How a family found house hunting serenity by selling off their old property first
The buyers: Michael Krauss, a 52-year-old cinematographer; his wife, Lhara Eben, a 46-year-old writer, actor and producer; and their nine-year-old son, Oliver.
The story: Lhara and Michael were living in a Dupont and Spadina semi that they’d inherited from Lhara’s parents, who bought it in 1974 as an investment property. They adored the kid-friendly neighbourhood, but the heavy traffic on Dupont made it dangerous for Oliver to play outside. They decided to look for a place on a quiet side street somewhere nearby. Before they set out, they sold the Dupont house, which gave them the luxury of knowing exactly what they could afford to spend on a new home. Their initial budget was $1.25 million.
Yarmouth Road (near Ossington and Dupont). Listed for $679,900, sold for $830,000.
Lhara and Michael considered a few teardown properties, like this two-bedroom detached house. The interior was dark and dingy, and the air inside was stale, as though something had died in the basement. On the plus side, it had a garage, which was on their wish list, and the asking price was low enough that they figured they’d have cash left for construction. Though the house was just slightly west of their target area, they bid $800,000. They were prepared to make a higher counteroffer, but they never got the chance. The next thing they knew, the place had sold for $30,000 more.
Melville Avenue (near Christie and Dupont). Listed for $899,900, sold for $1,300,000.
This four-bedroom Victorian semi was last renovated in the 1980s, and it was in need of work, which seemed to be in progress: the second-storey walls were nothing but blue Styrofoam. But the house had some good features, including high ceilings, a spacious garage and a rentable basement apartment (also on the wish list). There were nine other bidders, so Lhara and Michael decided not to mess around. They went all in at $1,230,000. Unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones determined to find a place in the area. In the end, they lost out by $70,000.
Clinton Street (near Christie and Bloor). Listed for $799,000, sold for $991,000.
This three-bedroom semi was solidly within their preferred neighbourhood, plus it had a garage, and it was a three-minute walk from Oliver’s school. The house wasn’t a teardown, but Lhara and Michael figured they’d need to do a major overhaul to boost the interior square footage and extend the basement. After three rounds of bidding, they won by a very slim margin of $15,000. They rented a friend’s place for the summer while construction crews started tearing the place apart. So far they’ve expanded the kitchen and added space for a gym and playroom. Many other changes are underway.