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August 23rd, 2019 
Heather Fuller
Broker, CRA

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adding value to location


Adding Value To Location


Location, location, and location. The three most important words in real estate. However, when buying a home in desirable older, established areas of the city, the location may be perfect but the home itself may require work.

Sacrificing aesthetics for location has become commonplace in Toronto's central core. Many communities, such as Forest Hill, Rosedale, Moore Park, Bennington Heights, Riverdale, and the Annex, have been around since the early 1900s. Many of the homes have undergone refurbishment over the years. Some are in their original condition.

So whether your new home has that art deco feel, flocked wallpaper, shag carpeting and geometrical wall coverings, or a black lacquer kitchen, chances are it will require some renovations. How extensive those renovations are will be determined by your ability to live with the previous owners' updates and décor. Serious renovations generally require the services of an architect and a general contractor while those less pressing can be done over time with the assistance of the appropriate tradespeople. In either case, you'll need a building permit before you begin. The building permit is your formal permission to begin construction or demolition. It means that the City of Toronto has approved plans for any new structure, addition, or renovation.

If your plans comply with the Ontario Building Code, local zoning bylaws, and other applicable laws and regulations, Toronto's Building Department offers a fast track service for simple projects requiring permits, such as: a ground floor one-storey addition (up to 500 sq. ft); minor interior alterations such as constructing and demolishing partitions, installing fireplaces, relocating stairs, installing windows and doors; changing a layout; adding decks, veranda's, porches, garages, and carports; accessory structures; basement entrances; and pool enclosures.

The beauty of fast track is the turnaround time. Visit the civic centre in the area in which your project is located with two copies of a fully-dimensioned site plan and construction drawing of the proposed project, and a staff member will review your application and approve or deny it on the spot.

Regular building permits take a little longer to process. You will need a building permit if you plan to construct a new building; renovate, repair or add to a building; demolish or remove all or a portion of a building; install, change or remove partitions and load-bearing walls; make a new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows, building a garage, balcony or deck; excavate a basement or construct a foundation; install or modify heating, plumbing, air conditioning systems or fireplaces, or reconstruct a chimney.

You will not need a permit to replace existing windows and doors; install siding on small residential buildings; build a roofless deck under two foot elevation (that is not attached to a building); build a utility shed under 100 sq. ft.; re shingle a roof; install eaves troughs; replace or increase insulation, drywall or plaster; damp-proof basements; install kitchen or bathroom cupboards without plumbing; erect a fence (except surrounding a swimming pool); or electrical work (although all electrical installations must be inspected).

For more information regarding building permits of City of Toronto locations, please phone Access Toronto at 416-338-0338 or

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