A Real, Honest-to-Goodness Condo Case Study


This blog post, I wanted to do something a little different.

I’ve been a pre-construction investor for more than a decade. I had a rocky start - you can read all about my failed business and financial struggles here - but investing got me back on my feet. Now, years later, I’m sharing and helping other Torontonians reach the life they want through passive income. I’m so happy to be where I am.

But I’d like to prove to you that it works. Being an investor and a real estate agent is sort of a double whammy for the people that don’t know me. They don’t realize that what I do works - and I’m happy to prove it.

I’ve put together a case study of a project that I’ve purchased, with all of the paperwork and nothing to hide. It’s a pre-construction project that I signed in 2014 that’s just taking occupancy now. Take a look.

The investment

CORE Condos

68 Shuter St.

9th floor unit, 1 bed 1 bath, 557 square feet

The neighbourhood

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This was an interesting one. Shuter street is an unattractive little side road near Yonge and Dundas, surrounded by parking lots and Old Toronto buildings.

It’s on the cusp of Corktown and Downtown Centre. Corktown - and Regent Park - has a rough reputation, and many investors shy away from anything that doesn’t pass their sniff check. Even people close to me warned that it was a “rough” neighbourhood. They said that it wasn’t a great place to invest.

I saw something different. A few things actually:


Access to everything. Ryerson, all Toronto transit, Eaton Centre, George Brown, and it’s relatively nearby other downtown hotspots. The location - if not the neighbourhood - is ideal.


New condos were being proposed (and still are) in all the little spots just east of Yonge. With the Daniels Spectrum Centre already in the works and money starting to funnel into the barely-east in 2014, Shuter showed strong early signs of gentrification. Now, it’s just hitting its stride as a hot neighbourhood to watch out for.

A reputable builder

While CentreCourt hasn’t made a ton of condos, they’ve been building industrial and commercial high rises in Toronto for a long time. They’ve won a number of BILD awards, have received rave reviews on all of their properties, and their CEO spent 21 years at Menkes. Since CentreCourt is moving more into residential high rises, they have a reputation to uphold.

A good deal

Nabbing this condo for the price that I did, with the incentives that I did, and understanding where the neighbourhood was headed meant that the property would be valued much higher than what I paid for. It was a good deal on paper and even better in hindsight.

The unit cost $297,900, which was below market price at the time. About $535/square foot.

What the tenants would see

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The unit has more square footage than most of the other one-bedrooms in the building. Sliding bedroom doors used to be a total no-no for many buyers, but then every builder realized they save a serious amount of space. Now they’re everywhere. (I actually think they’re really cute).

The balcony is a bonus for many potential tenants, too.

Amenities are mostly - mostly - irrelevant for investors.

Here’s what the unit came with:

  • Gym

  • Guest suite

  • Lounge

  • Party room

  • Concierge

*Note: NO POOL!

My maintenance fees are about $330 a month. I save a lot because of these minimalist amenities, and for the most part tenants don’t care. It means their rent is cheaper. Win-win.

The incentives

  • Extended deposit structure (20% deposit spread over nine months, see below)

  • Development levies capped at $2,500

  • Free assignment

  • A really, really ridiculously good-looking price

Confession time

I made a mistake with this one. I’m normally top of my game when it comes to negotiating for good incentives. This time, though, I missed my opportunity to cap potential Section 37 levies. These are fees associated with building “bonus” community spaces or public art by the developer in order to get around certain zoning regulations, like building height. Think of it like a trade between the city and the developer. The cost of these public works, though, is paid for by the unit owners.

In this case, I got handed a higher-than-I’d-like Section 37 fee for street-level retail and maintaining the heritage facade in my closing costs. While every Section 37 project is different and negotiated separately, I’ll be keeping a close eye on it in the future.

The deposit structure

~$5,000 on signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale

~$10,000 a month later (5% deposit down)

~$15,000 90 days later (10% deposit down)

~$15,000 150 days later (15% deposit down)

~$15,000 270 days later (20% deposit down)

Total: $60,000

The extended deposit structure gave me wiggle room for saving for the last $15,000 installment. In today’s market, nobody has $60,000 laying around at one time - even me.

The structured deposit schedule means that our investment isn’t actually tied up for three years. Instead it’s more like two - with room for me to save in between. Cash flow is king!

Equity gain

I signed the agreement of purchase and sale on January 11, 2014. Occupancy is happening right now.

As soon as I got interim occupancy, I got the property appraised. It’s now valued $92,100 more than I mortgaged it for.


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I currently own only 20% of my unit. That’s what I’ve paid in a deposit. The rest is owned by the bank.

20% of the unit’s appraised value is $78,000. The asset’s appreciation, before the unit was even constructed, has now earned me $18,000 in equity. That’s almost a 30% return (or 10% per year) of my initial investment of $60,000.

But a note - I actually own the increased value of the condo. The full $92,100. If I sold my unit, I would immediately see that full asset appreciation amount. Which is a good chunk for just waiting three years! But I don't want that.

If I wait, and I get a tenant to pay for my growing equity over time, I’ll make significantly more. That’s the power of passive income.



   Percentage I own

     What it cost me

     What it’s worth













*Note! This doesn't include the increased value of the condo, just my own increased equity. I will actually own the full appreciation value over time.

Eventually, I’ll own 100% of the unit. I’ll have only put in $60,000, and my time.

The tenants

I’ve just posted the unit to MLS. It’s renting for $1,725 / month.

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This is the rundown of just one unit, in one location, in Toronto. I work through projects and investments like this constantly with my clients. I love the work that I do - and I love seeing the possibilities of passive income.

I’m sure you have more questions that I can answer in just one case study. I’d love to chat about it. Call me or message and we can go for coffee, anytime!

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Irene Lee, Sales Representative

RE/MAX Realtron Realty Inc., Brokerage
183 Willowdale Avenue, Toronto, M2N 4Y9
Direct: 416-888-1404 | Office: 416-222-8600