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    Can I Combine Condo Units in Toronto?

    Combining units in a loft or condo is possible, but proceed with caution. It’s an involved process, and doesn’t always work out well.

    Written By Nathaniel Hartree-Hallifax

    Combining Condo Units: If Deadmau5 did it, why can’t I?

    A story about Deadmau5, the very talented Canadian DJ, is now a precautionary tale. But this one isn’t for youngsters or about listening to loud techno music — it’s for condo and loft owners who want to combine multiple units...

    If you’re really set on a specific building, and if you really need the extra space, buying two units and creating one home out of them is sometimes the only viable option.

    On June 2015, Joel Zimmerman, more commonly known as Deadmau5, listed his home at the Merchandise Lofts for $2.5 million. Almost a year later, on April 28, 2016, the loft was sold for $1,650,000. The loft consisted of two penthouse units, combined to make a 3,000 square foot crash pad and music studio.

    While he had created a stunning unit at (likely) considerable expense, the moral of this story is that combining multiple units doesn’t always pay off. Particularly in a loft where the combined units become the largest unit in the building. As they say, you don't want to be the largest house on the block.

    That said, if you’re really set on a specific building, and if you really need the extra space, buying two units and creating one home out of them is sometimes the only viable option.


    Option 1: Pre-Plan

    One option for those looking to combine multiple units is to do so before the actual construction occurs. In fact, many developers are open to changing floor plans around for this type of buyer, especially since the tendency to combine units is becoming more and more prevalent.

    One obvious benefit to taking this route is that layouts wind up feeling better thought out: floor plans can be adjusted prior to construction in order to optimize living conditions.

    If the major drawback to combining existing units is the possibility of an awkward setup (think kitchen beside bedroom with dining room all the way down the hall), then pre-construction combinations certainly offer a solution.

    Option 2: Look to the Lofts

    Hard lofts are a great starting place when looking for a place that will accommodate a post-construction renovation of this stature, whereas many of the more contemporary condos simply can’t bare the weight involved in removing entire walls.

    The dividing walls found in hard loft conversions, on the other hand, have been added after the initial construction of the building, meaning that removing them will likely have no impact on the structure’s overall stability.

    That said, this process still involves obtaining approval, which can be either time consuming or expensive, or worst of all, both. It can, however, result in a large, beautiful, customized loft for you to call home.

    Weighing the Pros and Cons

    Clearly, combining multiple units is a complicated matter. One of the greatest complications is purchasing the off-market unit next to the actively listed unit, from an owner who likely has no interest in selling. From our experience, you often have to pay above market to persuade the owner who isn’t in the market. With the right budget though, it is certainly possible.

    Starting your search for a new home? Click on any of these links to access active listings, sold listings or contact a Strata agent.

    For any questions about this article or media inquires, please email