Frequently Asked Questions

1. What deposits do I have to make for my condo purchase?

If you’re buying early on during our pre-sales period and before we’ve started construction, we typically require a 15% deposit paid in stages: 5% within 30 to 60 days of signing your agreement, 5% more 60-90 days after that and then the last 5% once construction starts.

If you buy around the time we start construction or a bit after, your 15% is still paid in three stages of 5% each, but over a shorter period, say 60 to 120 days, depending on how far along we are in construction.

If you’re a first-time buyer saving for your down payment, don’t worry: We understand your unique circumstances and can adjust our deposit requirements for you. Mortgage specialist Valerie Atkins with our financing partner, BMO Bank of Montreal, can advise you in this area.

2. Are the deposits I pay protected?

Yes, they are fully protected. Tarion Warranty Corporation insures the first $20,000 of your deposit, and the rest is protected by Ontario’s Condominium Act, which requires us to get excess deposit insurance from an approved insurer on all deposits we receive for a project. You pay your deposits into a trust account with either our lawyer or with the lawyer of the company providing the excess deposit insurance. In turn, the lawyer issues a certificate confirming that the deposits you’ve paid are protected in accordance with the Condominium Act.

3. What warranty comes with my condominium?

We provide your new condo with an extensive warranty that’s backed by Tarion (anagram of Ontario), a government-regulated corporation that, under the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan Act, resolves warranty claims and makes sure the warranties are honoured. Tarion also regulates and licenses home builders and sellers across the province.

Here’s a summary of your warranty coverage:

  • Deposit protection up to $20,000 (above this amount, you get coverage under Ontario’s Condominium Act)
  • Compensation for delays in occupancy and closings
  • Defects in work and materials (one year)
  • General violations of the Ontario Building Code (one year)
  • Unauthorized substitution of materials (one year)
  • Heating, plumbing and electrical defects, as well as violations to the health and safety rules in the Ontario Building Code (two years)
  • Water penetration through the basement or foundation walls (two years)
  • Defects in materials, including windows, doors and caulking, or defects in work that allow water to penetrate the building envelope (two years)
  • Defects in work or materials that result in the detachment, displacement or deterioration of exterior cladding like brickwork, aluminum or vinyl siding (two years)
  • Major structural defects (MSD) that affect your condo’s load-bearing parts (seven years*)
  • Common or shared elements of the condominium (up to $2.5 million)

* The seven-year MSD warranty includes significant damage due to soil movement, major cracks in basement walls, collapse or serious distortion of joints or the roof structure and the chemical failure of materials. Soil movement means subsidence (gradual caving-in or sinking of an area of land), expansion or sideways shifting of the soil not caused by floods, earthquakes, “acts of God” or other phenomena beyond the reasonable control of the builder.

See more details on Tarion’s warranty coverage.

And by the way…Based on customer satisfaction surveys across Ontario, Domicile won Tarion’s 2011 Award of Excellence in the high-rise builder category – the only Ottawa company nominated ­– receiving the top marks in all of Ontario in this category.

4. Parking: How much parking is there, and how much does it cost?

We plan for as much parking as possible in our projects, but urban sites can be challenging. We allocate parking spaces inside the building at our discretion. In some projects, we can provide at least one parking space for every suite. In others, we simply can’t. Each project is a little different.

These heated, underground parking spaces are sold separately from your suite, so you don’t have to pay for one if you don’t want it. Remember that, on top of your parking-space purchase price (roughly $31,000 as of 2012), you have a related condo fee, currently estimated at $30 a month. Parking space prices include tax (HST).

Pricing and availability for any outside parking spaces, typically in our townhome projects, will depend on the specific project.  Ask for details.

Although both our inside (underground) and outside spaces meet or exceed City of Ottawa bylaw standards, these standards do favour smaller, mid-sized cars better adapted to urban living and gas economy, rather than larger cars, SUVs and trucks.

5. What’s the next step after I buy my condominium?

Once you buy a condo, you go to what we call a pre-construction meeting with Teralee Codd, our design coordinator. You discuss your suite in detail, review your optional upgrades and consider changes that can affect elements like plumbing and electricity. Teralee guides you in these important choices and, of course, answers your questions.

After, we take a close look at your requests for changes and upgrades to confirm if they can be accommodated. Finally, we give you a written response with all of the details involved. Based on that letter, you can make your next choices pressure-free and with time to spare.

6. What comes after my pre-construction meeting?

After your pre-construction session with Teralee Codd, you meet with our interior finishes coordinator, Katherine Skidmore, to select your flooring, tiling, cabinets, countertops and other finishes—in essence, to create the mood you want to make your new home stand out. And with so many standard finishes to choose from, you’ll certainly find something that suits your style and personality.

7. How do you estimate monthly condo fees (common-expense fees)?

We know you need us to be as accurate as possible in estimating condo fees, so we rely on several strategies when doing so, including

  • tapping into our 35-plus years of experience in developing condominium projects
  • regularly consulting our owners and their property managers in completed buildings
  • analyzing the actual experience in these buildings over time
  • keeping a very close eye on trends or changes so we can plan and adjust effectively.

We express the estimated condo fees for each building as an amount per square foot per month for your suite, plus a monthly amount for your parking space. For example, it you buy a 700-square-foot suite and one parking space, your monthly fee would be

  • 42 cents (our estimate) X 700, which equals $294 a month, plus
  • $30 (our estimate) a month for your parking space, which equals
  • a total of $324 a month.
8. What do my monthly condo fees (common-expense fees) cover?

In our latest projects, these monthly fees include:

  • hot and cold water
  • heating for your suite
  • heating and cooling of your building’s common areas
  • gas and hydro for your building’s common areas
  • property and liability insurance for your building and your basic suite, that is, excluding any upgrades you add, which you must insure with your contents through your personal homeowner insurance
  • regular maintenance and repair for your building and its features, including landscaping and snow removal, and finally
  • a key element: a contribution that helps build a reserve fund for major building repairs and replacements.
9. What monthly expenses beyond condo fees will I have to pay?

Regular expenses other than your condo fees include the following:

  • electricity you consume in your suite (based on your meter)
  • natural gas you consume in your suite with your BBQ or gas range (based on your meter)
  • insurance for the contents and upgrades in your suite
  • property taxes
  • cable, phone and Internet.
10. When does construction start? Are pre-sales required?

Both for us and for our buyers, we start building only once a certain number of suites have been sold in advance (pre-sales), typically about 60 to 65% of the suites, which is usually enough to show we’ve chosen another successful urban location.  And we prepare ourselves to dig as soon as we reach that threshold. This pre-sale condition is outlined in your purchase agreement.

11. What are the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation features in my suite?

Your suite uses a forced-air system (air circulation by a blower) to provide heating and cooling.

Heating: Your suite comes with its own heat pump and thermostat, so you have full control over the temperature. Central gas-fired hydronic boilers supply heated water to your heat pump for the heating process. The cost of operating these very efficient and economical boilers is part of your common-expense fee.

Hot water: Your hot-water supply comes from central, high-efficiency, gas-fired boilers. Hot and cold water are included in your common-expense fees (condo fees).

Air conditioning:  You get personal air conditioning on demand from a compressor in your suite’s heat pump, and the electricity you use for this appears on your suite’s hydro meter.

Exhausts: Your kitchen range hood fan, dryer vents and bathroom fans, they all exhaust directly outdoors through separate ducts.

12. Non-smoking buildings…why now?

It’s simply the right thing to do and, from what our buyers have said on our last two projects (hom and One3one), they unanimously embrace this feature.

In fact, as part of 2012 National Non-Smoking Week, Ottawa Public Health gave us a Recognition Award for building Ottawa’s first entirely smoke-free developments. Click here for more information.

Enforcement of non-smoking rules–The condominium’s board of directors has not only the right but also the responsibility to make sure that non-smoking rules are obeyed, just as it’s required to enforce all other rules and regulations of the condominium. In fact, the board has broad enforcement powers under Ontario’s Condominium Act. In the end, when it comes to our smoke-free settings, we know our buyers have chosen accordingly and will surely comply.

13. Are pets allowed?

Yes, we’ve been “pet-friendly” since day one, and you can keep ordinary pets in your suite as long as they don’t become a nuisance. On that note, according to our condo governing document, if the board of directors of your building determines that your pet has become a nuisance to the corporation or to other owners, and the situation is not resolved to the satisfaction of the board, you’ll have to remove the pet from the property within two weeks of the Board’s instructing you to do so.

Finally, you have to keep your pet on a leash when you’re with it on common property, and you’re subject to all municipal bylaws and regulations on the care and control of pets.