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.
9 thoughts on “The Chase: A six-month search rewards two Annex renters ready to buy their first home”
These places look like dumps. Toronto home prices are crazy.
Compare to Vancouver these prices are a sweet deal. In proper vancouver you can pay close to a million for a nice dump of a place that would need renovating.
its sad to see the way the housing market has evolved. We bought our first house actually not far from this purchase in 1981. Back then our 1 1/2 story was $60,000. Had we bought it a couple of months earlier it would have sold for $45,000. We did a major reno in 1989 which lasted about a year. Flash forward 29 years later, we sold that house for $360,000 in 2002 and find ourselves in Etobicoke where homes are now listing for over the half million mark. Something has to give, it’s getting way to hard for the average person to buy a home. Happy to see how it ended for this couple though; enjoy your home and your new baby!
As a Realtor of 15 years, I am most pleased to read about this couples journey. They really did their homework and it didn’t take long for them to recognize the reality of the Toronto Market vs. their personal budget. It’s a wonderful piece to set an example for the hundreds of buyers looking for more space and value from their purchase. Look for new trendy and up-and-coming areas to invest in. You’ll be rewarded when it too will peak one day.
The only reason this couple was able to find a home for under $400k is because the neighbourhoods are sketchy. Crime and bad schools.
there are still some (few) affordable neighbourhoods between etobicoke and pickering, however you either have to be willing to drop at least 50K in renos to make it presentable, or be willing to live in a sketchy area. Sure you can find a gem in parkdale for 400K that you can reno and double your investment, as long as you don’t mind the crack houses and a general feeling of unease if you walk at night.
This neighbourhood is one of the worst in the city. Whenever you hear about kids shooting/being shot/killing each other, it’s in a 1.5 km radius of the house they bought. There’s a reason TAVIS spent a lot of time there in the past year.
On top of that, this area is poorly served by transit.
I’m a realtor and here’s what you need to know: if you want to buy a house in Toronto and you only have 400K, the only houses you can afford will feature at least one, possibly a combination of and not limited to the following: inconvenient to transit, unsafe, bad schools, former grow op, nightmare neighbours (important to note in a city filled with semi-detached houses!), insulbrick/asbestos, busy street, proximity to public housing…
Set your sights lower. Buy a townhouse in a better neighbourhood that appeals to young professionals and BUILD EQUITY.
agree with Neville, houses at the lower end of the market have the problems listed. if the market is charging $200-330K for a tiny condo houses which are larger are priced higher and if they are in better locations price sky rockets only crappy neighbourhoods are left and they are also relatively speaking expensive for what you have to put up with – bad school, bad transit and crime
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