The Chase: how one couple’s first-house budget went from $900K to $1.4M

The Chase: how one couple’s first-house budget went from $900K to $1.4M

The buyers: Brodie Nolan, a 32-year-old emergency physician; Julia Swiercz, a 32-year-old registered nurse; and their dog, Oliver.

The story: Two years ago, Brodie and Julia decided they’d rather buy a house than splurge on a lavish wedding. They were attracted to High Park because of its lush, laid-back atmosphere, and they hoped to nab a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house—ideally an older place with some vintage details intact so Julia could live out her Pinterest-inspired home-decorating fantasies. They also wanted a backyard for Oliver and on-site parking. The catch: they needed to get it all for a mere $900,000.

Option 1

Annette Street (near Keele). Listed at $975,000, sold for $950,002.

Julia was so enamoured with this bay-and-gable Victorian that she was willing to overlook the home’s peculiarities, which were numerous. It had very narrow staircases, and two of the five bedrooms were in a third-storey addition that wasn’t connected to the HVAC system. They bid $900,000, then added another $50,000 when they learned there was competition. Because their bank had only approved them for a $900,000 purchase, they made the bumped-up offer conditional on financing. The sellers went with a matching unconditional offer.


Option 2

Glenlake Avenue (near Bloor and Runnymede). Listed at $1,118,000, sold for $1,414,000.

After more than two dozen fruitless showings, Julia and Brodie paused their search to get hitched—they had an intimate wedding at Piano Piano and shot their photos in High Park—and by early 2018 they had managed to save a larger down payment. They loved this four-bedroom home. The interior was bright and airy, with just enough vintage charm. There was a full-height basement, and the backyard seemed perfect for Oliver. But when they found out their offer of $1.25 million put them seventh on a list of 10 bidders, they decided to bail.


The buy

Glendonwynne Road (near Annette and Runnymede). Listed at $1,379,000, sold for $1,475,000.

Julia saw this four-bedroom, 100-year-old property on MLS and assumed it was beyond their means. Brodie was confident their down payment was large enough to make it work. They toured the place and discovered it had an impressively large lot, a verdant backyard and a spacious basement rec room, at which point Julia shook off her sticker shock. They made an unconditional $1.4-million offer. When the sellers asked for an additional $75,000, Julia and Brodie agreed. The only hiccup: when they rolled up on closing day, their SUV didn’t fit in the garage.