The Chase: New to Toronto, they had five months to find the perfect house

The Chase: New to Toronto, they had five months to find the perfect house

(Image: Erin Leydon)

The buyers: Jean-Luc Fraikin, the 35-year-old chief scientist at Spectradyne Particle Analysis, and Sara Hughes, a 34-year-old assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

The story: After getting married in 2011, Fraikin, who grew up in Kingston, and Hughes, originally from Michigan, spent three years living like nomads, following jobs from Santa Barbara, California (where they met), all the way to Durham, North Carolina. Then their son, Pascal, was born, and they found themselves craving a more stable lifestyle. Hughes was starting her job at U of T in the fall, so they lined up a five-month sublet in the Annex, crossing their fingers that they’d find a permanent home before the lease ran out. Aided by a $100,000 gift from Fraikin’s parents, they set a budget of $800,000 and started scouring the west end for a place near the subway with enough room for a growing family.


Option 1

Campbell Avenue (near Dundas and Dupont).
Listed at $599,900, sold for $785,164.

Fraikin and Hughes were charmed by this detached four-bedroom home, which had a big kitchen and was close to Campbell Park. Confronted with a 14-way bidding war, they submitted an offer of $761,888, then eventually upped it to $771,888. Unfortunately, even that proved too timid.


Option 2

Manning Avenue (near Bathurst and Harbord).
Listed at $699,900, sold for $831,500.

This two-bedroom semi felt like a cottage, with a red-brick façade and a pretty front garden. The couple decided to go in with their highest possible bid, $802,888 (their agent, Stuart Sankey, even gave up part of his commission to boost their buying power). Still, they lost out by more than $28,000.



The Buy

Golden Avenue (near Dundas and Roncesvalles).
Listed at $789,000, sold for $810,000.

In February, with their sublet running out, they came across this semi during a frantic home-viewing blitz. The upper floors had been converted into a separate apartment, which didn’t immediately appeal. However, there were significant pluses—like two big bedrooms on the lower floors, a great school district and proximity to the subway. Plus, they’d be able to collect $2,300 a month from the existing tenants. They offered asking, then threw in another $21,000 to seal the deal—and moved in with a month to spare.