The Chase: a couple finds an east end pad with room for a granny suite in the basement

The Chase: a couple finds an east end pad with room for a granny suite in the basement

The ChaseThe Buyers: Johnny Williams, a 36-year-old bail supervisor, and Christiann Holweck, a 33-year-old operations manager at Foresters, a life insurance company.

The Story: Three years ago, Williams and Holweck bought their first place together, a two-bedroom bungalow at ­Victoria Park and Gerrard. Not long after, Holweck’s mother, ­Mildred, relocated from Ottawa to be closer to her family—and settled in the couple’s basement apartment. The arrangement worked fine for a while, but single-floor living started to feel cramped. Williams and Holweck, who were ready to start a family, decided it was time to trade up. They wanted a move-in-ready place with two storeys, three bedrooms and a finished basement suite. “Lots of basements are fine to rent out,” says Holweck, “but this was for my mom! It had to be more than just decent.” They also wanted to stay in the east end. The couple set a budget of $500,000 and began a search that would take them to roughly 100 homes in just over six months.

The ChaseOPTION 1
Georgina Gate (near Warden and St. Clair). Listed at $529,900, sold for $515,000.
This three-bedroom townhouse, with a yard and finished basement, was almost perfect but slightly over the couple’s limit. They decided to wait until after the open house to see if any other offers were on the table, hoping they might snag a deal. The strategy backfired, and the place was snapped up by less cautious bidders.

The ChaseOPTION 2
Midland Avenue (near Danforth). Listed at $499,000, sold for $465,000.
This four-bedroom split-level had recently been updated. But it was slightly outside their ideal area, and it felt a bit sketchy—lots of houses with Beware of Dog signs, hardly any green space and less-than-stellar graduation rates at local schools. They didn’t want to own the most expensive house on the block, so they walked.

The Chase

Haslam Street (near Birchmount and Danforth). Listed at $499,000, sold for $488,000.
Williams and Holweck loved the neighbourhood, with its many parks and its up-and-coming vibe. “There’s a lot of new development. People are buying bungalows and building up,” Williams says. This four-bedroom house had a new kitchen with granite counters and a huge master bedroom. Everything they wanted had been done—except the basement, which was unfinished. But the ceilings were high and there were big windows. The couple decided they could convert the space themselves—so they bid low at $450,000. They eventually went up to $488,000, which left them enough money to reno the basement after moving in.

(Image: couple by John Cullen)