Condo conversions viable for old homes

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Homes for the long haul have always been the goal of real estate buyers such as families, but the recent case of a long-time owner has shown how an old home can still be a lucrative resource even in the latter stages of its operational lifetime.
Toronto native and doctor Carolee Harris, who is nearing retirement, had her three-story Victorian-era home split into two condo units. She said that this decision would allow her to free up some equity and make the most out of her investment, without taking on the burden of being a landlord in her sixties.
“It enables me to sell basically half of the equity in the house and not have landlady-like responsibilities,” Harris told BuzzBuzzHome News.
The alterations to her abode in Harbord Village, Toronto did not come easy or cheap, though. Evaluations and the other necessary legwork took more than six months until the project was approved last May, and the running costs tally up to $50,000 so far; Harris confirmed that this amount does not yet include the previous renovations made to create the apartments.
“It was the same process as if I were converting a 30-unit rental building into condos,” she says. “You have to go through all the same steps,” Harris said.
“Windows and doors, everything had to be divided. We had surveyors come in and survey not just the land but the unit so they could be legally described for the land registry office,” Harris described.
Harris’ realtor Gary Thomas Alison of Royal LePage said that the complexity and the sheer length of time involved is the main reason why this kind of conversion is not more popular among long-term home owners in the city despite being a very profitable venture.
“It’s something that’s very common in Montreal, New York, Boston — even in Vancouver. It’s just not common in Toronto. It should be because it allows more affordable living space in a very densely populated area,” Alison said.

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