Ratehub.ca Recommends: Investing in Condominiums by Brian Persaud

Alyssa Furtado
by Alyssa Furtado December 7, 2011 / 18 Comments

If you’re thinking about buying a property in a metropolitan area such as Toronto or Vancouver, there’s a good chance you are considering a condo. Condos are, after all, a (mostly) affordable entry point to homeownership as well as an attractive investment opportunity to even seasoned investors.

Most condos are located centrally to services and public transit, boast more amenities than you have time to use, and require limited maintenance. Given the size of most units, it would seem hard to ‘screw up’ your selection within your tastes and preferences.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Condos are not homogenous goods with consistent quality and aesthetic specifications, and you have to measure them against some sort of framework.

Brian Persaud, author

This is where author and real estate authority Brian Persaud saw an absence in good narrative on the subject. Taking you through identifying the right market conditions to the final unit inspection, Brian’s Investing in Condominiums:  Strategies, Tips and Expert Advice for the Canadian Real Estate Investor stands alone as a complete guide.

Through a series of guidelines, case studies and expert ‘Tales from the Trenches’, you gain the insight to find the best unit in the best building in the right location at the right time.

Specific and comprehensive, no detail is overlooked: Brian even translates the legal jargon of common builder clauses to language all readers can follow, and provide numerical examples to some of the more complex investment decisions.

Each new concept is followed by a complete checklist which buyers can reference at every stage of the buying process.

As a mortgage site, of particular interest to Ratehub.ca was the comprehensive outline of the condo financing process, to which there is limited information to be found anywhere – online or in print.

Given the media speculation surrounding the Vancouver and Toronto condo markets, this book could not have been made available at a more timely moment. We hope you will pick up a copy if you’re considering buying a condo in the near future.

Want a copy of your own? WIN A SIGNED BOOK through Ratehub.ca!

We love this book so much we are giving away a copy to our loyal readers! Further to this, the author has agreed to answer your pressing condo questions. TO ENTER the giveaway, simply post a condo question in the comments section below and Brian will answer it and direct you to the chapter in his book covering the subject. Yes, we have that much faith all your questions can be answered with this book!

Good luck!

categories: Contests
  • kl

    Q: Is it wise for first-time home buyer to purchase a pre-construction condo?

    • This may require a blog post. It all depends on what you want. As a first time buyer, I’m assuming cash-flow and down-payment money is tight. On that assumption, one must realize that new condos are much more expensive than resale.

      So while you get the benefit of a forced savings plan to get to a 20% down-payment and you get more appreciation in prices, the down side they are much more expensive and smaller.

      For resale condo, you can get in with a lower down-payment, the units are larger, but the appreciation is a lot lower.

      And that’s just a economics level. Check out the first chapter of my book for all the benefits of new construction

  • Jonathan

    Is it worth paying significantly more in maintenance fees if you are able to get the unit at an equally significantly reduced purchase price?

    • Well the market will do this anyway. Lenders take into account how much maint fees you pay and this will count against your income when qualifying for a mortgage. The higher the maint fees, the less mortgage you will get; therefore, fewer buyers will purchase the unit at high prices. Law of supply and demand states that the price must go down for the condo to make sense for someone comparing your condo with high fees over an other

  • If you’re buying a condo for investment purchases what characteristics should you look for to ensure renters / future purchasers will be interested?

    • Great question. There is so much choice out there nowadays. Generally, access to Transit and neighborhoods that are highly walkable are key for renters. I talk about this at length in the early chapters in my book…

      As an aside, there is so much variability within a building itself in terms of views and height. I have found that there is not much difference in rent between high floor units and low floor units…so paying that extra floor premium as you go higher must be carefully evaluated.

  • What will the average price per square foot be in the Toronto condo market in 2015 and beyond? Do you think we can justify New York City prices? How do we keep the maintenance fee’s from getting out of control and too pricey?

    • Great question Drew. I’m always wondering if there is still room for Toronto prices per square foot to increase, as we are still much lower than NYC, and SanFran.

    • 3 Questions in one

      What will the average price per square foot be in the Toronto condo market in 2015 and beyond?

      I think we will see some real divergence in prices. Areas that are walkable, vibrant and close to transit will go up faster than areas that will not. What the price per square foot will be depends on so many factors…this questions is like who do you think will win the stanley cup in 2015. I can say that some areas will continue to rise (especially in the downtown core)

      Do you think we can justify New York City prices?
      With incomes of the top tier Torontonians vs the top tier new yorkers. I would say no

      How do we keep the maintenance fee’s from getting out of control and too pricey?

      You need to get active on your condo board and work with your property manager to determine areas that your board will put the budget to. I’ve seen a board reduce expenses by 10% by getting rid of the frills that the developer added (eg Coffee in the lobby and a rock climbing wall) and resisting the urges of some residents to add more services (ie free weights in the gym)

  • Gary Young

    Some of the newer condos have heat exchangers, while old apartment/condos have baseboard heaters. Are they the same thing? Thanks.

    • no, very few new condo buildings use baseboards. Most use a fan coil unit to that forces air that comes from the buildings heating and cooling system

  • Nic

    What is considered a good floor plan and a bad floor plan (besides from bowling alley-type floorplans)?

    • I wrote so much on what is a good floorplan in my book. Basically a good floorplan is one that works best for you. Generally, I’m not big on sliding doors, interior bedrooms without windows, large curves or columns.

  • Brennan

    Brian, are you concerned at all about all the negative press glass wall condos have been receiving? Will it affect the market?

  • All great questions. Can’t wait to see the winner

  • Irfan


    I’m a relatively young guy looking to start investing in the condo market. I’ll be graduating university in April and I’ve already secured a full time position. I’m thinking of investing in condos as I think the ROI is higher and safer. Would you have any advice for me in terms of strategy? I would be going into this with my parents.

  • kl

    Congratulations to Drew on winning a copy of Brian’s book! We will be sending you a copy shortly.

    Thank you to everyone who participated and happy investing!