Is This A “Non-Starter” In Your Condo Search?


What is a non-starter, or a “deal-breaker,” in your opinion?

How many non-starters could you list off, right now, off the top of your head?

A smoker’s unit that will never smell fresh again, a 3-cat-home where you’ll never fully get rid of the cat dander you’re allergic to; what is the deal-breaker, for you?

A client of mine recently said, “I won’t stare directly into somebody else’s living room, that’s a non-starter.”

Oh really?  Well then you won’t want to live here…


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  1. HowieTheDuck says:

    Would only live in a condo that has airtight security and no renters.

    The best check is to go visit a floor during Saturday evening. You’d be shocked how many condos in Toronto turn into dorm/AirBnb at night.

    Was fun in my twenties but I’d take a townhouse or even moving out of Toronto than live in a condo due to the chaos it brings.

  2. CB says:

    When I see ads for apartments that are directly across from people’s windows, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. A visceral response that surprised me at first. So no. I’m in a rental on a fairly large courtyard, but the neighbour’s windows are at an oblique angle, we are high enough, and it is OK for me. Smoking smells can be gotten rid of, cat dander can be eliminated (cat urine is another issue, and never rent an apartment with cat urine smells. Landlords will tell you that is the most difficult smell to get rid of. You have to pull up flooring, subfloors, and maybe remove sheet rock up three feet.)

  3. Paully says:

    The only real deal-breaker is a crazy, psychotic neighbour. Unfortunately, you have no way to know about one until you have already purchased and moved in. Then it is too late!

  4. lui says:

    Noise and lack of view is a deal breaker for me.Walk score and closeness to entertainment is not very important to me since I bike and drive everywhere.

  5. Tommy says:

    I love being watched so that’s not an issue at all though I probably wouldn’t buy for investment purposes. Things like cockroaches might be a deal breaker.

  6. Darren says:

    Having lived in several condos, there’s a few things I would look out for from experience. But if you’re picking on one thing, I would agree with the client. My last condo in Toronto (rental) was awesome in pretty much every way, except that come night time the blinds had to be closed otherwise a whole building can look in. I absolutely would not have bought that unit if I were looking to buy for that reason alone. I would have bought another unit in the same building though.

  7. paul says:

    deal breakers for me
    1. silver fish
    2. rat droppings

  8. Ralph Cramdown says:

    “Do you think City Hall is on the right track, or the wrong track?”

    “Wrong track.”


    “Wrong track.”

    “Queen’s Park?”

    “Don’t get me started.”

    — Actual Toronto real estate blogger

    I think those are your three biggest dealbreakers, right there. Why invest the largest part of your assets and future income in a place with such glaring management problems. Is this a turnaround story?

    1. Puh-leez says:

      Yes, government bad (always), corporations (and rich people) good. We get it!

  9. DR says:

    I request a copy of the declaration to make sure that it does not explicitly allow AirBnBs. Tridel really did a disservice to end-users by explicitly allowing AirBnB’s in the declaration and preventing the owners from making rules and bylaws against them.

    1. Markus b says:

      Tridel doesn’t allow air bnb. The specifically forbid it.

      1. DR says:

        I think you’re mistaken unless something has changed very recently. They explicitly allow it in the turnover declaration along with very explicit language stating that you cannot make bylaws/rules against them. The latest buildings they put up downtown all seem to be suffering from the same issue.

  10. RPg says:

    Considering where the price of 1-bedroom condos has gone, I think not looking into somebody else’s unit is now a luxury, and you’re going to pay for it. Buyers who aren’t bothered by it should actually seek it out.

  11. Pk007 says:

    I will have my reservations too looking into anthers place. When I bought my condo I was not as picky about which floor or close to a major street etc. But I definitely made sure I had an open space in front of my balcony for ample light was lucky that way cuz found a corner unit facing an intersection in North York with open space on all 3 sides and because of that have had unsolicited offer for the unit multiple times

  12. FrankyB says:

    My advice to home seekers struggling to find a place in Toronto at a reasonable price, particularly if you’re not planning on selling that home soon: figure out what bothers most people that doesn’t bother you, and seek those out that characteristic.

    1. David(Not the David who runs this website) says:

      FrankyB, if you have to resort to buying a home in Toronto with issues that bother most people, then there’s something seriously wrong with the housing situation in Toronto. Also good luck in selling your home, since most people would find something that bothers them about it. I say, if it’s that bad, then don’t buy, go somewhere else.

  13. Marina says:

    Somehow being that close feels more acceptable with smaller buildings. Almost European. But the above would just make me feel claustrophobic.
    Other deal breakers:
    – Construction next door
    – Smoking
    – next to the garbage chute

  14. Francesca says:

    I would def not buy or rent a condo staring that closely into another condo unit. Besides the lack of privacy of having other people stare directly into your unit, I would be concerned about how dark that unit would be especially in the already darker winter months. Also I would be worried about potential resale value both in price and time taken to sell. I lived in one of the first NY tours across from Bayview village and my condo was directly across the street from another building but firstly the distance between building was roughly three tines what is shown in your video and secondly my building was taller than the other building and I made sure to buy a unit higher than the building across the street so that I would have a clear view and nobody staring into my unit. It also helped that we had balconies to add to the sense of privacy. This building with its lack of balconies on that one side actually makes it easier to stare into each other’s units. I would def make sure to buy something with a clear view or enough distance between buildings. If there is nothing currently in from of said building I would make sure to find out what the city could allow to be built there. For me an ex smoker unit would be a deal breaker too

    1. Sevyn says:

      I’ve lived in a condo similar to this, not the same but Ive noticed two things – the units usually aren’t exactly across from each other. They are staggered and builders use windows that you can’t see directly inside you might see shadows but not be able to make out what the person is wearing. There’s always blinds and curtains also!! Obviously the people who live there currently have no issue at all.