The Chase: An expat comes home and looks for a fixer-upper in Roncey

The Chase: An expat comes home and looks for a fixer-upper in Roncey

Maximum budget: $1.4M

The buyer: Heather Gallo, a 34-year-old strategy consultant.

The story: Heather had been living in a 650-square-foot apartment in London, England. She wanted to switch careers and be closer to home. So, last July, she moved back to Canada and rented a spot in the city, with plans to buy her own place, preferably a large property with a yard. She also wanted a renovation project, something to add value to the house and keep her busy while looking for a new job. Roncesvalles was her target neighbourhood. Heather liked its indie shops and proximity to the Gardiner, for quick trips to visit her family in Burlington. With a maximum budget of $1.4 million, she started house hunting in the west end.

Option 1

Manning Avenue (near Christie and Dupont). Listed at $899,900, sold for $1,200,00.

This three-bedroom wasn’t in Roncey, but it had a nice-sized yard and was close to Christie Pits, both of which were big selling points for Heather. She also loved the nine-foot ceilings and large bay windows, which let in plenty of natural light. She planned on making some overall aesthetic changes, including upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms. Then she discovered that the tenants wouldn’t be able to vacate for another three months. Heather decided to make an offer anyway, but ended up losing out to a bid that was $8,000 higher.

Option 2

Galley Avenue (near Queen and Roncesvalles). Listed at $1,300,000, sold for $1,330,000.

This Roncey semi was on a wide lot, nearly 130 feet. To Heather, it almost felt like a detached house. But the place was also more than 100 years old and in need of major renovations. It looked like it had sat empty for years and there were rat-sized holes in the wall. According to Heather’s calculations, renovations would cost more than $500,000. Considering the house’s poor condition, it seemed overpriced, so she bid at $230,000 under asking. The seller held firm, and the house eventually sold over the asking price.

The buy

Macdonell Avenue (near Queen and Lansdowne). Listed at $1,050,000, sold for $1,280,000.

This three-story Victorian checked off nearly everything on Heather’s list. At 2,900 square feet, it certainly trumped her London flat. The Gardiner was only a six-minute drive away, which would make those trips to Burlington a breeze. And the aging interior needed rearranging and updating, giving Heather her desired reno project. In early August, she made an offer of $230,000 over asking. She was one of seven bidders, but won out with a $100,000 deposit and a quick closing date. She hopes to move in by the spring.