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Topping Off 2018: UrbanToronto’s Hottest Forum Threads

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To close out our Topping Off series for 2018, we are taking a look at the 10 most popular Database files, Forum Threads, and News Stories from UrbanToronto across the entire year. 

Over the course of 2018, scores of new project threads were added to our Forum, with 1,351 project threads having been updated with countless new posts. As the year unfolded, here are the threads that you returned to the most!

10. Sugar Wharf Condominiums

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Site of Sugar Wharf Condominiums (left), image by Forum contributor mburrrrr

Our 10th most popular thread was that of Sugar Wharf Condominiums, Phase 1. The first two residential towers in Menkes Developments‘ Sugar Wharf community kicked off construction in July of 2018, and a large pit has taken shape in the months since. The architectsAlliance-designed towers will rise 65 and 70 storeys.

9. E Condos

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018E Condos, image by Forum contributor Urban-Affair

In 9th place, BazisMetropia, and RioCan REIT‘s E Condos has become a fan favourite, with the development’s topping out and installation of a unique exterior skin keeping interest high throughout the year. The complex’s 58-storey south tower is now the tallest in Toronto north of the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood.

8. Massey Tower

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Massey Tower, image by Forum contributor Razz

Since topping out at a height of 207 metres over the summer, MOD Developments‘ Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed Massey Tower has continued to generate interest, bringing it to 8th place for the year. Cladding installation for the tower’s residential levels is now wrapping up, and exterior work has now begun on the crown that wraps the mechanical penthouse above.

7. Residences of 488 University Avenue

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Residences of 488 University Avenue, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

In 7th place, Amexon Development Corporation‘s Residences of 488 University Avenue project has been rising steadily throughout the year. The new Core Architects-designed condominium development is adding 37 new floors above an existing 18-storey office building at University and Dundas.

6. CIBC Square

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018CIBC Square, image by Forum contributor Michael62

Taking the #6 spot, the thread for the CIBC Square office development drew in plenty of traffic over the year. The project from Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines kicked off construction for its WilkinsonEyre-designed, 49-storey south tower in June 2017, and by the end of 2018 the tower had climbed high above the Bay and Lake Shore intersection.

5. The One

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Site of The One, image by Forum contributor Benito

In 5th place, Mizrahi Developments‘ highly-anticipated The One saw significant progress below grade in 2018. A specialized tower crane is now in place, while drilling has begun for the 32 “mega caissons” that will act as footings for the supertall tower’s hybrid exoskeleton structural support system.

4. 1 Yorkville

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 20181 Yorkville, image by Forum contributor ADRM

In 4th position, Bazis and Plaza‘s 58-storey, Roy Varacalli-designed condominium tower at 1 Yorkville has been rising throughout the year. Its textured exterior of pinched aluminum fins helped propel the project into the top four.

3. Pinnacle One Yonge

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Site of Pinnacle One Yonge, image by Forum contributor mburrrrr

The first phase of Pinnacle International‘s five-tower, Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed community—Pinnacle One Yonge—kicked off construction in 2018. The 65-storey tower known as The Prestige is paving the way for a future 95-storey, 1,007-foot tower that will be a major presence on the Toronto skyline.

2. Union Station Revitalization

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Union Station’s new food court, image by Craig White

In second place, the ongoing revitalization of Union Station has been dragging on for years, though 2018 brought us some visible progress including glazed moat coverings, a new food court, and other retail and pedestrian improvements.

1. The Well

UrbanToronto, Hottest Forum Threads of 2018Site of The Well, image by Forum contributor Red Mars

The top spot for Forum activity in 2018 went to the thread for The Well. It should come as no surprise that a site with seven new towers under construction—the largest construction site in Toronto—managed to generate the most attention. The project by Diamond CorpAllied Properties REITRio Can REITTridel, and Woodbourne will bring a 36-storey office tower, 6 residential buildings, and 432,000 ft² of retail space to the Entertainment District.

We look forward to another year of following urban growth in 2019. In the meantime, let us know what you think about this year’s top threads in the comments section provided below.

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UrbanToronto now has a new way you can track projects through the planning process on a daily basis. Sign up for a free trial of our New Development Insider here.


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Window repair or replacement is the responsibility of the condo corporation

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If the windows in your condo are hazy, drafty, or have rotting frames, it’s an indicator that they need repairs or outright replacement.

However, under the Condominium Act, it is the responsibility of the condo’s board to carry out such changes as a replaced window is a common element.

“Under the Condominium Act, a declaration may alter the maintenance or repair obligations of unit owners and the corporation but cannot make unit owners responsible for repairs to the common elements,” said Gerry Hyman is a former president of the Canadian Condominium Institute and contributor for the Star.

“A declaration for a high-rise condominium invariably provides that the unit boundary is the interior surface of windows. That means that the entire window — whether it is a single pane or a double pane — is a common element. Necessary repairs or replacement of a broken pane is the obligation of the corporation.”

According to Consumer Reports, selecting an installing windows replacement can be very overwhelming for homeowners. Therefore, if you aren’t covered by your condo’s corporation, it would be necessary to hire professional hands.

Wood, vinyl and composite windows need to be tested on how they can withstand various natural elements. For wind resistance, a window can be very tight when it’s warm but get quite cold too—especially when it begins to leak a lot.

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line remains that replacement windows can save you heating and cooling costs, but it’s best not to expect drastic savings.

Additionally, while getting a new window might help you save on your electric and gas bills, due to their expensive cost, it may take a long time to offset their cost.

Mid-last-year, the government withdraw a $377 million Green Ontario program that provided subsidy on windows to installers and repairers. Window companies had to install energy-efficient windows in order to qualify for the government subsidy that pays for up to $500 of a $1,000 to $1,500 window.

Due to the largely generous subsidies from the government under the Green Ontario program, a lot of window dealers were fully booked for months—even after the program had ended.

“We’re fine with the program ending, we just need more time to satisfy consumers,” said Jason Neal, the executive director of the Siding and Window Dealer Association of Canada, the industry group representing window dealers in a report.

According to Neal, the Progressive Conservatives acted hastily, making massive changes with no prior notice.

“No notification was given to us by anyone,” he said, noting he learned about the change through one of his dealers.

“It’s created a ripple effect.If they had just given us notice we would have pushed that down the line from the manufacturer right into the dealer right down to the consumer.”

Neal noted that he wasn’t particularly sad to see the Green Ontario program end, as it was “the worst rebate program in the history of the window industry.”

“It’s been horrible,” he said. “$500 a window has created such hysteria.”

However, despite the program ending about a year ago, numerous homeowners have been contacting window dealers consistently with concerns that they might not be able to afford replacement windows without the government’s subsidy.

“I understand their concern,” said window dealer Chris George. “I would suggest they reach out to their local representative of the government in their riding and let them know about their concerns.”

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7 Vancouver Real Estate Buying Tips

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The real estate market in Vancouver is turning around for good for everyone looking to purchase a home.

Previously soaring prices are now beginning to ease up, making it a perfect time for buyers—with real estate agents already getting ready for a very busy spring and summer season.

However, before splashing cash on a new property, there are some very important tips you need to know to ensure you make the most of the buyer’s market.

Here are some few expert tips that would guide you when purchasing a home in the sometimes frustration Vancouver seller’s market.

  1. Get adequate financing

It is very important that before you make the move to purchase a property, you put into careful consideration your credit score.

Normally, home buyers with lower scores use the secondary mortgage market to finance their purchase, as they’re more likely to pay a higher interest rate.However, it is advisable to get loan approval long before purchasing the house. This way, you are fully aware of how much you are able to spend—but never be tempted to borrow the maximum amount of money available.

“What’s your mortgage payment that you’re comfortable with? And take into the fact the taxes you’re going to have to pay, if it’s a strata – what the maintenance fees are, if it’s a home what type of maintenance are you going to have to pay in the future?” said Phil Moore, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in a report.

Always be careful of the type of loan you secure and ensure that you can comfortably afford it over a long period of time.

  1. Get a real estate agent

Buying a property without professional help is a very risky move and can be likened to choosing to represent yourself in court without a lawyer. While you might trust your negotiation skills, only realtors are permitted to present offers directly.

Therefore, it is necessary to get a professional real estate agent in the area to represent you. So, screen a few agents and select the best one who has in-depth knowledge of the markets and has a great reputation.

“They’re there to protect you. They’re there to walk you through each step of the process,” Moore said.

  1. Sign up for automated alerts

Most—if not all—realtors have access to the Vancouver real estate board’s database which is updated approximately two days before the public MLS website.

Therefore, you can request from your realtor to sign you up for automatic real-time alerts of all new listings. Doing this gives you an edge as you’re among the very first to know about new properties.

  1. Do a thorough inspection

After receiving an alert for a new listing, it is necessary to push almost immediately for an inspection from your realtor. In this current market, buyers now have time to make an inspection.

Making a quick inspection eliminates any surprises—as there could be major maintenance or repair issues that could spring up. Therefore, you can now table your offer based on the outcome of the inspection, with clauses about claiming your damage deposit back if everything isn’t as was advertised.

Additionally, if you notice that renovations were done, you need to be sure that it was permitted work and carried out appropriately. Failing to do this would ultimately lead to further cost down the line and simultaneously affect the resale value.

  1. Have a back-up plan

There’s always the possibility that everything may not go as smoothly as you’d want. From the inspection being a failureto the property not living up to your expectations—or not being able to agree on the closing date that matches with your needs.

However, a professional real estate agent will definitely help you get past all of these things. If you plan on selling the property as you buy, you can table that and make it part of the deal.

“You’ve got an option, especially in a buyer’s market: you can put in an offer subject to selling your place. So maybe you want to have a place lined up,” Moore added.

Additionally, building contingencies into your buying plan is necessary. Things such as unexpected delays in closing the deal, closing cost and moving costs that could result in added living expenses if that’s your permanent home.

  1. Don’t fall for the buyer frenzy

The Vancouver market buying frenzy that caused a serious climb in the prices a couple of years ago has ended. Thus, it is important not to get caught up in bidding wars with properties that have been deliberately under-priced—with the hope of initiating multiple offers.

“Some of the sellers have been on the market for over a year and they’re eager to sell. So what I’m saying to consumers is: you have a lot of choices, you’re in the driver’s seat, let’s go out and take a look at what’s available,” said Moore.

  1. Never be wary of multiple offers

When purchasing a property, don’t be afraid of multiple offers as you have the same opportunity as anybody else.

Typically, there are just a few offers below the asking price: a couple priced fully, and two or three above the asking price—depending on how close the fair market value is from the asking price.

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Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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