They couldn’t believe their house was worth a million. Then they sold for nearly two

They couldn’t believe their house was worth a million. Then they sold for nearly two

Photographs by Dave Gillespie

The place: A three-bedroom detached at Bathurst and Finch
The sellers: Linda Kornblum, a 68-year-old homemaker, and Howard Kornblum, a 72-year-old chartered accountant
What they paid: $65,400 in 1974
What they sold for: $1.8 million in May 2017

When the Kornblums went searching for a house in 1974, their budget was $60,000. They found this three-bedroom detached at Bathurst and Finch, a sleepy area of mostly small, 1940s starter homes. Theirs was a warren of unnecessary walls, but the location was great: Howard worked downtown, so it was a reasonable commute. The house was listed at $65,900, which they thought was the height of insanity. They forked over their $15,000 savings, took out a hefty mortgage, and placed a successful bid of $65,400. Priority one: tearing down the walls.

In the years that followed, property values rose quickly. A developer built seven mammoth homes across the street that dwarfed the Kornblums’ house. By the late ’80s, as prices continued to climb, many neighbours upsized to Vaughan and beyond. But Howard didn’t want to extend his commute; their kids, Jeffrey and Tracey, were still in high school; and the Kornblums had grown to love their home. They finished the basement, added a pool and family room, and extended the kitchen and master bedroom instead of upsizing.

In 2015, a neighbour told Linda that their house could fetch $1 million on the market. Linda laughed. A year later, the same neighbour said it could probably get $2 million. Linda laughed harder. But then realtors began cold-calling, trying to convince the Kornblums to sell. By that point, they were empty nesters and had paid off their mortgage, and Howard was semi-retired. They decided to sell. Before they even put it on the market, a friend of a friend put in an offer for $1.8 -million. The Kornblums found a 2,000-square-foot condo at Don Mills and Finch packed with amenities for $800,000.

Since selling the house, they’ve booked tickets for an Alaskan cruise, and Tahiti is next. Linda visits their grandkids in Vancouver regularly, and Howard plans to fully retire next year.


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