Welcome to the June 2018 Home of the Month! This feature provides a snapshot of what Urbaneer's Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
This month’s real estate buy shares the journey of a single professional first-time Buyer who wanted to secure the coveted 2bed 2bath sun-filled condominium with parking, locker and reasonable common fees on the west side of the original City of Toronto for up to $750,000.
My Buyer was living a Queen West urban life in a contemporary 1bed condo rental, when my his employer relocated to a north-west on-the-way-to-the-suburbs location. He weighed out the value of leaving the downtown core for a location which would extract him from some of the commuting congestion of daily life in the city centre. After all, in this day and age - with Toronto being ranked as the worst city in North America for commuting - if you can reduce your commute by 20 minutes each way, you're freeing up over 3 hours of 'knuckles-gripping-the-wheel' stress each week. Have you ever considered the mental, emotional and physical costs you incur when navigating a long daily commute? Here's some interesting insights in my blog What Are The Real Financial, Emotional And Health Costs Of Commuting?
Setting a search parameter from Bathurst Street west to High Park, and from Lake Ontario north to St. Clair West - my Buyer gravitated to the neighbourhoods radiating from Queen and Dundas West - in addition to Roncesvalles Village and The Junction (MLS Districts C01, W01 & W02). Although my Buyer found the loft aesthetic appealing, he didn't feel any need to define his status by living in a 'concrete n cool' or 'brick and beam' aesthetic, though he did appreciate how airy the open plan higher-ceiling spaces presented. However, in our initial correspondence about one particular loft conversion in Parkdale - renowned for its terrible sound separation - and how the financial premium one has to pay for the unique means you'll get less space for the money - like a 1bed suite instead of 2 - he clarified he wasn't married to living in loft but open to all types of condominiums. Prioritizing needs, like a second bedroom with a window to serve as a home office (rather than those 'fake dens' developers call large foyers in new condos) was of greater importance.
We did view WestSide Lofts at King & Bathurst, which was initially constructed in 1987 as a 14-storey commercial office building and converted into 200 lofts in 1998. Located on the top floor, I had actually been the listing realtor in its previous sale back in 2012 (here's my Sky Loft Style Enhancement post on it) but my Buyer found it problematic, both for being too narrow and for its lack of windows in the bedrooms (which isn't unusual in loft living). As he reviewed listings online with a more critical eye, he realized he was increasingly less drawn to "hard lofts" because there were inherent design compromises required with adaptive reuse conversions. For example, in Westside Lofts, 90 Sumach, The Candy Factory & The Merchandise Lofts, the floor plates are so massive the units are typically narrow long slivers that lack natural light at one end. Or in the Foundry Lofts - a former train factory at 1100 Landsdowne granted heritage status in 2004 and converted to 104 industrial loft apartments in 2006 - where the common area feels like an overwhelmingly vacuous' train station' devoid of people yet flooded with light, is in stark contrast to some of the lofts which lack windows on the main living level but rely on windows or skylights from above. Now I'm not writing this as a slag against these complexes, all of which I've sold in, but rather in explanation of how, during the search process, each Buyer must discern what appeals to them and what doesn't, and why - and then prioritize those qualities as essential for their purchase. After all, as a prospective homebuyer you have to reconcile the financial value of any property as it aligns with your wishes, wants and needs - including those intangibles which best serve your quality of life. And through this process, you'll understand the unfortunate necessity for compromise. As realtor in his 26th year as a Top Producer, I can assure you that regardless of whether your budget is $400,000 or $4,000,000, one never gets everything you desire in the City of Toronto. But how much you compromise - and on what points - is ultimately up to you. It’s how you prioritize these points that constitutes your own housing value matrix, which essentially sets up - and refines - the parameters for your housing search.
In the case of this Buyer, through the search process he realized that he valued more traditional condominiums which had defined spaces (including the split 2bed 2bath plan where the entertainment space separates the two bedrooms) featuring generous and numerous windows which had good sightlines. We confirmed this when my Buyer - who had accompanied his sister during her own property search - expressed interest in a unit at Heintzman Place in The Junction, which has long been a favourite of the Urbaneer Team. Developed by Delterra's Options For Homes and completed in 2011, although the 16-storey pair of buildings containing 327 units are somewhat monolithically conventional, they're well-designed, well-executed and well-managed. The complex has appropriately scaled amenities, abundant guest parking, and several smart features including a green roof and solar panels for heating water. Having listed and sold several suites in the complex since it was completed, I saw the merit in his consideration of a 2bed 2bath south-facing cityvista suite that went under contract within 48 hours after hitting MLS, selling for a squeak over $650,000. Here's my June 2011 Home Of The Month - The Junction - which offers an interesting history lesson on this dynamic engaging village neighbourhood.
During our 60 day search, I was surprised at how few good contenders actually presented themselves. Part of the issue - as any recent Buyer will tell you - is the speed by which properties sell, often within 24 hours of coming to market unless the listing realtor has set a specific date for offers as I explain in Dear Urbaneer: About Holdbacks On Offers, Bully Offers & Bidding Wars For Buyers. As the situation would have it, the condominium my Buyer would pursue came to market with a holdback on offers and an attractive list price to incite competition. In order to secure it, he had to blindly compete with two other buyers in a bidding war.
So what ticked all the boxes? Located at 2495 Dundas West just north of Bloor West 'The Glenlake' - completed in 2005 by Georgian Homes - is a 7-storey midrise containing 126 residential suites. Range in size from about 639 to 1086 square feet, the have space plans in 1bed, 1+1bed and 2bed configurations. Finished in red brick with substantial windows and glass-wrapped balconies, the interiors have 8.5 foor ceilings, open concept entetainment spaces, and thoughtfully-design floor plans. The building amenities are modest - keeping common fees reasonable - including a front desk concierge, a fitness and common room, and a west-facing landscaped terrace with BBQs.
Although the building faces busy Dundas West and the rail corridor, this particular suite was on the north-west corner six stories (of seven) high. Sun-drenched, the unit had been renovated save for the original maple shaker kitchen cabinetry. I really liked the proportions, the split bedroom plan, and the balcony which could accommodate a table, 2 chairs and an outdoor loveseat. But what made this particularly special was its uninterrupted vistas. Perched over the mature tree-lined avenues of vintage century residences on Abbott and Glenlake - with an ever-changing west-facing expansive skyscape - this light lovers paradise was high enough it afforded sufficient privacy one could always enjoy the views.
And yet, the location is as bright-lights big-city as one can get. Just a 3 minute walk to Bloor West, the property is steps to both the Dundas West subway station and Go-Transit’s Bloor Station (see The Union Pearson Express As A Toronto Staple) and, for cycling enthusiasts or those who bike to work, I have lots of Cycling Love For The West Toronto Railpath. Although the existing intersection of Dundas and Bloor is a bit placeless and lacking in ambience while High Park, Bloor West Village and The Junction currently serve as the destinations for leisure, daily shopping and culture, this will be short-lived. Did you read how a 10-acre swath of land on the south-east corner of Bloor-Dundas is in development by Choice Properties, with a proposed 9 high-rise towers containing 2,600 residential units, in addition to retail/offices, green spaces, and 3 new roads? It's rather spectacular, and will transform the neighbourhood serving as a terrific gateway to The Junction in the north, Roncesvalles Village to the south, and align with the City's vision for greater densification at transporation links. Check out the video in Bloor-Dundas project with 2,600 residential units prompts mix of optimism, concern. Securing this property not only met my Buyer's spatial requirements, light and sightline preferences, and by virtue of its placement reduces his commute, but it offers tremendous upside as it redevelops into an urban destination.
Here are some photos from MLS which illustrate this purchase:
Congrats to my Buyer! Offered for $599,900, and competing against two other Purchasers this High Park perch was secured for $671,100!
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.
Curious to see what the Urbaneer Team sells? Here's Toronto’s Best Houses & Condos Of 2017 By Urbaneer, which showcases our expertise across the original City of Toronto!
Are you exploring the possibility of purchasing Toronto real estate? Here's some of my most popular blogs:
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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