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
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.
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