If you’re planning a metropolitan getaway this summer, you’ll want to be sure to pick a destination that doesn’t require a car.
The reason? In addition to all the other ways COVID has changed travel, it also put an even bigger price tag on car rentals. Since renting a car was never cheap to begin with, the estimated 30 to 50% price increase in some U.S. cities is nothing to scoff at.
And even in pre-pandemic times, renting a car has always added significantly to the cost of the vacation.
Fortunately, some of the best summer destinations are also incredibly walkable, and only a short Uber or taxi ride from the airport— which also makes them much more affordable.
Grab a bus, taxi or rideshare from the airport to your accommodations and then start exploring by foot, two wheels or public transportation. Do some research beforehand, too, as COVID may have changed hours and days of operation.
10 Great American Cities
We’ve compiled a list of 10 destination cities, plus details on how much you should plan on spending per day in each. The per diem travel amounts cited for each city are from travel site Budget Your Trip.
Seattle | New York | San Francisco | Boston | Washington, D.C. | Burlington, Vermont | Portland, Oregon | Minneapolis | Philadelphia | Key West, Florida
Keep in mind that on and off-season prices in these destinations may vary, and you should also plan on shopping around for the best rates on accommodations— which means checking the prices not only of local hotels and motels, but also hostels, VRBOs and Airbnb rentals.
Ready for some inspiration to fuel your next vacation? Here are 10 destinations worth considering — no car rental required.
A West Coast favorite, Seattle is both highly walkable and filled to the brim with things to keep you busy. Start your trip off with a kayaking excursion on Elliot Bay, then head over to Pike Place to sample a variety of local delicacies from the food stalls and stroll through artisanal shops. Make sure you hang out for the fish tossing at Pike Place Fish Market.
If sightseeing is on your to-do list, be sure to make a stop at the Seattle Space Needle and the Seattle Aquarium. The public transportation system is extensive and includes buses, light rail, a monorail, street cars and bike sharing.
For a nature-themed getaway just beyond downtown, check out Discovery Park, a 534-acre park filled with hiking and biking trails galore. Plan on spending $156 per day, with $94 towards lodging.
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2. New York City
This is an obvious choice for any traveler looking for the ultimate metropolitan getaway. The Big Apple is best seen on-foot and with public transportation of which there is plenty including the famed subway system and an extensive bus system.
Window shop along Fifth Avenue (Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci) for the full New York experience or spend a few days exploring the ultra-hip art scene in Brooklyn and uber-diverse food scene in Queens.
In the mood for a coastal jaunt? Pop over to Coney Island for a carnival-style beach fix.
You can expect to spend roughly $239 per person per day, with $137 of that budget for accommodations. Expedia has a long list of hotels that will easily keep you under-budget.
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3. San Francisco
Another pricey but worth-it destination to hit up this summer is the city by the bay. Some would argue that the only way to see San Francisco is by walking it — just be sure to pack the right shoes (see: big hills) and a sweater for overcast days. Summer can be gloomy.
Filled with street art from world-renowned muralists, alleyway cafés, and sprawling green parks, it’s a hard city to beat as far as walkability.
There is also an extensive bus system, including traditional and electric vehicles. The famed cable cars are more than a novelty. The three lines can transport you to various popular spots in the city, including Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square.
Spend some time down by the wharf, Pier 39 or the Ferry Building, all with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay. The Ferry Building has a weekly farmers market but it’s also the place where ferries take people across the bay. A lovely excursion.
Consider a bike tour across the Golden Gate Bridge. Your cost per day in San Francisco will be roughly $172 per person, of which you’ll need roughly $103 for a hotel or Airbnb.
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If the East Coast is calling your name this summer, answer with a getaway to Boston. Spend a day walking the historic Freedom Trail, catch a game at Fenway, and get your fill of shopping with a stroll down Newbury Street.
Be sure to save your appetite for an impromptu food tour at Faneuil Hall, and budget some time to explore the beautiful grounds of the Boston Garden.
Boston has a solid public transportation system including a subway and buses. Take the T, as the subway is called, through the city and into the suburbs. You can also rent bikes for the day.
Booking a longer trip? Take the train to Cambridge for even more city to explore the town and Harvard by foot. Plan on spending about $202 per day on your trip, with $132 of that reserved for accommodations. Save even more by booking an Airbnb in Cambridge or Revere.
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5. Washington, D.C.
A trip to the nation’s Capital can be a great way to spend your next vacay, especially if you’re a museum buff.
You could spend entire days touring the Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, or even the International Spy Museum. Design your own city walking tour and check off sites like the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, and even the United States Botanic Gardens.
There are so many ways to get to the sites that you will never miss a car or have the extra worry of D.C. parking. It’s a walking town for sure, but there are scooter- and bike-share programs along with extensive bus and metro systems.
Hit the water with a kayak or paddleboard rental on the Georgetown Waterfront, or check out the many wineries, distilleries, and yes— axe throwing venues in the Ivy City neighborhood. Expect to spend around $155 per person (per day), with $91 budgeted for an Airbnb.
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6. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington might not be the first vacation destination you dream up this summer, but it’s certainly one worth considering. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a great summer locale for all sorts of water activities including fishing, sailing, or even taking a historic boat tour.
There’s a bus system and a free shuttle from the University of Vermont to the lake.
With comprehensive bike trails all over town, you can easily spend the day cycling or walking it’s streets filled with food trucks, upscale shopping outlets, and plenty of live music. Plan on budgeting at least $134 per day to stay in a Burlington VRBO.
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7. Portland, Oregon
This West Coast capital city makes for a great summer travel destination — and not just because of the endless beach reads to be found at the world-famous Powell’s Books. Packed with incredible dining experiences (don’t miss out on the food carts at Fifth Avenue), breweries, and even an entire forest in the city (see: Forest Park), you’re very unlikely to get bored in Portland.
Get around the city via buses, light rail, street cars and bicycles. There are also plenty of hiking trails and paths around town.
If you’re the “stop and smell the roses” type, be sure to do so in the International Rose Test Garden. And whatever you do— don’t leave without trying at least one of the city’s many eclectic donut bakeries. You should expect to spend roughly $136 per day in Portland, with at least $76 of that for an Airbnb.
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Another great city to visit that doesn’t require a car? Minneapolis.
Not only is this city highly walkable, but it’s comprehensive bike trails also make it a cyclist’s dream. Bike across the picturesque Stone Arch Bridge, or go chase some waterfalls and spend a day cycling or hiking Minnehaha Falls.
For a city-minded fix, be sure to spend some time exploring the renowned Minneapolis Institute of Art, and stock up on all your souvenirs at the world-famous Mall of America.
To really get the best sense of the city, and satisfy all your food cravings, be sure to book one of these highly-rated culinary tours. Budget at least $164 per day for a stay in Minneapolis, with roughly $100 for a room in one of these downtown hotels.
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Every city has its own unique history, but few boast quite as much as Philadelphia. From Independence Hall, to the Liberty Bell, and architecturally-impressive (and dare we say spooky?) Eastern State Penitentiary — Philly is a history buff’s dream.
If you like museums, don’t leave the city without a trip to the Museum of the American Revolution and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
For a different kind of artsy experience, be sure to make a stop at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens featuring an outdoor labyrinth of folk art and mosaics. Last but certainly not least, be sure to budget some time in Northeast Philly and Fishtown for some epic eats. Buses, trains and trolleys can get you everywhere you want to go.
You should plan on spending about $151 per day, with $95 of that going towards a hotel or Airbnb.
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10. Key West, Florida
Florida brings the heat during summertime, but probably one of the best places to stay cool is in Key West, the famous island city that’s part of the Florida Keys archipelago.
Key West can be reached through a flight to the local airport, which has direct flights to Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Charlotte, North Carolina, and a few others. If you’re interested in a water adventure, fly into Fort Myers (a bigger airport with more service) and take the Key West Express high-speed ferry. It will take about 3.5 hours but you can relax with a cocktail in hand.
Once in Key West, trams plus bike and scooter rentals will get you where you want to go. And Duval Street and environs are highly walkable.
Besides hanging out on Higgs or Smathers beach (which you should definitely do) and hitting up the shops and bars of Duval Street and Mallory Square, there’s still a fair number of activities to keep busy in this tropical paradise.
Visit the famous Hemingway Home and Museum or take a tour of the Truman Little White House. This oasis also boasts a ton of beautiful parks, lush gardens, and of course— plenty of watersports. For this trip, you’ll want to plan on spending roughly $170 per day, with at least $106 of that for a hotel or Airbnb.
You Can Go Carless
Traveling without a rental car is bound to save you some money (and parking-related headaches) when it comes to visiting an urban destination— but it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to traveling smarter.
Be sure to book your trip as early as you can to lock in the best rates, and also check out our other guides on earning credit card points and saving money while traveling.
Contributor Larissa Runkle specializes in finance, real estate and lifestyle topics. She is a regular contributor to Codetic.
Do I Repay My Boyfriend for Vacation When I Dump Him? – Codetic – Where money and the personal finance community come together.
I have been dating a guy for eight months. He has always insisted on paying for our dates, generally meals, and wouldn’t hear my objections. So I relaxed.
But he was unhappy with a gift I bought him, and now he brings up that he always pays for our dates. He still wants to take me on a trip that he paid for. I won’t go. Should I pay for half of the trip and walk away?
What did this guy expect? That you’d quietly sock away your half of the check for eight months straight so you could buy him a Rolex?
You’ve already made the important decisions: You’re not going on this trip. You’re walking away. You just need my help sorting out a few details.
I do think you should pay your half of the vacation, provided that you can afford to without causing yourself financial hardship. This isn’t really about him, though.
This guy clearly likes to play head games. Even if he treated you to eight months of fancy dates, that doesn’t make you a mind reader. I suspect that even if you’d given him a Rolex, he’d be picking away at you for something else.
By paying for your half of this vacation, you’re setting things straight in your own mind. It was your boyfriend’s choice to pay for eight months’ worth of dates. He is not a victim, even though he’s going to insist otherwise.
I’d suggest sending him the money via Venmo or Paypal right before you tell him you won’t be accompanying him. Boom. End of discussion. Don’t open the door for your soon-to-be-ex to hem and haw about why it really isn’t necessary for you to pay him back — while at the same time guilt-tripping you about the fact that he paid for this vacation.
Try to avoid rehashing the past eight months. That will turn into an argument you simply can’t win with this guy.
Focus on how you’re feeling right now. You’re no longer enjoying his company as the result of his incessant complaining. I think paying not to go on vacation with this man sends a pretty strong message. I’m not holding out hope that he’ll actually hear the message. But at least you’ll have set the record straight for yourself.
In the future, I’d caution against letting someone pay for everything, no matter how much they insist. Some people may insist on paying the bill for everything because they enjoy treating their partners. But sometimes there’s a hidden motivation. It’s about their egos, or they’re setting ridiculous expectations for you in the process. When someone insists on paying 100% of the time over your objections, don’t automatically interpret it as a message of generosity. Listen closely. They’re not hearing your objections.
Regardless of how you approach this discussion, hold your ground. You’re not going to date this man any longer. This trip is now a vacation for one.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at Codetic. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
Participating in a Brand Ambassador Program for a Company | Personal Finance Blog – Tips & Advice from UnitedFinances.com
Many schemes promise financial rewards if you participate in them. Unfortunately, some of them are simply used by dubious people to take advantage of unsuspecting persons.
We suggest that you ask the question “what is in it for them?” before being a part of any scheme that promises financial reward. This is because a system that equally benefits from your participation should be able to keep up with its promises.
For instance, we advise that people stay away from Ponzi schemes as the source of their earnings is questionable. On that note, you should know that participating in a brand ambassador program of a reliable company is worth your while.
This is because even the company stands to benefit from your participation. For instance, it has been discovered that people are likely to deal with goods or service companies that are recommended by brand ambassadors. For more on how running a brand ambassador program helps businesses, you can read this.
We will discuss how you can take advantage of such a strategic marketing program in this article. We strongly advise that you keep reading considering what you stand to learn and gain.
What Is a Brand Ambassador Program?
This is a strategic marketing system by a company that aims to raise people who can act as the brand’s face. The responsibility of these individuals will be to help the business create a positive image, especially among the target audience. Also, well-known companies have these programs to maintain and improve their public image.
A while ago, the concept of handling this portfolio was something that only celebrities in the entertainment, sporting world and other facets were exclusively allowed to do. This is because these people have loyal fans who believe that whatsoever they endorse is worth it.
The truth is that the use of celebrities is still very much a marketing tactic but other people can also play a huge part in promoting a business. This is why many of these companies have set up programs to identify and select people able to help.
The job of a brand ambassador program company is to hire and train brand ambassadors. Many businesses turn to these professional services for help so that they do not have to go through the trouble of training and monitoring these corporate representatives.
Ways You Can Act as a Brand Ambassador
Once upon a time, the only way anyone could act as a brand ambassador was by physical presence. Although physical presence is still very much used and appreciated, there is the option of being an online influencer for the company. Let us take a look at the implications of being an in-person and online brand ambassador:
People who participate this way are charged with the responsibility of having conversations that promote the interest of the company. This can be in a marketing or conference event where awareness of the goods and/or service will be done.
In such gatherings, they set up and run tables as well as showcase the products or services in appealing ways. For instance, product demos can be organized for this purpose.
Furthermore, it is not unusual to see such people distribute marketing materials such as posters and stickers. Also, it is common to see in-person brand promoters wear T-Shirts, Hats, and other clothing items that present the company in a good light.
Information technology has and is playing a huge part in how companies can create brand awareness and record massive sales. One of the ways this has been possible is by making good use of online brand ambassadors.
For more on this subject, you can visit: https://www.business2community.com/tech-gadgets/importance-information-technology-business-today-01393380
Unlike the in-person option, these portfolio holders work remotely by using various strategies to create, maintain, and/or promote the brand’s identity. Organized and positive result-yielding activities are carried out on social media platforms to achieve this.
They post visual and/or written content regularly on chat groups and message boards that are aimed at portraying a good image of the company. Other than this, some of these online corporate representatives write reviews in favor of the business they represent.
This is a great tactic considering that some people can only decide to order a product or service after they have consulted reviews. However, such reviews should not seem biased or subjective as this might be a turn-off for some prospective clients.
Whether in-person or online option, these corporate representatives work to promote the brand amongst their circle of influence. This might be in person or via what digital technology offers.
We have discussed the 2 major ways you can participate in these programs and hope that you make the right decision. However, you should not also forget to make sure the company is reliable. For instance, they should not be into illegitimate operations.
What buyers can learn from the Urbancorp collapse – Romana King – Personal Finance Articles, Real Estate News
4 rules that help reduce the risks that come with buying a pre-construction condo or home
No one would blame you if you had a sudden case of cold-feet when faced with buying a pre-construction condo, townhome or single-family detached home these days. The sudden collapse and current legal entanglement of Urbancorp, one of Toronto’s fastest growing developers, has highlighted the risks associated with buying new builds—risks not immediately apparent to the average homebuyer, but that can be mitigated and even avoided.
As highlighted in the recent Globe and Mail articles, Urbancorp buyers were surprised to learn that the money they’d invested into purchasing these pre-construction homes was not protected. Under the new home-warranty administrator Tarion Warranty Corp., only a fraction of this deposit money could be returned to the buyers of nine buildings impacted by Urbancorp’s bankruptcy proceedings.
Like all builders, Urbancorp required buyers to pay a deposit in installments. To illustrate how this type of deposit can quickly creep up, let’s assume a buyer is purchasing a $350,000 new-build condo. Upon signing of the contract, you’d have to fork out $5,000, with another $12,500 within 10 to 15 days—bringing your total invested deposit up to 5% within two weeks. It doesn’t stop there. At the 30 day, 90 day and 180 day mark, you’d have to fork out another $17,500. So that by six months your total invested deposit is now $70,000.
Yet, under Tarion’s deposit insurance program—created to protect homebuyers in the event a builder files for bankruptcy or significantly breaches the sales contract—insured deposits on condos are capped at $20,000, while deposits on freehold purchases are capped at $40,000. To put this in perspective, if you’d stuck your money in a bank and that bank had failed and filed for bankruptcy, you would’ve seen as much as $100,000 of your money protected under the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. (CIDC)program (also created to protect investors in the event a banker insolvency).
“[The compensation is] peanuts,” told Alex Oren (buyer of an Urbancorp townhome) to the Globe and Mail. “Homes cost $1-million minimum in this crazy market and we pay such big down payments, the money has to be safe somewhere. This is an open door to steal people’s money.”
Sadly, the nine projects and more than 900 unit-holders that bought Urbancorp developments are now in a holding pattern: Waiting to see what the courts say about the bankruptcy and the mountain of debt facing Urbancorp and its CEO Alan Saskin. (If you’re in this position, check out Tarion’s page, dedicated to the Urbancorp situation, for updates and for next steps.)
But for potential pre-construction buyers there are some simple ways to protect your investment and your money, should you choose to go the pre-construction route.
Rule No. 1: When buying pre-built, get representation
For real estate brokers Brendan Powell and Melanie Piche (of the BREL Team), it came as no surprise that Urbancorp succumbed and filed for bankruptcy on April 29, 2016.
“Realtors have been expecting this for years,” explains Piche. “Most of the realtors that work in Toronto’s downtown core knew there were problems with Urbancorp and we’ve known for years that condos and townhomes by this builder were riskier. The buildings have had consistent and ongoing problems, and that’s always a big red flag.”
But for most buyers this type of industry insight isn’t immediately apparent. So, Powell suggests getting representation through your own real estate agent. It may sound self-serving—the realtors make a commission on each sale—but it’s actually sound, practical advice. “The builder’s realtor doesn’t represent or work for you, they work for the builder.”
To get the best representation, seek out a realtor that is comfortable and knowledgeable about the type of pre-built you want and the area of the city you’re interested in buying. That’s because the devil reallyis in the details, when it comes to risks associated with pre-construction purchases.
Toronto real estate lawyer, David Strashin, knows this only too well. He confesses: “I’m not a big fan of pre-construction. The purchase agreement contains too many opportunities for the builder to amend and extend and that can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty.”
For example, many builders are charged development fees by municipalities but pass these costs on to each purchaser. While this might be in the sales contract, many buyers are shocked at how quickly these extra costs add up. As such, Strashin suggests looking for a clause that puts a ceiling on how much extra can be charged once the building is complete. “Reputable builders will often put a cap on these costs.” If not, lawyers or even realtors will often negotiate for a cap in favour of the buyer. “When we represent someone, we negotiate a ceiling on these costs, so our buyer isn’t hit with an unexpected $30,000 fee before closing,” says Piche.
Another issue, says Piche, is that builders could restrict assignment sales or rentals until 365 days after the building is incorporated (which is when a condominium becomes official and you take full legal possession of your unit.) “I’ve seen buyers who had to pay $20,000 to the builder just for the right to resell their pre-construction condo,” said Piche. “Builders love all these terms, because they work in their favour. But, like most things in real estate, everything is negotiable. You just need someone to help you do your due diligence and avoid the surprises.”
The key is to find the professionals that understand the type of construction you are purchasing, because they’ll know and understand the rules and expectations and can pay attention to the details that matter—which is what you want when you’re spending half a million dollars or more, said Powell.
Rule No. 2: Before buying, investigate the builder
Before making a commitment to buy, make sure you investigate the builder. “The golden rule in investing is that past performance isn’t indicative of future returns, but in real estate this just isn’t the case,” said Powell.
By examining how satisfied previous buyers are in prior buildings, you can get an idea of the type of builder and the quality of construction you can expect. This, said Piche, goes a long way to alerting you to potential future problems. “If previous buildings have crooked baseboards, a long-list of owner-complaints, or the resell value isn’t as high as other buildings in the area, then consider these red flags,” said Piche. “It’s a good indication of what to expect in the building you’re about to invest in.”
A quick search on HomeStars.com turned up a number of complaints from previous buyers of Urbancorp buildings, some going as far back as two years ago and many for the very buildings that are now part of the bankruptcy proceedings. For instance, Rod Freitas writes:
Worst builder ever by far, customer service is no help, they won’t register your condo building for 2 years and the workmanship is horrible , do yourself a favour buy a home from a different builder !!!!!!!! Not one person in the 2 buildings near me is there a satisfied customer it’s a shame there allowed selling new homes.
Your realtor should provide you actionable insight on both the building as well as the builder, said Piche. But she suggests going one step further: go to previously built developments, walk around and inspect the facilities and talk to current owners. “If you the builder didn’t treat these buyers well, you can bet they won’t treat you well,” says Piche.
When talking to homeowners in previous developments, ask about delays, about customer service and communication, and ask how many change orders took place from when they first purchased to when they moved in. “If you start to see a pattern of problems, consider this a symptom of larger a problem,” said Piche.
Rule No. 3: Now, go one step further
If your investigation alerts you to potential problems, but your heart is set on a specific pre-built unit by a potentially bad builder, then it’s time to dig a little deeper.
While an online search may help shed light on the developer and the project, any real concerns should be addressed by conducting a court search and a search for liens.
A lien is when a creditor (someone who is owed money) goes to court and registers an interest in an asset. That’s a fancy way of saying that they become legal owners of any value in the asset, in an effort to collect a debt owed by the asset owner.
For instance, a lien search against Urbancorp shows that New Generation Marin Inc., a drywall company in Woodbridge, Ont., registered a lien in March 2016 for $189,068.80, among others. In Ontario, you can pay $8 to search for liens online against any company or individual.
For a court search, go to Canadian Legal Information Institute site and search using the developer’s name or the name of the CEO. When I typed in Urbancorp, I got a page of court cases, some dating as far back as 2007, and most involving Urbancorp in some dispute over non-payment of money owed.
Rule No. 4: Put up a fight
But, what if you did all this due diligence and you still find yourself in a building with issues?
Most buyers assume that all new-build lofts, condos and homes are covered by a provincial warranty, but this isn’t the case. Only three provinces—B.C., Quebec and Ontario—make warranty coverage mandatory—making it illegal for a builder to erect a residential new-build construction without registered with Tarion. (Keep in mind, in other provinces, where the warranty program isn’t mandatory, builders can simply opt out of coverage. Often they’ll try to convince homeowners that they’re saving them the registration costs.)
But even with this mandatory coverage, make sure you get your new home warranty in writing. If you’re unsure, go online to determine if your builder is registered with a provincial regulator as a new home builder. This is particularly important for loft or condo conversions—residential units constructed inside an existing building shell. In such situations, new-build warranties often don’t apply.
Once you’ve established that you have a warranty, start to familiarize yourself with the coverage and the due dates. Because to get effective recourse you’ll need to be proactive.
For example, your builder must list all critical dates of the building process in the purchase agreement and contract. If the builder misses these critical dates and requires an extension, a buyer can either agree and seek compensation, or simply get out of the deal. This wasn’t always the case.
In 2001, Keith Markey bought a unit in a soon-to-be constructed condominium tower in downtown Toronto. His initial possession date was Nov. 30, 2002. But as the date approached, the builders started to send him letters notifying him of delays. Markey’s possession date was extended six times before he was finally able to move in. Markey took the builder to court and in 2006, Tarion was compelled to create stiffer rules and regulations regarding the extension of possession dates.
Another big problem is new condo or townhome owners will get to move into their unit, but can’t take possession—full legal ownership—until three, six, nine or even 23 months later. Piche explains that in Ontario, builders have roughly two years to register and incorporate a new building; during this time unit-owners must pay an interim mortgage—the monthly fee based on the mortgage terms you negotiated with a bank—but this money isn’t applied to your actual mortgage and is instead kept by the builder as a form of rent.
It’s quite common in new builds to have a delay between the possession date and the ownership date, says Strashin. The delay is known as “interim occupancy” because you can live in it, but you won’t legally own it. During this time, the developer must satisfy all permit requirements by the city before they can officially register the building and pass ownership on to you. (Quite often the builder isn’t actually finished building the complex during the interim occupancy period, so you should also expect construction noise, dust and delays.) “There’s a lot of litigation when it comes to new construction and missed deadlines. “Thing is these building dates are more aspirational than realistic,” says Strashin.
When in doubt, seek out legal advice. For more on what to expect when buying a pre-construction condo, please read Powell and Piche’s excellent blog on the topic, which offers 10 tips for prospective buyers. Also, familiarize yourself with how to lodge a complaint with Tarion (for more information gohere).
Still, more bad news for Urbancorp buyers
As for the Urbancorp buyers mixed up in this mess, it doesn’t look good. According to a Globe and Mailarticle by real estate reporter Tamsin McMahon:
Toronto housing developer Urbancorp is pushing ahead with a corporate restructuring under creditor protection, saying it owes millions to major banks, home buyers and investors in Israel even as its projects require “tens of millions” more to complete.
In a series of reports posted on the website of Urbancorp’s trustee, KSV Advisory Inc., the company said 22 of its subsidiaries were filing for court protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The move comes less than a month after Urbancorp formally warned creditors that it is insolvent, saying several of its projects were experiencing major cash-flow issues.
“The projects require significant capital in order to be developed,” Urbancorp’s trustee wrote in a May 13 report published on Monday. “The group is in need of funding and will be unable to generate positive cash flow until the projects are advanced. … There are substantial amounts owing to creditors.”
The company owes at least $40-million to major lenders including $4.4-million to Toronto-Dominion Bank, $7.4-million to Atrium Mortgage Investment Corp., $1.1-million to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and $27.3-million to Bank of Nova Scotia as part of a $225-million construction facility it shares with First Capital Realty for a mixed-use joint venture known as Kingsclub.
It appears to owe about $46-million to creditors related to its joint venture with Mattamy Homes to develop more than 1,100 homes in Downsview Park. That includes $22-million to Parc Downsview Park. Ltd., a federal Crown corporation that was transferred to Canada Lands Company Ltd. to sell off the former military base to the private sector. Urbancorp, which owns 51 per cent of the project, and Mattamy purchased the site last June.
Those figures do not include more than $100-million owed to other creditors of the insolvent companies, along with three other Urbancorp subsidiaries and company chief executive officer Alan Saskin, who have independently filed for court protection.
They also do not include the roughly $64-million Urbancorp raised from investors in Israel in December. Of that, $46-million went to pay existing secured lenders, while another $12-million went to pay loans to other Urbancorp projects not related to the Israeli financing, as well as general expenses. Urbancorp’s Israeli bonds have since stopped trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. KSV said it is working with a court-appointed trustee for Israeli bondholders.
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