Before and After: a professional renovator revamps an aging Corso Italia house—and ups its value by $350,000
Home renovation TV shows have made “house flipping” shorthand for turning a hasty reno into an easy payout. The reality is a lot more complicated
The Story: Amir Shahi, a 31-year-old with a degree in electrical engineering, spent five years working various corporate gigs before calling it quits and getting his real estate license. Soon after, he met his girlfriend, who was in the process of renovating her second property. Since then, the couple have renovated and resold several homes in Toronto’s west end, though they prefer not to call themselves “flippers”—a term they think underplays the associated risk and legwork. “We call ourselves rejuvenators of neighbourhoods,” quips Shahi.
The Buy: Shahi originally scouted a four-bedroom semi near St. Clair and Dufferin to be his family home, but decided he saw potential for resale in the area. He purchased it for $520,000, and saved on real estate commissions by buying privately. On the open market, he estimates the home would have gone for about $560,000.
The Renovation: The renovation was the biggest Shahi had ever taken on. He set a budget of $150,000, a timeline of five months and a vision of his ideal buyer: a young family who likes to entertain. After bringing the electrical and plumbing up to modern standards, he installed a custom entertainment centre with indoor and outdoor speakers. In the backyard, a new two-tier deck—nicknamed Club 192 for its Miami-beach vibe—addressed the lack of privacy resulting from a shared driveway. Upstairs, four bedrooms became three, allowing Shahi to enlarge the master bedroom and build an ensuite. Vaulting the ceiling in the master bedroom also added a large loft space—as well as extra costs, when 20-foot pieces of lumber were needed to reinforce the aging roof. The bill for the entire reno came to about $200,000.
The Sell: Rather than creating a traditional virtual tour, Shahi and his girlfriend pulled three consecutive all-nighters staging the house for a video depicting what it would be like to live there. With the video complete, he priced the home at $869,900 and put it on the market with an offer deadline. There was plenty of interest: Shahi showed the home to more than 25 young families and professionals. Yet on deadline night, he received verbal offers, but nothing on paper. Shahi relisted at the same price and, five weeks later, found his buyer. The final sale price was $865,000.
By the Numbers:
• Cost to buy: $520,000
• Cost of renovations: $200,000
• Number of all-nighters: 3
• Time to shoot a lifestyle video: 9 hours
• Time on the market: 7 weeks
• Listed for: $869,900
• Sold for: $865,000