The Chase: After scouring the GTA for a starter home, this couple finally found the perfect place in Oshawa

The Chase: After scouring the GTA for a starter home, this couple finally found the perfect place in Oshawa

When their one-bed, one-bath pandemic hideout started to feel like a prison, Greg and Andrew decamped from downtown with a $600,000 budget in search of space

Photo by Erin Leydon

The buyers: Greg Giberson, 50, manager of data reporting and analysis for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and Andrew Baird, 40, subway operator for the TTC.

The story: In early 2021, Greg and Andrew were feeling claustrophobic in their one-bed, one-bath condo near St. Lawrence Market, which they were renting for $1,650 a month from a friend. “It started feeling like a jail,” says Greg, who began working from home full time at the outset of the pandemic. They called up their real estate agent—Nicole Hamelin with Coldwell Banker—and said they wanted a two-bed, two-bath detached with ample outdoor space somewhere in the GTA. Their initial budget: $600,000.

Option 1: 197 Laidlaw Street South, in Cannington

Listed at: $549,900
Sold for: $575,000

In September 2021, the couple visited this four-bed, two-bath detached in Cannington, about an hour’s drive northeast of the city. The place was on a great lot with access to the Beaver River. On the downside, it needed about $50,000 in renovations, the floors were uneven and it had no laundry room. But they liked the area and saw potential, so they stretched their budget and bid $630,000. The sellers didn’t bite, instead deciding to relist the home at a price well above the couple’s offer (and then ultimately selling it well below). Greg and Andrew moved on.

Option 2: 670 Adelaide Avenue East, in Oshawa

Listed at: $699,000
Sold for: $875,000

By May of 2022, after at least 20 failed offers, they had saved enough money to increase their budget to $700,ooo. That’s when the couple found this four-bed, two-bath backsplit in Oshawa, with a big backyard that faced a ravine. Greg and Andrew thought the 2,000-square-foot home might actually be too big. And it needed some updating—the flooring throughout was linoleum. But they still went for it, pushing their financial limit again with a $720,000 offer. It wasn’t enough, though, and they continued the hunt.

The buy: 547 Masson Street, in Oshawa

Listed at: $699,900
Sold for: $700,000

That same month, Greg and Andrew saw this three-bed, one-bath detached in Oshawa and fell in love with it. The place was in O’Neill, one of the city’s most coveted neighbourhoods, and it had a backyard with a patio. At 1,300 square feet across two storeys, it was the best fit—“perfect size for two gays and a dog,” says Andrew. The couple would only have to add a dishwasher and central air. They offered $700,000, which the sellers accepted. Greg and Andrew plan to get married soon and may even host the ceremony in their new backyard.

Want to see your house hunt in Toronto Life? Drop us a line at [email protected].