Have you ever ventured into a sales centre for a new condominium? Did you notice the sleek sales center design, the beautiful brochures, the models of beautiful spaces, even the smell? Everything looks so clean and modern, and the lifestyle is irresistible. I bet you haven’t noticed that there is very little mention of parking. I find it amusing because in terms of amenities, I’ll guarantee you will use parking way more than the pool or a rooftop patio.

Everyone buys into the dream, from the builders, to the sales reps to the potential customers. I’ll admit even I am taken back by how cool some of these developments are but then I ask myself, what the heck is up with the parking situation? It baffles me that someone would buy a condo in Mississauga and not give a second thought to the parking situation. Especially if they are a single first time home buyer and are young. The question I ask my client is, what happens if your life changes, you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, room mate or someone else move in?

When I was in university I became very familiar with the transit in Mississauga. In my 3rd year at University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) I moved to Streetsville where I had to take the bus to school. School was approximately 8km away and would take 13 minutes by car to get there (google maps verified)- and this was driving on local roads and driving the speed limit. Taking the bus…. Anywhere between 50 minutes on a good day to an hour and a half. While I didn’t physically live that far, I had to take 3 buses and if the transfers didn’t line up perfectly I often waited 20 to 30 minutes in freezing weather for the next bus to arrive. My reality of taking the bus in Mississauga sucked!!

Now the reality check. Due to affordability, first time home buyers are more often picking a condominium for their first home. Condominium projects are multi million dollar projects and builders are spending mega bucks to promote these projects. The biggest thing they sell you is the lifestyle, and often these buildings are marketed the same way developers market Downtown Toronto Condos. High walk-scores, subway access and the carefree lifestyle that doesn’t require a car because parking is a huge expense for condo developers. It’s all well and good but I have seen many people buy a condominium in Mississauga and after living there for a short amount of time they realize the downtown dream and the suburban reality can be two different things.

For the record, I am pro transit. I believe it can save you money, it’s better for the environment and it can be less stressful than driving in traffic. However, it’s my job to be a realist and spending 3 hours a day to travel by bus that would take 26 minutes by car just doesn’t fly with me or my typical client. If you are thinking of making that step into home ownership, I always say that you need to plan for the next five years. Ask yourself what is the likelihood your situation will change and you will need another car to make life work?


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