Is Micro Condo Living for You?

Your pad may not be as small a space capsule, but micro condo living it is! 

What is a micro condo? If your new home is anything less than 350 square feet, you’re experimenting with micro condo living.

‘Tiny homes’ have come a long way since mortgage lenders frowned on such miniscule spaces. How did we get here? Look to famed Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Kurokawa revolutionized micro condo living with his 1972 Nakagin Capsule Tower. The tower’s built-in audiovisual gear, mini fridges, overhead storage bins, and pulldown desks made living small trendy. 

The master of micro condo living planned for his ‘space capsules’ to be replaced every 25 years. If yours is not so disposable, make sure you check the condo reserve fund before you buy a micro condo living space. 

What to look for in the condo reserve fund

Buildings around the city

Joining the Micro Condo Living Experience

So just what is micro living?

The smallest condo projects are usually 200 to 400 square feet (18.58 to 37.16 m²). The Toronto Star compares micro condo living to occupying a 40-foot or 3.71 m² shipping container, sort of like living in a TTC bus.

To describe the experience, picture this. To create the illusion of space at Smart House, 215 Queen Street West in Toronto, even the bathrooms have floor to ceiling windows. With floor plans as small as 276 square feet, it’s the quintessential micro condo living project.

That may be, but since being completed in 2019, Smart House units are now selling for $1,478 a square foot. That’s around $1,750 in monthly income for savvy investors and renters who, for that price, have bike storage, a concierge, security, and air conditioning. 

While micro condos rent for well above traditionally sized units, mortgaging them can be tricky. Until their recent popularity, many Canadian banks set lending size limits for condos at 500 to 600 square feet. Although lenders have become more flexible, talk to a mortgage broker before you plunge into micro condo living.

Red flags to check for when you buy an Ontario condo. 

Loving to Hate Micro Condo Living

Wondering how do I live in a micro studio without feeling boxed in?

Smart design features and urban convenience aside, micro condo living has its critics. With metropolitan land prices at a premium, packing as many units as possible in the least amount of space creates its own problems.

To wit, crushing your possessions into a tiny space can be stressful, especially if your unit lacks a bicycle room or extra storage. And when everything in your condo is (literally) within easy reach, the clutter factor can be high. 

Some compare it to “living in an Ikea showroom“, or being a caged animal. The Atlantic went so far as to call micro condo living psychologically unhealthy, which is no solace if your budget is modest. 

Oh and that Nakagin Capsule Tower? It’s up for demolition after the steel and concrete structure decayed.

Less is more

Less is More (Money)

Environmental psychology professor Susan Saegart warns building small spaces may be profitable, but their affordability can take the choice out of finding a liveable home. Ryerson University concurs: real estate analysts think buyers secretly want more space, but are opting for what they can afford (Rethinking the Tower, 2019). 

Their theories are borne out by building costs. Per square foot costs in Toronto’s condo market have gone from $743 in 2019 to over $1,000 in 2021. That’s almost as dramatic as 2015 to 2017, when condo sizes declined by 8% while prices escalated by 55%.

Protect yourself from mortgage fraud

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer 

All cons considered, if you’ve decided on a micro condo, Axess Law’s Ontario real estate lawyers finalize the legal documents you need to buy your new home. 

Buy on assignment to get a brand-new home without the construction wait.  

Standard offer to purchase contracts can omit clauses that protect buyer’s legal and financial interests. Our licensed legal teams review agreements of purchase and sale, or new construction contracts, for essential clauses that protect your buyer’s right to cancel. 

We can add professional home inspections and final walk-through clauses to your offer to purchase a resale property to prevent defects or deficiencies from marring your home buying experience. If your home inspector finds costly defects, we negotiate with the sellers’ lawyer to request repairs, or price reductions that enable you to hire your own contractors to fix obvious problems.

Buying a home for the first time? We ensure you have the required condo fire insurance binder to close your deal on time. Our real estate lawyers save you steps by submitting electronic land transfer tax affidavits for first time home buyer rebates in Ontario.

Rebates for first time home buyers in Ontario. 

If your bank turns you down, our legal professionals amend your agreement of purchase and sale to give you the time you need to find a mortgage loan you can afford. 

Who gets the deposit if you withdraw? Real estate deposit rules (Ontario 2021). 

Close Real Estate Deals Remotely 

Now you can close real estate deals anywhere in Ontario with Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers. Remote real estate closings use secure, confidential online video conferencing technology. Axess Law witnesses  document signings online. When family or work responsibilities call you away, our remote real estate lawyers let you meet closing deadlines without the hassle of leaving home or office. 

Using a virtual real estate lawyer.

Signing legal documents

Find Affordable Condo Lawyers (Toronto, GTA, or Ottawa) 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.

Compare lawyer fees for buying condos. 

Make Online or Phone Appointments 

Make appointments quickly with our convenient online booking form. Dial our 647-479-0118 lawyer line for personal assistance (toll free to 1-877-552-9377) or drop by any of our law offices to find condo lawyers near you.

Axess Law has onsite parking or easy transit access.