Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have questions about how Options for Homes can help you become a homeowner. We have answers!

About Options

  • Options for Homes is Canada’s largest non-profit developer of attainable ownership housing. As a non-profit social enterprise our sole mission is to make homeownership more accessible for people who have a good income, but are having trouble building up a down payment. We do that through The Options Ready Program, which is designed to help people become confident home buyers, provide financial literacy, and access to a shared equity down payment that helps make ownership more affordable. We have been in operation since 1994 and we’ve won nine industry awards. Our 15th condo is currently under development.

  • Options for Homes is a non-profit social enterprise, but we do not provide social housing. We are developers of high-quality condominiums and townhomes, with a social purpose. We believe that everyone who can afford the carrying costs of a mortgage should be given the opportunity to own a home. The security of homeownership and the financial resilience often associated with it are a social benefit and we’re proud of the way our developments have transformed lives and communities.

  • No. Options is a self-funded social enterprise that operates without the need for government funding. That said, we do frequently receive additional funding from various levels of government, including the City of Toronto and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. When added to the down payment assistance offered through the Options Ready Program, this additional funding helps deepen affordability for our purchasers.

  • We are not motivated by profit, but rather a mission-based goal to help more people become homeowners. We take what would normally be a developer’s profit and commit those funds to shared equity down payments, which are managed by our partner, Home Ownership Alternatives.

  • As a non-profit social enterprise, the proceeds from shared equity contributions seed future projects. When purchasers repay any down payment support with appreciation, the proceeds are used to create new projects, and therefore new opportunities for people to become homeowners. It’s an ongoing cycle that allows us to continue delivering on our mission of creating access to homeownership for future generations.

  • We have been working with Deltera, part of the Tridel Group of Companies, since 2001. As a result, we offer exceptional quality buildings and customer service as well as an excellent selection of standard suite finishes and upgrades.

  • No. We build condominiums for people who are looking for a place to call home. We strongly discourage investors as our mission is to help people to become homeowners. Upon purchase, you will need to sign an affidavit stating that you will occupy the unit. If you receive down payment assistance through the Options Ready Program, you will be required to repay it if you choose to rent out your suite.

  • Currently, Options is focused in the GTA. We are selling The Humber in Weston Village and have a community in pre-development at Markham Rd. and Dunelm St. in Scarborough. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates as new condominiums launch!

Ready Program

  • The Options Ready Program is how Options for Homes delivers on its mission of making homeownership attainable for people with a range of incomes. It's designed to help people become confident home buyers, provide financial literacy and access to a down payment support that helps make homeownership more affordable.

    Down payment support is made possible through a shared equity mortgage, where purchasers are lent a percentage of their purchase price. This loan is registered as a second mortgage and is available to anyone able to qualify for a first mortgage from a tier-one Canadian bank or financial institution.

    There are no required scheduled payments on the shared equity mortgage; repayment is made when you decide to sell your suite and move out. Repayment is based on our shared appreciation model. This means that if the value of your suite has increased by 15% at the time you sell, then the value of the shared equity mortgage also increases by 15%.

  • The down payment support available through the Options Ready Program is accessible to anyone looking to purchase a condominium with Options. The only requirements for down payment support are that you can qualify for a mortgage from a primary lender (a tier-one Canadian bank or credit union), that you make the minimum down payment required to purchase at the time you sign the purchase agreement, and that you intend to live in the Options home.

  • Shared equity is a down payment support program in which you borrow funds to increase the down payment in your home. Increasing your down payment lowers the amount of mortgage you need to obtain from a bank to purchase. This, in turn, lowers your monthly carrying costs and your qualifying income.

    Down payment support from The Options Ready Program typically amounts to 10% to 15% of the purchase price of a home. The amount borrowed is secured through a second mortgage. No payments are due on this mortgage until you sell or pay off your primary mortgage (you can pay it off any time), at which point you repay the same percentage that you borrowed.

    When you sell your home you repay the lender the proportionate value that you borrowed. For instance, when you receive 15% of your home’s value through the Options Ready Program to supplement your down payment, you will, upon resale, repay 15% of your home's resale value. Once you repay the shared equity mortgage, all the future equity gains in your home are yours.

  • No! Anyone who intends to live in their condominium can buy with Options (that means no investors, please!). All you need is your own down payment of 5% and the ability to secure a mortgage with a primary lender by the time of closing. That said, additional levels of down payment support are often available for first-time home buyers through the City of Toronto. Contact us to see if you qualify for additional support.

  • The down payment support made accessible through the Options Ready Program is only available for Options for Homes developments. While it would be amazing if we could offer you support and down payment assistance on any condominium or home you wanted, that's not how the Options model works. However, other benefits of our program, such as below average prices, our financial literacy content, and information on the pre-construction and condo occupancy and closing process is available to all. Visit our Resource Centre for more.

  • You’ll be required to repay the shared equity second mortgage when you sell, no longer live in your home, or if you repay your primary mortgage in full. At that point, 10% to 15% of the current market value of your home is due back. Of course, you can pay it off any time you like, or make installments or lump sum payments to Home Ownership Alternatives, our funding partner.

  • The down payment support accessible through the Options Ready Program is administered by our funding partner, Home Ownership Alternatives. 

    Mortgage Broker Licence #12009

  • Unfortunately, no. You will need to contribute a minimum of 5% down payment from your own funds.

    The Options Ready Program then provides access to additional down payment support made possible through a shared equity second mortgage.

Purchase Process

    1. Visit one of our partner banks to get a mortgage pre-approval. This will help you understand how much you can afford.
    2. Make sure you have at least 5% down payment to purchase a unit.* You can always put down more if you like.
    3. Explore our available suites. Register for the development you’re interested in and we will send you floorplans and prices. At times, we will have limited inventory in a particular development. If we don’t have a suite that’s right for you, we encourage you to register to find out about upcoming projects.
    4. Book an appointment with one of our sales agents.
    5. Make your down payment at the time you sign your purchase agreement.
    6. Once you sign your purchase agreement, there is a 10-day-cooling off period, after which time you’re officially a homeowner!
    7. Obtain your mortgage at the time of closing.
    • you need 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remaining amount
  • Unlike purchasing property on the resale market, prices of pre-construction condominium are not negotiable. The upside of this is that there are never bidding wars when purchasing with Options. Once you select the suite you’re interested in, it is held for you until you sign your agreement of purchase and sale.

  • On a home with a purchase price of $500,000 or less, you only need 5% down payment. For homes over $500,000, you need 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remaining amount.

    For instance, if you purchase a condominium for $550,000, you would need $30,000 down payment. 5% of $500,000 = $25,000 10% of $50,000 = $5,000 Total down payment required = $30,000

  • At the time you sign your purchase agreement.

  • Yes! The more money you put down, the better it is for you, as it will lower your mortgage payment amount. You are still able to access the shared equity second mortgage to top off your down payment if you choose. Our contribution amount is not tied to the amount of your down payment. It’s tied to the value of the home.

  • A mortgage pre-approval is a necessary step in purchasing a condominium with Options. It allows you to understand exactly how much you can afford, and it helps us understand how much down payment support you might need to bridge the gap to purchase. You can obtain a mortgage pre-approval by meeting with a representative from one of our partner lenders. Read more about mortgage pre-approval here.

  • Options for Homes does not issue mortgages. Our purchasers obtain their first mortgage from a bank or credit union, and the shared equity second mortgage available through the Options Ready Program is issued by our funding partner Home Ownership Alternatives (HOA).

    (HOA Mortgage Brokerage Licence #12009)

  • Working with our partner financial institutions means that you’re working with a bank that understands the Options Ready Program. Since it can be a couple of years from the time you purchase to when you move it (that’s how long it takes for us to build), it’s essential that the bank will recognize the Ready Program contribution to your down payment when it comes time to issue you a mortgage.

  • You will need to secure your mortgage at closing. However, you'll have to provide a mortgage pre-approval by tier-one Canadian bank or credit union (preferably one of our partner banks) before you meet with an Options sales agent.

  • Since we aren’t a mortgage lender, this isn’t something Options can determine. We recommend contacting one of our partner lenders to determine if this is an impediment to purchasing.

  • Options for Homes is not a mortgage lender, so we don’t evaluate your credit or income. A mortgage lender or credit counsellor will be able to help you understand exactly where you stand and how you can improve your score. We recommend one of our partner lenders for mortgages and Credit Canada for credit counselling.

  • If you received down payment assistance through the Options Ready Program and your home’s value doesn’t appreciate by the time of sale or when you move out, neither does the shared equity mortgage.

  • No. We do not allow assignment sales on condominiums purchased from Options for Homes.

  • Buying in a pre-construction development means it will be a few years before you occupy your home. While that requires a degree of patience (and anticipation!), it means that you have more time to save money for closing costs – or to add to your down payment and lower the mortgage you need for closing. If the market increases, it also means that you're building equity while we're building your home.

  • When a purchaser chooses to sell their Options condo, they do so on the open market, no longer through Options. Search real estate listing sites for any resale suites in our past developments.

  • No. Since you are required to live in the unit you purchase, we do not sell more than one unit to the same purchaser.

Condo FAQs

  • You resell your condominium just like any other property.

  • No. Square footage of the balcony is in addition to a suite’s listed square footage.

  • Yes, all of our developments have a number of suite styles that meet a wide range of mobility needs. Contact us for more details.

  • Yes. Options condos are pet-friendly. Currently, The Humber allows for two pets per suite, including medium-sized dogs.

  • One of the ways that Options keeps its prices lower than typical developers is by forgoing costly amenities like pools and gyms, as they result in higher maintenance fees. Instead, typical amenities at Options’ developments include large outdoor spaces with shared amenities like barbecues for all homeowners to enjoy. Amenities vary by project so please consult the information for the development you’re interested in to learn about the amenities being provided.

  • Yes. All of our buildings have lockers and bicycle parking. Lockers are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and exact numbers of bicycle parking spots vary by building.

Closing & Occupancy

  • Interim occupancy is the period where you take possession of your suite, but you don’t own it yet. This is the point where your suite is ready to be lived in, but we’re still putting the finishing touches on the rest of the building.

    During this time, you may move into your suite, but you’re not yet able to make any modifications. At this point, you will also have to pay occupancy fees to the co-op, which cover interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price of your condo, estimated municipal taxes for your unit, and projected common expenses for the building. Occupancy fees are typically similar to the cost of rent.

    The occupancy period ends when the building is registered and closed. Interim occupancy periods can vary. Ideally this period lasts 6-12 months, but can last longer in extenuating circumstances. Once your closing date arrives, you’ll be required to finalize your mortgage and your suite becomes yours! After all closings are complete, the building becomes a condominium with a new condo board.

  • Interim occupancy fees are paid to the co-op once a suite is ready for occupancy. These fees are due whether you choose to occupy your suite during this period or not. Occupancy fees cover interest on the unpaid balance of the purchase price of your condo, estimated municipal taxes for your unit, and projected common expenses for the building. These fees are typically similar to the cost of rent.

  • Registration is when the builder submits plans and paperwork to the City, once the suites and common elements are substantially completed. At this point, the Condominium Corporation is formally created and the condominium is registered in the land titles office. The entire process may take approximately two to five months following your interim occupancy.

  • Closing is when the purchase of your condominium is completed. At this time, your lawyer will receive a deed/transfer of title to your home. You will also have to pay closing costs at this time. You can read more about closing costs here.

  • Closing takes place after the building is fully completed and a condominium is registered with the City. Closing takes place about 6 to 10 weeks after registration. Once you have received your closing date, you should arrange with both your lawyer and your mortgage advisor to secure your mortgage and determine next steps.

  • We advise purchasers to budget 5-10% of their total purchase price for closing costs. Closing costs are due at the time you take possession of your suite and include items such as your lawyer’s fees, Tarion enrolment fee, land transfer taxes, property taxes, municipal development charge increases, meter installation fees, and two months’ worth of maintenance fees. Read more about closing fees on the blog.

  • Development charges (DCs) are fees levied by the city/municipality and collected from developers at the time a building permit is issued. These fees help pay for the cost of infrastructure required to provide municipal services to a new development, such as roads, transit, water and sewer infrastructure, community centres and fire and police facilities.

    At Options, we factor known development charges into the original purchase price of your suite. Unfortunately, the city sometimes increases DCs before construction starts, potentially resulting in costs above and beyond the project budget. In these instances, any development charges greater than those we originally factored into the price are passed along to purchasers and are payable at closing.

  • Tarion is a not-for-profit consumer protection organization established by the Ontario government that oversees, regulates and licenses new home builders in Ontario. Formerly known as the Ontario New Home Warranty Program, Tarion ensures buyers of newly built homes in Ontario receive the coverage they are entitled to under their builder’s warranty. The Tarion warranty ensures your home and common areas are fit for habitation, constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code, and free of major structural defects. Visit for full details.

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