The Chase: they had $400,000 and were willing to live anywhere but in a condo
The buyers: Biao Liu, a postgrad marketing student at George Brown, and Sharon Liu, an instructional designer at the Metrix Group consultancy, both 26.
The story: Sharon’s father is a big believer in property ownership. “Owning a piece of land is part of Chinese culture,” Sharon says. So when she and Biao got married in July, there was no question that they’d be looking to buy. They set a budget of $400,000 and told their agent, Robert Atkinson of Century 21, that they’d consider anything, anywhere in the GTA, as long as it wasn’t a condo. After checking out places in Markham, Aurora and Richmond Hill, they decided there was nothing decent for $400,000 that wasn’t a condo. Since they were going to have to up the ante, they opted to limit their search to Markham, which they liked for its Chinese restaurants and grocery stores—and Sharon’s dad liked for the investment potential.
James Scott Road (near Markham and the 407).
Listed at $540,000, sold for $591,000.
A half-dozen properties into their search, they found this townhouse in Vinegar Hill. It was the first place they liked—and it was almost $150K over their budget. Sharon’s dad agreed to top up their offer, but even $560,000 wasn’t enough. In a four-way bidding war, they were outbid by $31,000.
Cornell Common Road (near 9th Line and 16th Avenue).
Listed at $659,000, sold for $650,000.
Sharon fell for this recently renovated detached, which had new bamboo floors and a big backyard, and was located on a tree-lined street. But she also knew it would hobble them financially, and they couldn’t justify it. It sat on the market for 40 days before selling for just below asking.
White’s Hill Avenue (also near 9th Line and 16th Avenue).
Listed at $579,000, sold for $562,000.
If they couldn’t have the detached house of their dreams, they could at least be nearby. Just up the road from the one that got away, they found a three-bedroom townhouse that had been on the market for two weeks. The place had character: oddly shaped bedrooms, a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard wall and a home theatre with two rows of sofa seating. They bid $550,000, went back and forth three times and, after bargaining away the theatre sofas, finally sealed the deal at $562,000.