Welcome to Urbaneer.com's November 2018 Home of the Month!
This feature provides a snapshot of what my Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
This month's post follows a journey that is typical of many buyers, one where the property hunt is not engaged with a specific time line in mind, but with one eye open. There are a lot of buyers like this who would like to climb the property ladder into the 'house that will be home' for the next 25 years. But because they're happily ensconced in a place which is meeting their needs, their search isn't as aggressive as it would be if time were a factor. The motivation to purchase is less than it would be for, say, a corporate relocation, or someone navigating a life style change like cohabitating with a new partner, the arrival of a baby, or getting divorced.
Five years ago, my Buyers relocated from the United States to Toronto. At that time they purchased a gracious residence in the South Annex that, while truly stunning, in retrospect didn't fully tick all their boxes. A substantial merchant class residence situated on one of the beloved trilogy of streets steps to Bloor and College Streets, it was while living in this property these clients acknowledged they'd ultimately prefer to own a smaller house with a bigger yard that had better access for aging parents, and was located in The Annex.
If you're not familiar with The Annex - featured as one of my Neighbourhood Pages - this central neighbourhood is a bastion for Toronto's cultural intelligentsia who celebrate its neighbourhood spirits, it walkability and proximity to the subway, and our city's finer institutions. Located north of Bloor Street west of Spadina to Bathurst in the downtown core (steps to the ROM, U of T, and the Bata Shoe Museum), this enclave of Victorian and Edwardian row, semi and detached residences is refreshingly understated and devoid of the pomp and circumstance of other venerated neighbourhoods. It is, however, not inexpensive by any means which, for anyone seeking turn-key vintage-charm can often mean cost prohibitive.
My buyers, a pair of down-to-earth academics, occasionally viewed properties located south of Bloor closer to Spadina, but homes in that area were just as costly and lacked the neighbourhood vibe my Buyers gravitated too. This was in part because their existing social world - including other families - lived in The Annex, but it's also because of the insouciant charm this area exudes. I can share from experience that every client I've placed in this neighbourhood during my career has found its community spirit exceptional. It has a small town village conviviality with strong community engagement.
So - over the past couple of years my buyers kept one eye open just to keep tabs on the market - with the aim that one day the right property would come to market. During their search, they considered a handful of properties including this dwelling on Albany Avenue. Listed at $1,999,000. this 3 storey detached residence had been neglected and was ready for a careful restoration. It was massive - almost too big for many including my Buyers - who also weren't ready to take on a significant project that would easily require a significant cash injection I estimated at $500,000 and 12 to 18 months to complete. Built in 1900, this Edwardian dwelling sold for $1,975,000.
This journey also includes some wisdom not many have been able to put into practice over the near two decades the Toronto real estate market has been booming, outside of the occasional lull in the market - which has been exceptionally rare in the downtown core where freehold housing has long been in demand. The lesson? Buy real estate when (almost) no one else is buying.
There's no question that when it comes to real estate - timing is everything. Which ultimately worked in favour for these Buyers, who first viewed the house they would ultimately purchase towards the end of May which, unfortunately for the Sellers, was about two weeks after the Toronto Spring real estate market began to wane. As I share in The Seasons To Real Estate, Toronto has decidedly two times when it's best to sell: a Fall real estate market and a Spring real estate market. The 'in between' seasons - Summer and Winter (basically 2 weeks in December during Holiday and the start of January if we're slayed by blizzards) - historically tend to be quiet, making it challenging to sell. So, after an intense Spring 2018 - as I documented in 35 Offers On 3 Downtown Properties Signals Rocketing Demand in January, Four Toronto Properties Went Into Bidding Wars In The Past 48 Hours in February and On Toronto’s East Side 42 Buyers Bid On 3 Properties Tuesday Night in March - there was no reason to suspect the momentum would shift suddenly.
And yet it did. At the end of May temperatures soared and Spring quickly turned to Summer. At that time most Buyers simply lost focus and started enjoying the warm weather.
When this 'special house' first hit the market I was quite excited at the opportunity it presented for my Buyers. And - despite the warm weather - I was convinced it would spike in value in a bidding war to a sum that might go as high as $2,3mil based on area sales. The listing realtor - whom I've done business with over the duration of my 26 year career - also felt it was a contender for competition, so neither of us anticipated it wouldn't sell on the offer night. And yet, my Buyers - who were completely smitted with the house - were cautious and unwilling to compete. They loved the property but didn't feel it was worth that kind of premium. In fact, the sum they were willing to pay was far below list.
After 19 days listed at $1,998,500 - and one conditional sale that had collapsed - the Sellers reduced the property to $1,959,000. Again, my Buyers remained interested but they weren't prepared to deviate from the sum I had relayed to the listing realtor - just to keep her in the loop. Again, the property received another offer which was in negotiations, but the closing date didn't align with the Sellers. This time the realtor reached out - clearly under pressure from the Sellers whose motivation was increasing with each passing day - and inquired whether my Buyers would come up a nudge from our verbal submission. At that moment - understanding the property could be theirs for a sum within range of their ideal - decided to proceed with a condition free bid, a solid deposit and the Sellers' preferred closing date.
Located on Albany Avenue, this coveted Annex avenue has a rather eclectic mix of housing and the benefit of exceptionally deep lots on the east side of the street. The dwelling, a five bedroom Edwardian, had undergone a series of transformations over the years. This included a dug out basement with exceptionally high ceilings, a gorgeous main floor entertainment level with a dreamy kitchen, a second level with three bedrooms and a renovated bath, and a spacious pair of third floor attic bedrooms with access to a sundeck that overlooked the 173 foot deep landscaped garden. What it lacked was onsite parking and a master ensuite - which for some can be deal-breakers in this price bracket.
Here's some snaps from MLS of this listing:
Listed for $1,959,000, after 26 days on the market, my clients secured this Prime Annex family home for $1,880,000!
Congrats to my Buyers! I applaud their willingness to exercise patience and prudence in their property search, which clearly paid off!
Are you exploring the possibility of purchasing Toronto real estate including a unique urban home like this? Here's some of my essential must-read blogs
And here's a step by step summary of how I analyze listings of merit for my clients, including the preparation and delivery of our comprehensive due diligence packages for every property our Buyers indentify as a possibility: How I Help Buyers Make The Right Real Estate Purchase.
Serving first, second and multi-time Buyers, young families, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their investment 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.
If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of someone Celebrating Twenty-Five Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor who subscribes to a pressure-free approach - and a specialty in unique and charming urban homes - please know my team and I are here to help!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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Keen on Toronto real estate? Here's Urbaneer’s Toronto Real Estate Forecasts!
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