Resale Condo Buyers Guide

| Buying

At any given time, Toronto is the site of countless pre-construction developments—and long lineups of buyers waiting to call them home. With all the buzz surrounding brand new buildings, it’s easy to forget that there’s no shortage of wonderful preowned condos in this city. Buying into an existing building has its benefits, and it’s worth considering if you’re ready to buy a resale condo unit. Understanding the process is the first step.

Read the latest resale condo buyers guide if you are thinking about buying…

The Pros & Cons of Resale

If you’re not sure whether to go the resale route, familiarizing yourself with the potential pros and cons is crucial.

The most significant benefit of buying a preowned condo is probably the fact that you can see what you’ll get before you make your purchase. With pre-construction, you don’t have the opportunity to view the building, unit, and amenities ahead of time. In contrast, opting for a pre-existing building allows you to see everything in person—and move in right away. If you’re buying brand new, you may have to wait several years!

Of course, there are potential downsides too. If the building you’re looking at is older, it may require more upkeep than a new one would. That can mean higher maintenance fees. It may also result in less-than-stellar energy efficiency (since construction standards have changed in recent years). Lastly, if you choose to renovate an older unit because it’s outdated, it can quickly become costly.

Whether a resale or pre-construction condo is the right option for you will depend on your circumstances, so be sure to consider your goals and needs with your agent.

The Steps Involved

When it comes to the purchase process, there are a few differences between securing a resale condo and a preowned one. Here’s a brief overview of the key steps involved in buying resale.


If you’ll require a mortgage, pre-approval is crucial. During this step, a lender will comb through your finances to determine the loan amount you’ll likely receive. In addition to giving you a sense of what you can afford, being pre-approved will show sellers you’re serious about purchasing a condo.

Set your criteria

From building type and unit square footage to condo amenities and neighbourhoods, determining what you’re looking for is critical. Your agent can provide advice based on your lifestyle and preferences, set up notifications for condos that are a good match, and reach out to their contacts to find potential living spaces.


Once you start identifying condos of interest, your agent will begin coordinating viewings so you can visit them in person. Keep in mind that safety precautions (including virtual tours, hand sanitizer requirements, and more) are common during a pandemic.

Offer and negotiations

Once you find the right condo, you and your real estate representative will craft an offer together. It should be designed to serve your best interests—while appealing to sellers and competing with other bids if they arise. Along with choosing a price that works for you, you’ll need to settle on the right terms and conditions.

If the seller counters your offer, you’ll enter into negotiations. An agent who’s a true community expert can leverage local sold data to advocate for you—and ensure you get the best possible deal.

Due diligence

There are things you can do to reduce the risks of buying a resale unit. As part of your offer, you can include conditions to protect you (such as those that make your purchase contingent upon your ability to secure financing).

Since the condo market can be highly competitive, many buyers choose to forgo their conditions. If you do that, you’ll want to make sure your lawyer closely reviews your status certificate (a document that provides the full financial picture of your building and unit).

Closing details

When closing time arrives, there’s no shortage of details to wrap up. Your real estate representative will walk you through the paperwork, coordinate with sellers and other professionals, and help ensure that funds are transferred and conditions are met.

Factoring in Your Costs

Buying a condo comes with fees above and beyond your purchase price.

If you’re buying a resale unit, you won’t have to worry about certain costs that pre-construction buyers have to pay (like HST). That said, there are some that you can expect by closing time.

Land transfer taxes

Buy any type of home in Toronto, and you’ll owe both provincial and municipal land transfer tax. In each case, you’ll pay 0.5 per cent on a certain portion of your purchase price. The remainder will exist on a sliding scale (ie. for homes between $400,000 and $2 million, you’ll pay 2 per cent on any portion of your purchase price between those two amounts).

Legal fees

To make a smooth and secure resale condo purchase, you’ll want to have a skilled real estate lawyer perform the necessary due diligence. The amount you’ll pay will depend on the professional you choose, but you can expect upwards of $1000.

Title insurance

This cost is sometimes (but not always) included in a buyer’s legal fees. Put simply, title insurance protects you against potential challenges to your ownership of your new home. Generally, you can expect to pay a couple hundred dollars.

PST on CMHC insurance

CMHC exists to protect your lender if you default on your mortgage. It applies when you make a down payment of less than 20 per cent. While the insurance (which is 1.8-4 per cent of your purchase price) will be included in your mortgage, you’ll have to pay PST (8 per cent of your insurance) on it at closing.


If any property taxes or utilities have been prepaid, you’ll need to reimburse the condo’s previous owners. Your real estate representative will work with the seller’s agent to facilitate repayment.

Finding the Right Agent

Whether you’re familiar with the process of buying a resale condo or not, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is finding an agent. That means looking for a professional who has local condo expertise—someone who can help you find your ideal property and walk you through every step of the process. Are you ready to get started?

Have questions about what’s happening in the Toronto condo market? Call or text to learn more: 416-500-5360 / Email: