How a restaurateur couple took on Toronto’s property market at warp speed, then opted out
Regan Irvine met Jacklyne Collins in 2012, when he was 33 and an operations manager of a Leslieville restaurant. Collins was 21 at the time and a part-time server and bartender there. After they’d been dating for less than two years, they opened their own restaurant in Cabbagetown, the Irv Gastro Pub, and got married a month later.
At first, they thought they might follow the same arc as other newlyweds in their age bracket: home ownership, then kids. They bought a $355,000 two-bedroom condo near Queen and Bathurst to break into the market, then upsized into an 1,100-square-foot three-bedroom townhouse near the Beaches. Living in the east end cut the commute to their restaurant in half.
A year later, they were planning to start a family, so they decided to look for a detached home with a backyard. They sold the townhouse and bought a three-bedroom near Victoria Park station.
But their efforts to have a child weren’t successful, and work was taking over their lives: they were pulling 14-hour days and spending barely any time in their new house. And so, six months in, they embarked on a life-altering change of plans. They sold the house and started renting a one-bedroom condo near Woodbine and Danforth for $1,950 a month—dramatically less than their mortgage payments. With the savings from their no-property-no-kids lifestyle, they’re travelling to a new place every few months. So far: Panama, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
The first buy
Carr Street (near Queen and Bathurst)
Purchased for: $355,000 in 2014
Sold for: $377,000 in 2014
They liked the condo’s proximity to restaurants, shopping and dog parks, but the noise and nightlife wore them out, so they sold the place and moved into a townhouse with an easier commute.
The second buy
Queen Street East (near Coxwell)
Purchased for: $395,000 in 2014
Sold for: $468,000 in 2016
The townhouse was in a great location, minutes from Woodbine Beach. But they wanted more space and privacy, and the maintenance fees were a little pricy at $545 per month.
The third buy
Victoria Park (near St. Clair East)
Purchased for: $545,000 in 2016
Sold for: $660,000 in 2016
The house was built in 1922, and it wasn’t very energy efficient: hydro and gas were $475 a month. They spent about $25,000 renovating the property before they decided to sell.
The bottom line
Regan and Jacklyne chose renters’ freedom over owning real estate. They used some of the profits to pay off their business loans.