“I scored a loft at Richmond and Bathurst for $20,000 under asking”: Why this realtor is banking on the return of downtown

The purchase price? $869,000, and he got the developer to throw in a locker and roller blinds

By Alexander Evans| Photography by Erin Leydon
"I scored a loft at Richmond and Bathurst for $20,000 under asking": Why this realtor is banking on the return of downtown

Alexander Evans, a 39-year-old real estate agent, bought an $869,000 one-bedroom-plus den at Richmond and Bathurst in December—and saved more than $60,000 in fees and taxes. Here’s how the deal went down.

—As told to Andrea Yu

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“I knew I could save more money by moving home with my parents”: This project manager scored a downtown condo for $638,000

“I grew up in Aurora, moved to Toronto in 2008 and got my realtor’s licence in 2013. I moved around over the years, renting several condos along the waterfront I often had to vacate my place because the owners decided to sell their units. It was frustrating. I wanted to buy my own place, but I needed to save up. And staying downtown was my number one priority: I loved being able to walk and bike everywhere, and most of my clients and friends are downtown.

“I usually travel overseas four or five times a year, and I regularly eat out at restaurants. So when the pandemic hit, I saved a lot of money that I figured I could put toward a down payment. At the same time, interest rates were dropping, and I knew it would be a good time to invest. So in October, I set a budget of $900,000 and started looking for a two-bedroom condo. I originally wanted to find something close to my office in the Distillery District. There wasn’t much available in my budget, so I started looking in the west end of the city and adjusted my parameters to include one-bed-plus-den units. The most important thing for me was having a unique space. I wanted something that had a loft feel. And I really wanted a gas hookup on the balcony and a gas stove because I love cooking at home.

“In August 2020, I helped a client buy a condo in a building at Richmond and Bathurst. It was three years old and built in a New York loft style, with a red brick exterior and big black window frames. A few months later, in December, I called the developer and asked if they any unsold units; as a realtor, I know that some developers of newer buildings hold onto units knowing that they can sell them in the future for a higher price. It turns out they had an unsold one-bed-plus-den available for $889,000. It had 10-foot ceilings, great natural light and a large balcony with an unobstructed view. The unit came with parking, plus the gas stove and hookup outside that I was looking for.

“The market was exceptionally slow at the end of 2020, and I figured that developers would be eager to sell some of their units. I knew I had room to negotiate. I got $20,000 taken off the purchase price, and I got them to throw in a locker, valued at $7,000, and roller blinds on all the windows. Better yet, they waived their development charges, which usually run around $22,000, and agreed to cover $12,000 worth of extra fees and taxes. That ran a total of about $61,000 saved.

“I took possession on February 11. It’s been amazing so far. I love walking along Queen West and the Ossington and Dundas West area. There’s a bakery near me called Nord Lyon that has great bread and croissants. The area is full of indie bars and restaurants, and I’m looking forward to visiting them when things open up.

“I’m pretty sure the housing market downtown will return quickly after the pandemic, especially once people start to get back into their offices later this year or early next. I’m already seeing changes in the market. In 2020, no one was buying condos. But now people are lining up to do showings. And most good units receive multiple offers and sell well over asking. People have confidence in Toronto’s return. And I do too.”


Do you have a story about buying or selling a property during the pandemic? We’d love to hear it:


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