I’m often asked: “Why do I need a realtor?”
It’s a fair question, especially in today's real estate climate, where an overabundance of real estate, interior design, and home renovation television shows have created what I like to call "The 'HGTV' Effect"; these attractively packaged, story-driven programs often give viewers a skewed and heavily edited impression of the buying and selling process. I would like to personally thank Jonathan Scott of the Property Brothers for making it look so effortless – it must be nice to be able to sell a home that has already been sold to the buyers in question!
I could give you a big speech about the fiduciary obligations, the many types of representation, privacy laws, etc., that realtors are extensively trained to navigate, but that'd be boring; I would rather share with you a story about a client that was thrilled they chose to work with a seasoned realtor!
I recently had a lease client who fell in love with a suite in a 'new build' condo townhouse. The unit was gorgeous, located in an amenity-laden, desirable neighbourhood, and, most importantly, had parking located just steps outside the front door! It was perfect for my client, who was thrilled when her offer was accepted and she excitedly began preparing to move in.
The process was relatively smooth as far as rentals go, so imagine my surprise when I received a frantic email from my client the day after her occupancy began. She informed me that she had contacted the property manager for clarification regarding the specific location of her parking spot. Which of the two spots on the parking pad was hers and whose car was occupying one of them? What side was reserved for her car? These seemed like simple questions - and she expected simple answers - but the property manager replied that she was instead going to be given a parking spot in the neighbouring condo’s underground garage.
This could have quickly become a nightmare for both my client and myself. After all, the location of the parking spot was a big selling feature of this unit, and what the landlord was proposing could have negatively affected my client's quality of life in her new home. Luckily, I had taken the time and care to do my job thoroughly; a quick review of her lease (signed and accepted by the landlord) confirmed that I had included the following clause:
“…includes exclusive use of one parking spot located on the rear parking pad of [property address]...”
This meant that my client and her parking spot were irrefutably protected by my lease. It wasn’t luck - it was me doing my due diligence as a real estate professional.
I’m very happy to report that, after bringing this information forward, the situation was easily rectified to my client's benefit. However, the incident brings to light a potential pitfall for condo buyers and owners; those interested in purchasing a parking spot to accompany their unit must understand that there are two different classifications on the market: 'owned' (or alternately deeded) spots and 'exclusive use' spots.
Deeded Parking Spots vs. Exclusive Use Parking Spots
Owned or deeded spots: An owned parking spot appears on the condo’s title as real property in conjunction with the unit itself. It is in fact the property of the condo’s owner and can then be sold along with the unit. It may also be possible to sever the spot from the respective unit (to facilitate a sale of the parking spot independent of the unit) however this privilege can vary from building to building. Legal advice is recommended in this situation. The area of the parking spot also contributes to the unit’s maintenance fees which are calculated by applying a set price per square foot of the total sqaure footage of the property. It is also important to remember that the use and appearance of an owned unit is still subject to the rules and regulations of the condo corporation.
Exclusive use spots: Exclusive use spots are the property of the condo corporation. The spot’s rights and privileges are reserved for a specific unit however it does not appear on the title for the related unit property. It cannot be sold by the unit’s owner and does not contribute to the unit’s maintenance fees.
As a realtor, I'm regularly told a condo unit “has parking”, but I rarely see the difference clearly articulated in real estate marketing. Both types of spots produce the same end result: parking for the unit owner's vehicle. However, a deeded spot contributes more to a unit's overall market value.
This is just one of many reasons to hire a real estate professional that not only knows the buying and selling process inside and out, but also asks the right questions, does the required research, and, ultimately, takes pride in providing superior service to their clients.
Are you seeking prudent guidance from a realtor who is exacting in her attention to detail? Because it's par for the course in what we do at Urbaneer. Our team is here to help with all of your housing needs, without pressure or hassle. How can we help you? Just pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can't wait to speak with you!
~ Kellye MacMillan, Realtor & Guest Writer
Imagine having parking, open beams and exposed brick? Check out our newest listing: A Brick & Beam Loft with Courtyard Garden in Toronto's Button Factory, offered at $1,699,000.
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