How a real estate agent sold and swapped his way to the top of Toronto’s housing market

How a real estate agent sold and swapped his way to the top of Toronto’s housing market

Portait by Erin Leydon

At age 38, Scott Shallow had been a real estate agent for three years, but he had yet to buy a place for himself. In 2004, he saw an opportunity in the Toy Factory Lofts in Liberty Village, which were under construction. When Scott reviewed the landscaper’s drawings, he noticed that what looked, on the builder’s scale model, like an imposing 12-foot wall was in fact a three-foot planter. He pounced on one of the units behind the planter and got the place for a relative bargain. He credits the misleading model with warding off other potential buyers.

Three years later, construction on the Thompson Residences near Bathurst and King was starting, and Scott was intrigued. An agent friend of his who was selling condos in the building tipped Scott off to a two-bedroom unit that was being passed over because it faced the building’s courtyard; buyers were concerned it wouldn’t get enough sunlight. Scott waited until the price dropped slightly and put down a deposit. In 2010, he sold the Toy Factory condo and moved in.

By 2014, the market was booming. Wanting to trade up before things got any hotter, he made an offer on a freshly renovated house near High Park. After he learned the seller had accepted his bid, he quickly sold the Thompson condo. With the proceeds, he had about $500,000 for a down payment. He now lives in the home with his girlfriend, Yesha ­Machicao, also a real estate agent, and their seven-month-old son, Sebastian.

The first buy

The Toy Factory Lofts (near King and Atlantic)
Purchased for: $305,700 in 2004
Sold for: $565,000 in 2010

This two-bedroom, second-floor unit had floor-to-ceiling windows and Douglas fir ceilings. After buying pre-construction, Scott took possession in 2008 and sold the place a year later.

The second buy

The Thompson Residences (near Bathurst and King)
Purchased for: $463,800 in 2007
Sold for: $725,000 in 2014

Scott opted for some luxury upgrades when he signed the sale agreement on this 1,200-square-foot condo, including hardwood floors and custom floor-to-ceiling bathroom tile.

Scott Shallow’s home on Abbot Avenue. Photograph by Erin Leydon
The third buy

Abbott Avenue (near Dundas and Bloor)
Purchased for: $1,085,000 in 2014
Estimated value: $1,835,000 in 2017

When Scott bought this house, the previous owners had already installed a spacious new kitchen and converted one of the three second-floor bedrooms into a luxurious bathroom.

The bottom line

Scott managed to purchase a single-family house before the massive price run-up of 2015 and 2016. In May, his High Park home was appraised at $1,835,000.

The Hunt