They sold crazy-high, and are planning to travel the world for two years with their windfall

They sold crazy-high, and are planning to travel the world for two years with their windfall

Photographs by Dave Gillespie

The place: A four-bedroom rectory in Trinity Bellwoods
The sellers:  Neil MacIntyre, a 75-year-old retired chartered accountant, and Sharon MacIntyre, a 75-year-old retired property manager
What they paid: $195,000 in 1993
What they sold for: $1.59 million in May 2017

In 1992, Neil and Sharon MacIntyre went looking for a house downtown. Queen West was still in the early stages of gentrification, and deals abounded. One day, Neil was mindlessly flipping through a free real estate magazine and noticed a small listing for a rectory, listed at $249,900 by the Slovak Catholic church at Niagara and Queen. It had four bathrooms, four bedrooms, an office, a finished basement, a large attic and a garage. By the time Neil visited with his realtor, the price had dropped to $209,000. He told Sharon that the house was perfect. Her response was, “How have you not put an offer on this yet?” They bid $195,000 and took possession of the house in September 1993. Sharon and Neil loved the location and their neighbours. They often walked to dinner and down to the Four Seasons Centre for the opera. Over the next two decades, the MacIntyres watched as the area transformed into a hipster haven, the site of soaring condos, slick furniture stores, and a thriving restaurant and bar scene.

Around 2007, they noticed neighbours beginning to sell, decamping to be closer to their children and grandchildren in the suburbs. In January, they also put their house on the market. It was in impeccable condition, with all of the original wood detailing still in place. It attracted 60 viewings and, ultimately, two aggressive bids. They sold to a young family of six for $1.59 million, eight times their purchase price.

“It’s such a gift, because the sale happened at just the right time,” Sharon says. The couple plan to travel the world for the next two years; their first stop was Scotland, where Neil’s family lives. They’ve budgeted $200,000 for their travels, and put the rest of their money in stocks, bonds and ETFs. When they return to Canada, they hope to buy or rent a place on the West Coast with a view of the water. Beyond that, they have no plans—which is exactly how they want it.


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