The Chase: a growing family discovers that landing a home in Roncesvalles doesn’t come cheap

The Chase: a growing family discovers that landing a home in Roncesvalles doesn’t come cheap

(Image: Liam Mogan) 

The Buyers: JJ Thompson, a 33-year-old photographer, and Paula Thompson, a 37-year-old interior decorator.

The Story: The Thompsons had been living in a one-bedroom loft on Queen West since 2008. When they started thinking about having another kid, they decided it was time for a proper family home—ideally a four-bedroom, with a garden, that was close to downtown and some green space. Roncesvalles checked all their boxes: a high concentration of young families, strolling distance to leafy High Park and a burgeoning commercial strip. “It’s as cool as a child-friendly area can get,” JJ says. A lot of families seemed to have the same idea. The Thompsons thought $800,000 would net them a place that fit their needs, but soon realized they’d have to spend well over a million to get what they wanted. A few months into their search, they found out Paula was pregnant, adding urgency to the endeavor. After looking at more than 30 homes over the course of a year, the Thompsons finally found The One.

OPTION 1
Wright Avenue (at Parkside). Listed at $998,000, sold for $1,209,800.
The home met all their needs on a technical level, but JJ wasn’t thrilled. It didn’t have the wow factor he thought a million-dollar home should have. Still, they decided to bid $1.15 million, hoping to scare off possible competition. A five-way bidding war quickly ensued, and within a few hours the house was up to almost $200,000 over asking. They figured it wasn’t worth it and pulled out.

OPTION 2
High Park Gardens (at Parkside). Listed at $1,329,000, sold for $1,832,000.
The six-bedroom, two-and-a-half-storey house was massive. But it needed updates—there was a lot of old carpeting and a missing banister—which the Thompsons hoped would intimidate other bidders. It didn’t. Before the couple even made an offer, there were already four others, so they decided not to bid. When they later heard the sale price, they were glad they hadn’t.

THE BUY
High Park Boulevard (at Roncesvalles). Listed at $1,489,900. Re-listed at $1,399,900. Sold for $1,350,000.
After losing the Wright Avenue bidding war, JJ checked out some of the houses that were outside their price range just to get a better sense of the market. He loved this grand five-bedroom house instantly. “I’m quite vain,” he says, “and this was a house you could really be proud to show people.” The couple decided to offer $1.31 million, but the owners balked and pulled the listing. A few months later, the house was re-listed. Knowing it had been on the market for a while, the Thompsons thought they might have an edge and were eager to try negotiating again. Their bid of $1,350,000 was accepted. They’re thrilled to have found a new house before the baby arrives.