Adventures in real estate: “We upsized to a four-bedroom house”

Adventures in real estate: “We upsized to a four-bedroom house”

Between having Camden, dealing with the virus, selling a house and buying a new one, it’s been a big, crazy year for us

Photograph by George Pimentel
Jeff Cartwright, 36, Brianna Cartwright, 31, and Camden, seven months

He’s vice-president at a recruiting company; she’s an ultrasound technologist, East York

More Adventures in Real Estate

Brianna: Jeff and I met in 2013, just after we’d both finished school. We’ve been pretty much inseparable since. After we got married in 2016, we bought a three-bed, two-bath detached in East York for $930,000. Then we started trying to get pregnant, but it didn’t happen as easily as we’d hoped. We ended up trying IVF in 2019. Shortly after, we got the phone call. We were pregnant.

Jeff: Camden was born in February, right before the city went into lockdown and my company decided that everyone should work from home.

Brianna: We started to realize the house had some drawbacks. We wanted to have more kids and knew we’d need more space.

Jeff: In April, I looked at the HouseSigma app and noticed a shortage of supply in East York, presumably because people were worried about the state of the market. But demand was still strong. With Camden so young, we thought it might be good to sell before he grew too attached to the house and the neighbourhood.

Brianna: We estimated that we could sell for $1.3 million, and that became our magic number. We listed for $999,000 and got a ton of interest—58 people came for in-person viewings. We made everyone sign a form stating they hadn’t come in contact with the virus.

Jeff: We got seven bids, ranging from $1.1 to $1.3 million. We went back to the top five bidders and asked them to resubmit. The top offer went up by $50,000, raising the total above our magic number, to $1.35 million. We settled on a 60-day close.

Brianna: We had planned to sit tight for a few months, stay at Jeff’s parents’ place in Stouffville and start looking for a house in the fall, when maybe the market really had dropped off a little. But then Jeff spotted a place.

Jeff: Bri had actually seen this four-bedroom, four-bathroom house online a few weeks earlier. It was only a 10-minute walk from our old place, and it had a big backyard overlooking Taylor Creek Park. It was listed for $1,489,000, which was more than we were willing to pay, but we decided to check it out anyway.

Brianna: The place was massive—3,000 square feet. I immediately thought about knocking down the walls on the main floor to make it open concept. It had four bedrooms, a one-car garage and driveway parking for four. It seemed like the type of place we could grow into.

Jeff: When we were looking at the basement, there was an Excel spreadsheet on the desk and it had June 1 marked as “moving day.” We assumed that meant the owners wanted to be out of the house by then, which suggested we were dealing with a motivated seller. So we made a low offer of $1,375,000 with a 60-day close, because we figured a quick closing date would be key for them.

Brianna: They rejected the offer and asked us to come back with something better. Jeff wanted to go up to $1.4 million, but our agent had the feeling that we were very close. He convinced us to up our offer by $10,000 and offer a 30-day closing. Our agent called us back 10 minutes later and gave us the good news.

Jeff: We had to get bridge financing until we closed on our sale. We closed on July 29 and are living with my parents while we renovate the main floor, basement and some parts of the second floor.

Brianna: We’ve been really fortunate over the last five years, especially considering everything that’s happening now.

Jeff: We’re still hoping to move in the fall, or at least by Christmas. Between having Camden, dealing with the virus, selling a house and buying a new one, it’s been a big, crazy year for us.

Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus