The Chase: A six-month search rewards two Annex renters ready to buy their first home

The Chase: A six-month search rewards two Annex renters ready to buy their first home

Taimi-Leigh Wood, a 33-year-old wine sales agent, and Hart Massey, a 34-year-old filmmaker.

After seven years of renting in the Annex, the couple decided it was time to stop funding their landlord’s new Mercedes and finance a place of their own. They envisioned an open-concept house on a quiet street, with an extra bedroom for a baby someday, and a basement rental unit. Massey also wanted to be biking distance from his office in the Annex—all for under $400,000. They eventually zeroed in on Corso Italia. It took six months, 75 homes, and one bleak period during which they temporarily gave up hope, but in the end they discovered that the old adage really is true: good things come to those who wait.

Earlscourt Avenue, near Dufferin and St. Clair. Listed at $289,900, sold for $278,000.
Despite bidding wars on the street, this two-bedroom semi had been on the market for 40 days. The problem: it wasn’t much bigger than a condo. Wood worried they would quickly outgrow it, but Massey liked the big backyard and cottage-like feel. They offered $245,000. “We lowballed it, big time, then kept raising our bid,” Wood says. “But the sellers weren’t having any of it.”

Strader Avenue, near Oakwood and Vaughan. Listed at $329,000, sold for $328,000.
This house had loads of character, but the kitchen was an empty shell. They crunched some numbers and felt they could afford $30,000 over asking, even with reno costs. Their mortgage broker, however, disagreed. They were heart­broken when it later sold for $1,000 under asking. They took a month-and-a-half hiatus from house hunting and switched brokers.

Aileen Avenue, near Keele and Rogers. Listed at $369,900, sold for $365,000.
Back on the hunt, Wood walked into this detached three-bedroom house on a dead-end street and couldn’t believe her luck. It was pretty far from the Annex and didn’t have much curb appeal, but the interior was nicer than any of the other homes they’d seen: new kitchen, new bathroom and basement apartment. It also had a garage and a treehouse in the backyard. Wood thought it was so perfect, she dragged Massey out of work to come and see it before someone scooped it up. “I was even going to bid on it without him,” she says. The only catch: a five-month close (the owners were still building a new home), which had scared off other buyers. Wood and Massey were happy to wait and save a little longer. They moved in on May 1, knowing exactly what to do with the extra bedroom: they now had a baby on the way. To shorten his commute to the Annex, Massey bought an electric bike.

(Images: Wood and Massey by Jaime Hogge; Houses by Lisa Gent)