Welcome to urbaneer.com's January 2016 Home of the Month. This feature provides a snapshot of what urbaneer.com's Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
This month we share the journey of a couple who felt the push / pull between the urban life they'd grown accustomed too, and a family life of fresh beginnings that will soon be arriving. Our Buyers - who had initially been searching for a swish downtown condominium with a bright lights big city vibe - revised their search for something more family-friendly this past Summer when the doctors told them they were expecting their first bundle of joy.
Like many urban buyers, they believed starting a family didn't automatically necessitate an exit to the 'burbs where their lifestyles would be radically transformed, heavily auto-reliant and isolating from their social world. But - as many of you Buyers know - having a budget up to $800,000 often means having to compromise on size and condition when you want to live in the downtown core - especially compared to the suburbs where you get a lot more house for your money - albeit with the hassle of the everyday commute. Have you read our post called What are the Real Financial, Emotional and Health Costs of Commuting?
Having seen some pretty glitzy condos that were urban chic - once our Buyers shifted their focus to searching for a family-friendly house - we collectively had to realign our expectations as we explored the freehold housing market. First, the condo you can buy in the 600k-800k range can be shiny and new, with a feast of modern day amenities, a pretty sweet view, and a step-into-the-action location ideal for those who celebrate an urban life. The freehold house, on the other hand, is near the antithesis of this. Yup, the downtown housing market in the 700-800k range - dominated by 100 year old row and semi-detached houses - typically require significant building component upgrades and - with their low ceiling basements that were never intended to be permanent living space - are often tight on square footage. And, being houses, they're not in the heart of the Entertainment District but outside the periphery of the city core, where you have to stroll - or bike - to a cafe instead of finding it on the ground floor of your luxe tower. If we had to succinctly describe the difference between these two housing forms we'd have to say they're, well, night and day.
Once we had the new set of search criteria - three beds, two baths, a media recroom, parking and outdoor space located on the central east side spanning from Leslieville to The Beach - the very first property we viewed was something we at urbaneer are super keen on. It was one of 24 townhomes built in 1996 located on a cul-de-sac near Kingston Road and Dundas Street East in the Upper Beach. Having four floors of finished living space, two and half baths, and a spacious third floor master suite, it offered great value for $774,900. You see, we at urbaneer love the older urban infill freehold (or in some instances, condominium) townhouses constructed in the late 1980s through 1990s which dot the original city. For one, they typically offer a significant amount of space for the dollar (often having three floors + lower level instead of the vintage housing stock which have two), have just enough outdoor space that rivals older housing stock, most always have on site parking if not a built-in garage, and what they may lack in style - if in original condition or subject to past trendy renovations which are now considered dated - lend themselves easily to reinvention. Sure, at 20 years of age the building components may be approaching obsolescence, but more often than not, many of the building systems have been upgraded by the time the property has reached this age or remain serviceable. Here's one of our most popular posts that explain the 6 Layers Of A Property and how any Buyer should approach their purchase taking each of these layers into account.
As it turned out, the townhouse in question went into a bidding war just as we were viewing it. Our Buyers weren't quite ready to leap at the first freehold house they'd seen, but it was a great place to view as we felt it represented the kind of dwelling our Buyers could secure within their budget (it sold for $780,000). For the next six weeks our Buyers went to open houses, sleuthing for the perfect property. It was during this time they realized that most of the older housing stock either required too much in the way of renovation, or frequently lacked the amount of living space they ideally sought. With basement ceiling heights notoriously low or with foundations failing sufficiently enough that they needed significant capital investment to waterproof, our Buyers communicated that they'd wished they'd taken a shot at securing that very first townhouse they'd viewed.
Any realtor in the business long enough will tell you that serendipity plays a big role in the search for Home. And it was precisely the circumstance in this case, when the very next day one of the neighbouring townhouses on this quiet family-friendly complex came to market for $749,000. So we made a bee-line for it. With four floors of living space including three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a lower level media room, 2 car parking (one being a garage) and a 2-level tiered deck, this townhouse had a five year old roof, and a two year old heating system. The wiring and plumbing were in good condition, and most of the windows had some lifespan remaining. Which meant this dwelling, while 20 years old, was essentially turn-key and ready to move into, at which point our Buyers could upgrade it over time as required.
Here's some snaps of the property from the original MLS Listing:
*Images courtesy of Toronto MLS
Listed at $749,000, our Buyers submitted a modest bully offer while attending a wedding out of town! The Seller fortuitously accepted, including the Buyers longer closing date.
Congrats to our Buyers on their new Home Sweet Home!
Serving first and second time buyers, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients strategically secure the best real estate on offer, while ensuring their purchase best serves their practical needs and their dream of 'Home'. We identify a property's best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of the future target market while meeting your own wishes, wants and desires. And although searching for the right property can be an intense and sometimes lengthy process it is, without fail, rewarding both to our clients and the Urbaneer team.
If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of Top Producing boutique Toronto real estate outfit who subscribe to a pressure-free approach - and a specialty in unique urban homes - please know we're here to help at urbaneer.com.
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
earn your trust, then your business
Like what you've read? if you're house-hunting - or just curious to see where values are landing in the City of Toronto, here's Toronto’s Best Houses and Condos of 2015 by Urbaneer which showcases 12 properties our clients purchased this past year! Want to learn more? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly newsletter on housing, culture and design in the City of Toronto. We simply love Toronto real estate!
** Did you also know Steve leads a Student Mentorship and Internship Program for Canadians being educated in the field of housing? Consider visiting our sister site called HousePorn.ca