What is a PDI or Pre-Delivery Inspection?


Often you will hear people in Ottawa throwing around the term PDI - Which stands for pre-delivery inspection. When you purchase a brand new condo (or home) you will be enrolled in the seven-year Tarion Warranty program. Before you take occupancy (move in), you will do an "inspection" of the entire unit with the builder. This is a comprehensive inspection where you may also be demonstrated on how to operate the home's systems such as plumbing, heating, and cooling. 

Any item that is damaged, missing, incomplete, or not operating correctly, should be noted on the PDI form that the builder will provide, which will verify that these conditions existed prior to occupancy. Some units have many small problems, some have very few. This is a chance for the builder to correct any issues before you take occupancy. Once the inspection is over, you will be asked to sign the PDI form.

Some examples that we have seen first hand are:
- tiles or flooring installed incorrectly or damaged
- appliances missing or damaged
- cabinet trim missing or damaged
- windows damaged
- baseboard trim damaged or missing
- poor paint or drywall mudding
- drywall nail pops
- counters missing or damaged
- the list goes on...

Keep in mind that the PDI is to establish that the problem existed before you moved in. If it is not mentioned on the PDI form, then it may be difficult to establish that the issue did not happen after you moved in and after you have occupancy. If there are any items that are not corrected by the time you move in, they need to be listed on a 30-day or year-end form. These forms represent a request for a warranty service and listed items that are covered under warranty that must be addressed by the builder within a specific amount of time.

If you are unable to make the PDI, you can always ask the builder and try to change the date. If that is not possible, you are able to send a designate (such as your real estate agent or friend/family member) - just provide your builder with written authority to sign the PDI form. 

Check out our post with tips for doing your PDI inspection - CLICK HERE.

Questions about buying condos in Ottawa? I would love to chat. Fill out the form below and ask away!

When Do I Have To Pay The Deposit?

Deposit structure ottawa condos.jpg

Question: When do I have to pay the deposit when I am purchasing a pre-construction condo through the developer?

Every condominium project in Ottawa will have a different deposit structure, however the typical deposit required is 20% paid in four instalments.

Example based on a $350,000 purchase price:

At time of signing - $5,000 
30 days from signing - Balance up to 5% - $12,500
90 days from signing - Another 5% - $17,500
180 days from signing - Another 5% - $17,500
Occupancy - Another 5% - $17,500

Total paid is the 20% deposit which (based on $350,000 purchase price) is $70,000.

Keep in mind that every condo development is different, and the deposit structure even might change from initial launch to nearing completion. Builders typically require higher deposits at the beginning of a project, as the bank that is financing the building will have set out requirements in order to start construction. As the project gets underway, the developer typically has more room to negotiate amounts and dates, with extensions or even reducing the amounts. 

Have a question about deposits or purchasing a pre construction condo here in Ottawa? I would love to chat!

What Is The Ten Day Cooling Off Period?

pre construction cooling off period Ottawa

As per the Ontario Condominium Act, each developer has certain restrictions and rules to follow that are in place protect you, the consumer. When you buy a newly-built condo direct from the developer, you have the right to cancel the purchase within a 10 calendar day cooling-off period. This was put in place so when on launch day you get all caught up in the hype and excitement, you are still able to make sure you don't have any buyers remorse. Just remember that there is no cooling off period on re-sale condominiums.

Things to be aware of:
- The clock on the 10 day period starts from the time you receive a copy of the fully signed purchase and sale agreement OR the disclosure statement, which ever comes later.
- You also have the right to cancel a sales agreement within 10 days after any "material change" (significant change) to the disclosure statement.
- If you decide to cancel, the developer must refund any deposit plus any interest that may be payable.
- A developer is not able to terminate your purchase and sale agreement without your consent or a court order.

During the 10 day cooling off period we highly suggest that you:
- Have your lawyer to review the agreement and discuss any concerns that you might have about the purchase or the agreement. This is the time to request any changes to the agreement, not once the cooling off period is over.
- Speak to your mortgage broker and ensure you are pre-approved for the purchase. Keep in mind the closing date and get in writing that they are able to do a rate hold till your closing. Not all mortgage brokers and banks are able to do long rate holds for pre-construction condos in Ottawa.

More questions? I would love to help you find the answer! Contact Matt.

What Is Interim Occupancy? And What Are These Fees?

Gotham Condo in Ottawa that is under construction.

Gotham Condo in Ottawa that is under construction.

Typically when you purchase a pre-construction condominium here in Ottawa you will be given two different dates, the interim occupancy date and the closing date.  Let's try and explain the difference between the two and what how exactly they come up with the fee amount.

The Closing Date and Interim Occupancy?

The closing date is when the ownership of the condominium unit is registered and transfered over to the buyer (you) from the builder. This registration cannot take place until all the units in the condominium building have reached a degree of construction (as set out in the regulations of the Condo Act).  However, before the building is registered many of the units will be substantially complete and will already have obtained the occupancy permits from the city. This allows the builder to move the owners in, without the owner having ownership of the unit. It is standard for a developer to require the buyer to take occupancy before the buyer gets ownership, and will be written out in the agreement of purchase and sale.


Section 80(4) of the Condo Act allows a developer to charge a monthly occupancy fee to the buyer upon occupancy of the condo unit. The monthly fee may include;

- Interest on the balance of the purchase price at the rate of interest that the bank of Canada has most recently reported as the chartered bank rate for a conventional one year mortgage rate.
- An amount reasonably estimated (on a monthly basis) for municipal taxes, for that unit.
- The projected monthly common expenses contribution, for that unit.

Essentially it is roughly what you would be paying, but just to the builder. None of these fees goes against your mortgage, property taxes etc. Keep in mind that you are not the legal owner of the condo unit yet, and there is no condo corporation to pay any fees to. 

Your Rights During Occupancy

During the interim occupancy period, the developer has a number of rules (as per section 80(6) of the Condo Act) that they have to follow and that the buyer must follow. These include:

- The developer shall repair and maintain the property and the unit in the same manner as the future condo corporation, which will maintain the building and units after registration of the corporation.
- The developer may withhold consent to an assignment of the right to occupy the unit.
- The developer may charge a reasonable fee for consenting to any assignment of the occupancy.
- The developer must (within 30 days of registration), notify the buyer in writing of the date and information of the registration, (unless the buyer receives a registrable deed to the unit).
- The buyer is able to pay the entire balance of the purchase price, on the date of interim occupancy, in order to reduce or eliminate the interest component of the monthly occupancy fee that the developer can charge.

Do you have a specific question about occupancy and interim occupancy fees? I would love to chat! 

Ottawa Condo Rentals Up Almost 40 Per Cent in 2014

It was a great year for Ottawa condo rentals, seeing 1,044 units leased through the MLS in 2014, which is up 37% over 2013 and 79% over 2012. The condo market is a healthy portion of the total rentals across the city, accounting for 41% of the 2,551 rentals for of all residential property types in 2014. Total residential rentals are up 22% from the 2,091 in 2013, and 53% from the 1,664 in 2012.

The average rent for an Ottawa condo did not see much change dropping from $1,660 in 2013 to $1,658 in 2014. The average rent for all property types in 2014 was $1,740 which is up almost 1% from $1,727 in 2013.

We saw the average prices of rentals peak at $1,877 in 2009 for all property types,  and $1,796 in 2008 for condos. Each year since, we have seen a slight decline in average rents while the number of units rented has continued to grow (except in all property class where it hit a low in 2013).

Why? Since the Ottawa Real Estate Board does not include a spot for square footage, I am not able to include price per square foot or average unit size. However, based on what we are seeing in the local market and across the country, condo units are getting smaller which lowers rents. We are continuing to see the amounts of units rented increase year over year, with only a slight decrease in price. This helps to prove the demand for rental properties in Ottawa continues to be strong enough to absorb the amount of new supply. Also, it is important to note that the Ottawa condo rental market is only 5% of the total condo rental market for Toronto which had 22,765 condos leased in 2014 through the MLS.

Are you looking to rent out your pre-construction condo here in Ottawa? I would love to help. I have been able to help many clients with purchase and rentals at Urban Capital's Central, Mondrian, and East Market buildings, with Brad Lamb's SoBa and Gotham buildings, Claridge's Claridge Plaza phases, as well as other Domicile, Charlesfort, and Richcraft buildings - among others. If you are coming close to your PDI and occupancy date, don't wait - lets chat and get your unit rented.

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Banks Unsure of Micro Condos?


With the recent launch of Smart House Ottawa, and as more micro condo units are being built, buyers are excited for moving into these new spaces... However, if they can move in will be another storey. We are hearing rumours that banks and other lenders are not approving financing for these micro-condos. 

Representatives from the Big Five banks have all said they have rules on their financing policies that restrict approving mortgages that are under 500sqft. Up until the last few years, micro condos or bachalor studios were few and rare. With the shift in size, the lenders are being cautious and want to make sure they "understand" them. 

While this policy for minimum size is a requirement, every application is reviewed on a case per case basis. I have sold multiple units over the past few years that are under 500sqft and a few dozen that were under 600sqft, all without size issues by the lender. While we have heard rumours here in Ottawa, we have not seen any first hand accounts where the mortgage was declined due to size.

So What Do I Do?

Before you sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, ensure you have a financing clause, and have consulted a mortgage broker. Make sure they have the green light before moving ahead with the purchase and that they have the correct sqftage. Last thing you want is an issue on closing day.

Examples of Small Units in Ottawa?

There are two units per floor inside Mondrian (324 Laurier Ave at Bank, 2009) that are under 500sqft and another three units that are under 600sqft. The East Market (180 York, 383 Cumberland, 179 George, 2001-2007) has six units per floor that are under 500sqft, and another eleven per floor that are or under 600sqft. 

Are you looking to buy or finance a micro condo and want some help? I would love to chat...

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Written by Matt Richling

Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle. 

What to expect on closing day in Ottawa for a first time buyer!?

First of all, congratulations on getting this far.

If you are like me, you are probably reading this the night or so before closing day, and are trying to figure what your upcoming day will be like. Well the good news is that most of the possible issues or problems have most likely already happened, or out of your control.  What that means is, you shouldn't find out on closing day, that you didn't get financing (that was the week leading up to closing!). So... GO TO SLEEP. No point in being tired and cranky!

Most likely you have either signed the paperwork already (a day or two earlier) with the lawyer, or will be doing it all on closing day. They would have set up a time for you to come in, and would have told you the amount that you will need in a certified cheque or bank draft. This amount is always more than you think it is going to be (closing costs, lawyer fee's, etc), so do NOT guess it. They will tell you exactly what it will be. If there is a difference in the amount, the lawyer will send you a cheque after closing with all the closing documents. Make sure to bring ID, and anything else that they have requested from you. While going through all the paperwork with the lawyer, don't feel rushed. Make sure to ask for clarification, or to have the lawyer run through it with you. Everyone makes mistakes and better to catch them now, then find out later. Also helps you better when you understand what you are signing and why.

Once the paperwork is signed, the lawyers need to send the funds, register the sale, etc. Legally the lawyer is not able to release the keys until everything is completed. Usually this is sometime in the late afternoon, 3pm-5pm. Since the registry office (yes... it is all online now) closes at 5pm, they will rush to do it last minute or have to wait till next day. What this also means, is don't plan on moving in, mid-day. Many people will book the internet to be installed, and then find out they don't have the keys yet. Best to schedule everything the next day, when you are more likely to have the keys.

If you are closing on a work day and won't be able to sign or grab the keys, let everyone know this. Let your agent and your lawyer know, so they can make alternate arrangements. Most law offices close at 5pm, so would suck not to be able to get the keys!

While it can be stressful, try and enjoy the experience. It is all part of the process of home ownership!

Questions about what to expect? Click on the button below to contact me, I would love to help!

Written by Matt Richling

Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle. 

Tips For Doing Your Condo's PDI Inspection

You have been waiting (possibly up to three years) for this day, congratulations you can see your condo in real life for the first time! The PDI or pre-delivery inspection is an opportunity for you to walk through the condo with the builders representative before you take occupancy. The main purpose of the PDI is for you and the builder to make a list of deficiencies before you move in. This could be anything that is damaged, incomplete, missing items, as well as anything that is not functioning the way it is intended. Here are a few tips that you can use to help get the most out of your PDI!

- Be nice with the developers representative. Typically, they are the one who does all the PDI's for the building and will really be able to tell you what has to still be done. They are usually very picky, so make it easy for them help you. 

- Be picky. While the developers representative works for the builder, they will generally be blunt with you depending on what the deficiency is. They will either say that is not something that the builder will repair/replace/etc, or they will. 

- Don't rush! This is your time, and your PDI. Don't let the representative rush you, but also don't take up their whole day. Get to the appointment early and be prepared.

- Look at every room, but the most important is the kitchen and then the bathrooms. This is where your condo has the most moving parts, and has more things to be installed incorrectly.

- Details! Turn on every faucet, flush every toilet, close every door, inspect every wall, open every cabinet. Anything could have been installed incorrectly, so don't be afraid to point something out.

- Bring someone with you. The more eyes the better! Bring your agent (especially if you are planning on renting it out, or selling it shortly after), friend, parents, etc.

- Don't hire a home inspector for an apartment style condo PDI. Home inspectors are not trained to inspect brand new condos, they are trained to find problems in old homes. Save the $300-500.

- Read your APS (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) again before your PDI. There will be numerous schedules, like the one for finishes and features. Compare what you see with what was promised you, and make sure you are getting what is agreed.

- If you missed something during the PDI, you still have the 30-day Tarion form. After you take possession, if you find a 'deficiency' you can use your 30-day form to go through Tarion.

- Pick your battles. If you do have deficiencies with your Ottawa condo after you take possession (and many will), pick your battles carefully and focus on the most important issues. Understand you are most likely never going to have a 100% perfect unit.

- Bring a tape measure and flashlight. While you will have the builders floor plan as a guide for furniture, this is your chance to see exactly how much space you have for the couch, dining table or bed. Remember that the builder is allowed to modify space to a small degree, so it might change from the original plan. Sometimes the power might be off, if the builder is working on a certain part of the building, so having a flashlight just incase doesn't hurt! (Thanks to jcphoenix for the flashlight tip!)

Do you have questions about PDI's, or purchasing a condo? I would love to help.

Written by Matt Richling.

Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home or condo that fits their lifestyle. 

Micro Condos - Nothing New for Ottawa

 Studio condos like the one above from 360 Lofts (360 Cumberland St). 

 Studio condos like the one above from 360 Lofts (360 Cumberland St). 

Right now, there is a lot of buzz about micro-sized condos and the urbanization of cities. Micro-condos, also known as studios, are condos without a separate bedroom area and typically under 500sqft. Urban Capital is about to launch a micro-condo building called Smart House Ottawa, after the instant success of its sister Smart House Toronto. With this new building comes talk about if it will sell, and who will buy them. 

Funny thing is that studio condos or micro-condos are not a new concept to Ottawa. Many post 2000's condo buildings have at least one! Lets take a look at a few of the buildings around the downtown core that have studios or micro condos.

- Galleria Phase Two (234 Besserer) has two units per floor under 500sqft. "The Williams" which is 490sqft and priced at $201,000,  and "The Danby" which is 410sqft priced at $167,000 (both units priced on 1st floor).

- Claridge Plaza Phase Three (242 Rideau) has one studio per floor. The Broadway  is 440sqft and priced around $185,000 (on 3rd floor).

- The East Market (180 York, 383 Cumberland, and 179 George), has one unit per floor in each phase under the 450sqft mark. These do have separate bedroom areas. This was the first building by Urban Capital that brought small, modern condos to Ottawa.

- 360 Lofts (360 Cumberland St) which had a large number of 404sqft studios, sold almost 70% in a couple days with prices starting at $187,900.

Some newer buildings include...

A kitchen inside a studio at 360 Lofts.

A kitchen inside a studio at 360 Lofts.

- SoBa (Catherine St) which has 56 units under 509sqft and another 36 units from 511sqft - 516sqft.  Prices start at $181,000 for the 407sqft unit with a few units left. Smallest unit is 373sqft.

- Gotham (Lyon and Gloucester) has 41 units all under 436sqft, with prices starting from $226,900 almost fully sold out.

- Central Phase 1 (354 Gladstone) has 32 units under 478sqft. Which all sold out fairly quick.

- The Slater (Slater St) which has four studio floorplans per floor (64 units total) that are between 408sqft and 425sqft, with pricing starting at $210,000.

- Centropolis (Kent and Gladstone) which has units that are 295sqft, 305sqft, 315sqft, and 340sqft. Infact, there are 44 units in the building or 10 per floor that are under 340sqft. This building is fully sold out. One studio has re-sold in the building earlier this year at $195,000 (list price on MLS).

These are just a few buildings that include studio apartments. Could you live in 400sqft space? Many people in Ottawa already are, and with very few re-sales I would say that they love them. Looking to purchase a micro-condo, I would love to help!

*Pricing taken from builder price sheets over the last 5 years. Not up-to date prices for all units.

Written by Matt Richling

Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle. 

New Construction Ottawa Condos

Pre Construction Condo News Ottawa

Constantly updated list of new construction condos in Ottawa. These are blog posts that are under the new construction heading.

Have a question about new construction condos here in Ottawa? I would love to help. Fill out the form below.

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