an attached leasehold space are valued higher than the ones that don't.


Private Driveway/Garage:  For those living in a house the most sought after type of parking is private driveway/garage.  It offers the highest level of convenience and generally comes with the fewest encumbrances or restrictions.

Front Pad:  This is essentially a compromised version of driveway parking.  Access still comes from the street, but the usable space is often much less (usually just enough for one car) and it occupies what would otherwise be part of the front yard.  As a result, there tends to be less curb appeal and a more cramped feel than driveway parking.  Furthermore, the legality of a front pad parking space can come into question and should be verified prior to making an offer-to-purchase.

Rear Parking Via Laneway:  Here, owners access the rear of their property from a common laneway that runs along the rear of the neighbouring properties as well.  The parking space may be located in a garage at the rear of the property or on a rear parking pad. 

If you're thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.

Parking (Part II): "Should I Purchase A Property That Doesn't Have It?"

Should I Purchase A Property That Doesn't Have Parking? Photo      The simple answer is...  No, not if you have the option of purchasing a property that does have parking.  Of course not everyone is going to have this option and as such purchasing without parking may be the only way to go. 

“What circumstances would result in a buyer not having the option to purchase with parking?”  Well, with a house there simply may not be any parking at all, other than street permit parking.  There are a number of great, sought-after downtown neighbourhoods where owners have no other choice but to park on the street. 

As for condos/lofts, budget may be a factor.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post on parking, let's say a suite comes on the market without parking at $250,000.  The same suite may come on the market with parking at $275,000-$280,000.  If I’m working with a buyer client whose budget maxes out at $250,000, then clearly they’re only in the market for the suite without parking.

“Yes, but this buyer owns a car and needs a space to park it!”   Fair enough.  There’s still the possibility of purchasing the suite at $250,000 without parking and renting out a space from another owner in the building at approx $125-$150/month (if there’s a space available for rent).

Another thing to consider is that some new developments aren’t even allowing certain purchasers the option of obtaining a parking space, regardless of whether or not their budget allows for the extra $$$.  The restriction here has to do with the size of the suite - only those buying a two bedroom or two bedroom plus den suite have the option of purchasing a parking space.  Those who are merely purchasing a bachelor, one bedroom, or one bedroom plus den suite have to go without.

“What about the resale-ability of a property without parking?”  It's true that there are a number of buyers who will only consider properties that have parking.  It's on their short-list of deal-breaker must-haves and there's just no way around it.  This is true more so if we're talking houses.  However there’s still a significant market out there for properties without parking, especially with condos/lofts.   Essentially, these are the buyers with smaller budgets or maybe they don't have a car, don’t need parking, and are happy to spend $25,000-$30,000 less than someone who does.  I’ve worked with a number of buyers who don’t own a car and rely solely on TTC or they work in the downtown core and are close enough to walk.

Having said that, there’s arguably a greater market of buyers who are able to come up with the extra $$$ and purchase with parking.  And appealing to a larger market will certainly help you when the time comes to resell.  This is true more so if you’re selling in a “soft” market.  If you’re selling in a hot seller’s market, like the one we’re in now, then chances are you won’t have a hard time selling either way.

As for the monthly cost-to-carry, renting a parking space is generally comparable to owning one since the monthly mortgage payment on $25,000-$30,000 is approx $125-$175 (depending on your interest rate of course).  Keep in mind though that you also need to factor in any monthly maintenance fees associated with the space.

In Part III of “Parking” we’ll take a look at the different types of parking.  Stay Tuned.

If you're thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.

Parking (Part I): "What's It Worth?"

Parking: What's It Worth? Photo      Anyone with a car in this great city of ours knows that having a convenient, reliable space to park it is a coveted commodity.  If you live in a house, then private driveway or garage parking is king.  Mutual drive (if it's wide enough) and rear/front pad parking follow, with street permit parking rounding out the most common options. 

I've even seen people lease a driveway space from a neighbour to avoid the unpredictability of how close (or far) from the house an available street parking space will be on any given day.

What about in a condo/loft?  Having an indoor garage space is best (some would argue the closer to the elevator the better).  An outdoor surface space still does the trick, although less desirable considering that one has to deal with the elements. 

How much is parking worth though? 

Well, for a house it depends on the neighbourhood, availability of street parking if there's not sufficient driveway/garage/pad parking, etc...  For a condo the value is a bit more quantifiable.  In the downtown core the typical valuation of a parking space on the resale market is in the $20,000 - $30,000 range, although spaces can be valued lower and higher than this depending on the area, availability etc.  Pre-construction developments are generally charging $30,000 - $35,000 and even as high as $40,000+ in some of the newer luxury buildings. 

Aside from the dollar amount though, there's also an increase in the "resale-ability" of a condo if it includes parking.  For example, let’s say a 550 sq ft one-bedroom condo WITHOUT parking comes on the market and we value it at $250,000.  We might value the same suite at $270,000 - $280,000 if it were to include a parking space.  However, while there is certainly a market for the suite without parking, there's arguably an even greater market for it with parking.  This translates into a greater number of showings when the condo goes on the market, a larger pool of potential buyers, and a final sale price that is at the higher end of the $20,000 - $30,000 margin mentioned above.  This is true more so if you’re selling in a “balanced” market.  If you’re selling in a hot seller’s market, like the one we’re in now, then chances are you won’t have a hard time selling either way.  And the sale price margin might actually be narrower than $20,000 - $30,000 as buyers are fighting to get into the market and paying top dollar for whatever inventory is out there.

In Part II of "Parking" I'll address the question, "Should I purchase a property that doesn't include parking?"  Stay tuned.

If you're thinking of making a move and would like to know how I can help, feel free to contact me for more info.