Parking: A Key Part of Home Ownership You Need to Consider for Your Real Estate Purchase!By sedoo
Happy spring season everyone! As the snow continues to melt, the Ontario real estate market is on fire. People are looking at all sorts of properties—new and resale, condominiums, houses and rural properties, going from downtown Toronto and well into the north. Is it the low interest rates? The need to upsize/downsize? FOMO? Maybe a little bit of everything?
In all my years of practice, if there is one consistent variable as part of a home purchase that I would say is most neglected, it’s parking. Yes, parking for cars. Remember the car? For those of you working from home, it is that machine in your driveway or garage that you used to drive in. But all kidding aside, when the initial excitement from having an accepted offer starts to cool off, sensibilities can hit the home buyer. And one of the most common questions is: will I have sufficient parking for my car?
I would guess that over 99% of buyers of resale (preowned) condominium units never go to see the parking spot in the building before going to put the offer in. But they should. See what it’s like to enter the underground parking. How long does it take to get to the parking space? How close is the space to the elevator? And most importantly, check to see if your car fits in the space. Maybe you do not own a smart car or a mini. Will your extended SUV fit in the parking space? Not all parking spaces are created equally. The spot can be on its own—or in a line with other cars. There might be walls and pipes. It may even be located in the next-door building! You get the idea. If having a parking space for your car that fits is important- check ahead of time!
What if you own multiple cars in your family? And you are buying a condo unit with 1 parking space. You may want to buy another space or rent one. Speak to property management. Check the notice board in the building and the MLS. Do parking spots become available to buy or rent? What is the cost? Parking spots in downtown Toronto could come at a cost of $100k plus depending on the building. So be careful and check ahead of time!
The same logic goes for a house. Many houses in Toronto have a shared driveway with a neighbour, with parking and potentially a garage in the back of the property. So, when walking the property before putting in an offer, check the driveway and garage. Take your car and drive it on the property if you can. Will the car fit in the garage? Can you drive it between the houses? Your dream house may not have parking sufficient for more than 1 car. It may not fit your SUV. So, make sure to check ahead of time. Otherwise, you are going to have to find alternative parking arrangements or change your car!
In my mind, a successful home purchase comes down to expectations. Knowing what you expect and trying to make it happen. If you do not know ahead of time what purpose you need your home to serve, you may be disappointed once you get there, and the home doesn’t meet your needs. With so many criteria that people use in deciding on their home, don’t neglect parking. If you have no car and fully expect not to drive in the future—then this is not an issue for you. But for the millions of car owners out there, parking is a critical thing. So do your homework before you buy!
But wait…. won’t all cars have to be electric in the future? Won’t you need a charger at your parking spot, whether in a house or condo building? Let’s leave that issue for another day 😊
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Jonathan A. Hacohen is a Partner at Kormans LLP. His practice areas include Real Estate & Corporate Law, as well as Wills/Estates law. You can reach Jonathan at email@example.com.
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