Welcome to the March 2018 Home of the Month! This feature provides a snapshot of what Urbaneer's Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
This post is about climbing the property ladder into a centrally-located downtown Toronto stacked townhouse, the challenges of Kitec Plumbing, and sleuthing for family-friendly accommodations for less than $600,000.
Our buyers, who had recently sold their 1bed Liberty Village condominium, were ready to climb the property ladder and secure a residence where they could accommodate their future family. Like many Buyers operating within a strict budget, they were reconciling whether they move to the suburbs where they could secure a larger space but increase their commute time, or if they should buy something more central where they could be closer to work and, therefore, have more time to engage their family.
Here's our post exploring What Are The Real Financial, Emotional And Health Costs Of Commuting? and our blog - written expressly for these Buyers and featured in our monthly Dear Urbaneer advice column called Should We Raise Our Kid In A Condo?.
The requirements for our Buyers were, ideally, a 2bed 2bath condo with parking that was preferrably a townhouse rather than a one-level condominium - with some outdoor space - as central to downtown as possible for a cost up to $600,000.
Given the lack of product in this price range, our Buyers did look at some one level condominiums in high-rises reluctantly, but at the end of the day they felt it would be better to secure a stacked towne. However, the options are limited to a handful of locations if your budget is under $650,000. On the central west side there are the enclave of townhouses near Davenport and Lansdowne, and some recent builds in Wallace Emerson. There are older stacked townhouses located near Queen and Bathurst on Carr, King and Shaw along Sudbury, at King and Strachan (on Douro and Canniff), a collection in Liberty Village, and more recent builds further west at King and Dufferin. There are some opportunities on Stadium Road near Lake Shore and Bathurst, plus the stacked townhouses on The Queensway. Head's up, the quality of some of these developments is dubious at best, so I encourage you do your homework before securing your purchase, especially as one developer who recently went bankrupt is responsibile for a number of these.
On the central east side there are the stacked townhouses on Jarvis Street near Carlton, older builds on Pembroke Street near Jarvis and Dundas, a newer group in Riverside near Dundas and Broadview, and a handful of small complexes further east along Queen Street East, Coxwell Avenue and The Danforth (Bastedo + Main). However, if your budget is over $650,000 there are more options, including developments midtown near Yonge and Eglinton (you might find a handful under or at 650k on Lillian).
During this search we did view units which were on the first level - which often means partly below grade - which I recommended we forgo. Why? Because they're constructed slab-on-grade which often means the floors get icy cold in the winter. Also, they tend to be light challenged. Yes, they're more affordable so you can either get more space for your dollar or secure something for a lower price point, but they do feel a bit 'basement-y'. Ultimately I think the stacked townhouses on the upper levels with roof terraces are better buys (even if you're compromising on space), and are more likely to escalate in value as higher densities become the norm in the central city. After all, stacked townhouses - while a popular option in the 1990s and 00's - are less likely to be built today which makes them an increasingly rare commodity. We certainly found this in our search.
One mitigating factor is that many of these developments were built using Kitec plumbing. Used between 1995 and 2007, Kitec Plumbing was used mostly as piping for drinking water, and baseboard water systems. The appeal of Kitec piping initially was that it was very resistant to corrosion, and offered a good alternative to copper piping. However, it was determined that not only does Kitec corrode, it does so at an accelerated rate. Around 2005 Kitec was pulled from the market and is no longer manufactured. Buildings fitted with this piping will likely be subject to failure long before it should, based on its age. The rapid deterioration of these pipes as well means that pipes may not just leak - but explode - meaning that damage could be widespread (and expensive). Bottom line - if you own a home with Kitec plumbing, you can expect to have to replace it. Here's an Urbaneer.com post which offers more information called Is Kitec Plumbing Draining Your Pocketbook?.
Such was the case with this listing which came to market on The Queensway. When we first viewed the suite it was too early to act on a purchase because the Buyers were still getting educated on the market. However, they quickly realized the pickings were slim and it best reflected their wishes, wants and needs. The unit quickly sold conditionally but, after a few days the listing realtor contacted me to let us know the sale had collapsed because the property contained Kitec Plumbing. The Seller was willing to replace it at his own expense, which was at a cost near $10,000. Our buyer - an architect - was familiar with building systems and construction, and felt as long as he could vet the firm and inspect the work, he was willing to proceed with the purchase. Here is the quote so you - dear reader - can better understand the specifics of work required.
To secure the property, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale stipulated the following. which was executed to the Buyers' satisfaction before closing:
"The Seller agrees to engage a licensed master plumber to remove and replace the existing kitec plumbing per the attached quote in advance of the revised completion date and replace the plumbing trap below the kitchen sink at his own expense. All parties acknowledge the Seller may use an alternate licensed plumber to undergo the equivalent work depending on scheduling availability and costs.
Further to the foregoing, the Buyer and Seller agree that the tradespeople or tradesperson contracted to perform this remediation shall be directed to re-route the water lines down the partition wall that separates the hot water closet from the laundry closet and cut and cap the existing lines in the exterior wall or ensure that the thickness of the existing spray foam insulation as well as the continuity of the vapour barrier in the exterior wall are maintained. The parties agree that workmanship and services rendered shall be at the level of accepted industry standards. Incomplete or shoddy workmanship will require re-attendance at the Seller's own expense.
The Seller will complete these repairs not later than Ten (10) business days prior to the revised completion date of this agreement at his own expense. All parties acknowledge there will be an industry standard warranty transferred to buyer upon completion of work. Following remediation, the Seller agrees to have the Buyers come to the property to view the remediation in advance of fixing/patching the access holes. All parties acknowledge this viewing will not constitute one of the 'purchaser visits' referenced in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. All parties agree any access holes made in the laundry closet and water heater closet will be closed up with flat panel covers on or before the completion date at the Seller's expense. Any access holes required in exposed drywall wall and ceiling surfaces will be refinished with existing patches of drywall, mudded/sanded and painted on or before completion at the Seller's own expense. The Buyer acknowledges there may be some slight discolouration in the ceiling due to new white paint being put on an aged ceiling paint."
Located in 'Windermere By The Lake", this Cresford Developments project includes stacked townhomes and a 28 storey tower on the east side of The Queensway. Completed in 2006, here's some low quality snaps from MLS of the 2bed 2bath stacked townhouse with roof top terrace which faced The Queensway and Grenadier Pond:
Listed for $592,800, our Buyers secured this for $583,000. Congrats to our lovely couple, who were brave enough to navigate the uncertainty of the plumbing remediation. Since securing this dwelling, a near similar unit sold for $22,000 more with Kitec Plumbing in place.
Serving first, second and multi-time buyers, young families, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their investment property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients strategically secure the best real estate on offer, while ensuring their purchase best serves their practical needs and their dream of 'Home'. We identify a property's best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of the future target market while meeting your own wishes, wants and desires.
If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of someone Celebrating Twenty-Five Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor who subscribes to a pressure-free approach - and a specialty in unique urban homes - please know my team and I are here to help!
Steven Fudge & The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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