The Chase: A couple’s search for a half-million-dollar house

The Chase: A couple’s search for a half-million-dollar house

Photograph by Erin Leydon

The buyers: Matthew Naranjo, the 38-year-old owner of Terroir Wine Imports, and Qumi Naranjo, a 31-year-old executive assistant at Nestlé.

The story: Matthew and Qumi had been dating for nearly a decade, each of them still living with their parents. In 2016, they decided to buy a house and start planning a wedding. They hoped to find a property somewhere between Spadina and High Park. It quickly became clear that their $600,000 budget wouldn’t even get them a two-bedroom townhouse south of Bloor, so they began to scour the Junction area.

Option 1

Norval Street (near Runnymede and St. Clair). Listed at $529,000, sold for $650,000.

Matthew heard that a friend’s mother was planning to sell her three-bedroom semi in Rockcliffe-Smythe. It was dated and narrow, but it had a driveway, a small backyard and a basement tenant. They offered $550,000, but their friend’s mom demurred. She ended up selling the place for $650,000. “We’re still friends, though,” says Qumi.

Option 2

Runnymede Road (near St. Clair). Listed at $449,000, sold for $578,000.

Qumi and Matthew spent every weekend attending open houses, occasionally putting in offers. This detached, two-bedroom bungalow, just a block away from the Norval house, needed a lot of work. They knew the list price was far too low, so they went in at $550,000, which would have left money for upgrades. They lost by $30,000.

Option 3

Sandcliff Road (near Jane and Eglinton). Listed at $489,000, sold for $500,000.

Matthew heard that the elderly owner of this three-bedroom row house had died, and her son and daughter seemed to be in a hurry to sell. The bedrooms were tiny and the walls were yellow from cigarette smoke. As a result, Qumi and Matthew were able to get the place for $500,000, leaving plenty of money for a complete renovation.