The Chase: A recently divorced dad finds a $677,000 fixer-upper just south of the 401

The Chase: A recently divorced dad finds a $677,000 fixer-upper just south of the 401

The Chase: Nizar Abu Farha
(Portrait: Erin Leydon)

The buyer: Nizar Abu Farha, a 51-year-old TTC station supervisor.

The story: In September 2014, Abu Farha separated from his wife of eight years and moved out of their two-bedroom condo near Leslie and Eglinton. He rented a place in Thorncliffe Park and, this past April, started searching for a permanent home. He planned to live alone (his 18-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Shareen, lives in Germany), but he figured a three-bedroom home would be a better investment than a smaller house or condo. He fondly remembered a bungalow he’d lived in after emigrating from Jenin in the West Bank 22 years ago, and he was determined to find a similar place in Parkview Hills, a secluded neighbourhood near St. Clair and O’Connor.

Working with Gordon Springle of Real Estate Homeward, he set a budget of $700,000 and began the search.

The Chase: Option 1

Option 1

Marilyn Crescent (near St. Clair and O’Connor). Listed at $783,126, sold for $776,000
This three-bedroom backsplit had everything Abu Farha wanted, including a recently renovated kitchen, and it was located in the middle of his dream community. Unfortunately, it was outside his price range, as were other homes nearby. Reluctantly, he expanded the search beyond Parkview Hills.

The Chase: Option 1

Option 2

Tuna Court (near Don Mills and York Mills). Listed at $549,000, sold for $675,000.
Abu Farha loved this beautifully maintained semi. Its hardwood floors and backyard pool were in pristine condition; all he needed to do was move in. Hoping to avoid a bidding war, he offered $70,000 over asking. To his disappointment, he was the third-highest bidder out of 18.

The Chase: The Buy

The Buy

Ivorwood Crescent (near Ellesmere and Victoria Park). Listed at $669,000, sold for $677,000.
This three-bedroom house needed serious work, but it was affordable—and Abu Farha was sick of searching. He offered $6,000 over asking, then another $2,000 to seal the deal. Since closing in August, he has spent more than $100,000 on interior renovations, and he expects to drop another $30,000 to fix the roof and restore a long-neglected backyard pool (he’s waiting out the renos in his Thorncliffe rental). “After all this work, it’s going to be a beautiful house,” he says. “But it’s not Parkview Hills.”