A Toronto couple wanted to upsize. After just a day of viewings, they bought an $850,000 townhouse in Wallace Emerson

A Toronto couple wanted to upsize. After just a day of viewings, they bought an $850,000 townhouse in Wallace Emerson

The Buyers: Alison Ku, 36, a researcher for a tech company and a mixed media artist, and Mike Post, 40, a freelance software developer, with their rescue dog, Coconut.

The Story: When the pandemic hit, Alison and Mike were renting a one-bedroom apartment near St. Clair and Bathurst. With both of them working from home, their 700-square-foot unit seemed more cramped than usual. In the fall of 2020, with interest rates low, they set a $1-million budget and started searching for a two-bed townhouse in the west end, where Alison could be relatively close to her parents in Etobicoke. The couple visited three properties in one day, all within a 10-block radius. Based on advice from their realtor, who warned them about the craziness of market, they had a deposit ready to go.


Option 1: A two-bed, two-bath townhouse near Davenport and Lansdowne

Listed at: $798,000
Unsold

This place had a brown-brick façade and a rooftop patio, where Alison and Mike imagined starting a vegetable garden. Inside, at 1,100 square feet across three storeys, it was a major upgrade from their St. Clair apartment. Alison loved the hardwood floors on the main level and the cathedral ceilings in the primary bedroom. It also had an extra room for an office. But they figured the place would require costly renovations, including replacing the central air, updating one of the bathrooms and opening up the kitchen. So they moved on without making an offer.


Option 2: A three-bed, two-bath townhouse near Davenport and Lansdowne

Listed at: $860,000
Sold for: $835,000

Less than an hour later, the couple walked a block east for their next viewing. The place had a red-brick exterior and a rooftop patio. On the inside, it satisfied their need for more space, at 1,200 square feet across three storeys, with two extra bedrooms, one of which could become an office, the other a storage area for Alison’s artwork. On the downside, the living room was only 200 square feet—too small for most of their furniture—and they could hear the neighbours talking through the walls. Once again, the couple opted not to place a bid. 


The Buy: A two-bed, two-bath townhouse near Dupont and Lansdowne

Listed at: $860,000
Sold for: $849,000

This property also had a rooftop patio. And on the inside, at 1,250 square feet and three storeys, there was more than enough room for Alison and Mike to work from home without being on top of each other. The only thing they didn’t like was the waffle-patterned carpeting on the top two floors, but that was an easy and relatively inexpensive fix. The place had been on the market for three weeks, so the next morning, they submitted an offer at $25,000 below asking. When the seller didn’t bite, the couple upped it by $14,000, which did the trick.


Do you have an interesting story about buying or selling real estate during the pandemic? We’d love to hear it: realestate@torontolife.com