Welcome to our June 2017 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’s buy comes from Urbaneer team member Kellye MacMillan, who assisted her client sharpening his property search with the aim of finding a home that would most enhance the quality of his day-to-day life - both within the home and as part of the surrounding community - including a shorter daily commute.
For many buyers the real estate mantra “location, location, location” is the driving force behind their condo hunt. Home hunters pick a neighbourhood (or a few), create a wish list, and hope their budget aligns! Sometimes we engage clients who are less concerned with 'where' and, instead, are more focused on the 'what'. In this instance, the Buyer prioritized how the property should first match the items on his wish list - within a specific budget - ahead of its physical location. He and a roommate had been renting a suite in a downtown duplex in The Annex for the past 3 years, and, having come to hate the commute to his job in Scarborough, he was more than ready to jump back into condo ownership - provided it permitted his sweet but large dog, of course!
This Buyer’s wish list was fairly comprehensive; he wanted a minimum one bedroom plus den unit (but preferably two bedrooms), a parking spot and locker, a dog-friendly building (specifically for dogs above 50lbs), outdoor space, a turn key unit with no renovations required, more than 600 square feet (and preferably 700 square feet), and, to facilitate his commute, he preferred a location on the subway line or close to a highway. While “a shorter commute” was an item on the wish list, he did not have any particular neighbourhood in mind. He was open to considering a creative solution in an unfamiliar area, providing it meant he could have the rest of the items on his wish list within budget.
Having previously been both a Buyer and Seller, this particular client brought some valuable experience with him on his property hunt. He’d owned both a condo and a house in the past, affording him the knowledge that his preference was for the low-maintenance lifestyle that condominiums provide. This clarity gave the buyer a head start, knowing a condo would best suit his current lifestyle, being mid-thirties and newly single. As a first step to help him establish his wish list and expectations, he was connected with a mortgage broker to determine a realistic budget for a condominium, taking into account the additional cost of a monthly maintenance fee. In the end, the Buyer set a purchase cap of $410,000, smartly situating himself well below his pre-approval ceiling.
Although the Buyer had been through the "the hunt" before, the market was particularly frothy this Spring, making the real estate climate very different from what he last experienced. As a result, it was critical to frame his past experience and expectations through a refreshed lens, by re-educating him on the current dynamics of the Toronto real estate market. For example, the Buyer's previous experiences did not include any multiple offer scenarios, including the strategy of listing low with a holdback on offers with the intention of creating bidding wars. Consequently, even in the condominium market he discovered the majority of the properties coming to market during his search had a set offer date and were ultimately selling above their list price.
At the beginning of his search, he discovered there were few properties offered for sale under $450,000 that matched his location criteria - which was to reduce (and not extend) his commute to work. However, there were find two stand-out opportunities he pursued, but unfortunately neither sold in his favour. However, as is always the case, the knowledge gained from the bidding experience helped refine his preferences for the 'right' property.
The first potential bid was for a 2 bedroom, 1 washroom suite with parking and a balcony - situated downtown east within walking distance to Riverdale and Leslieville (and with easy access to TTC) - which was a big bonus. Another pro was the large park beside the complex, which would have been perfect for his four-legged roommate! We were optimistic given that previous sales in the complex suggested it could be attainable. However, to his disappointment, the condo ended up garnering multiple bids which prompted him to continue his search.
Dusting off, he jumped headlong into the hunt with a more specific strategy: to reduce his commute time while staying on budget. The optimum neighbourhoods included along the Yonge subway line from Sheppard Station to North York Station, near Bayview Village/Bayview Station, the Lakeshore/Mimico area, and Danforth East/Beaches/West Side of Scarborough.
It wasn’t long before a real contender came to market in Clairelea. The condo was a well-maintained large one bedroom unit that had previously been a two bedroom unit; the owners had removed the wall separating the master bedroom from the living room to create a large entertainment space. The location was desirable for commuters, with the building located a short distance (less than 10 minute walk) from Warden Station in the rapidly developing Birchmount neighbourhood in Scarborough. Also, nearby Warden Woods had a fantastic off leash dog park! Cumulatively, the area amenities and the location were a superb fit for this Buyer, and would reduce his commute from one hour to 15 minutes.
However, the unit was on the third floor with an east exposure that looked directly into the parking lot of a neighbourhood car recycling centre. The land would likely be developed at some point, but the immediate view was pretty grim; we discussed the concept of creating screens or perhaps adding potted trees to the balcony to tastefully block the undesirable view.
The unit was listed well within his budget and an offer date was set to generate multiple offers. Ultimately, my client decided he could not compromise on the view and declined to submit an offer. This underscores an important guideline we often emphasize as realtors; even when a property ticks off all the boxes on your wish list, if it doesn’t radiate that sense of 'Home', then it’s not a wise purchase nor the 'right' property.
Happily, success was not far off for this Buyer! Just five days after the disappointment of letting the condo in Clairelea go, another unit in the same building serendipitously came on to the market! This one was a ground level, West-facing suite with two bedrooms plus a den, and offered a really unique layout. Beautifully staged and in excellent condition, it boasted 10-foot ceilings and gorgeous French doors leading from the living room into the den. But the biggest highlight for this dog-loving client was a private entrance-level terrace that led onto the building's large rear lawn – the perfect spot for his active canine! The suite included both a locker and a parking spot, and was listed for $339,000 - well under budget!
Given how this unit synced with the client’s wish list, and his feeling it was 'the one', this Buyer successfully pursued the property!
Here are some shots of the home courtesy of MLS.
(Photo Credits: The BREL Team of Sage Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage)
Although the sellers had set an offer date - the listing realtors communicated the owners would consider a pre-emptive offer. As a result, on the second day for sale, a 'bully offer' was prepared and a bank draft submitted. Unsurprisingly, another realtor registered a bid putting the property into competition! The review of the offers took a few hours, but, in the end.. the Buyer secured this fantastic unit for his initial bid of $365,000! Entering with a strong sum, an attractive closing date, and a bonafide 'deposit in hand' turned out to be the winning combination!
This Buyer managed to secure this property for about 4% over list price. Congratulations! This unit shows you can get the items on your wish list within your budget if you are willing to be flexible with your location. It’s hard to argue the value of a two bedroom plus den unit with parking and a locker for under $400,000!
Are you searching for a property? Here are two relevant informative posts which offers our insights:
Serving first, second and multi-time buyers, young families, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their investment property portfolios, our mandate at Urbaneer 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 and a pressure-free approach, let us know - we're here to help!
~ The Urbaneer Team
earn your trust, then your business
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage - (416) 322-8000
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