The Chase: A couple decides between a killer downtown condo and a modest semi outside the core
The buyers: Jenna Cheal, a 34-year-old psychologist with a specialty in cat psychology, and Ash Christopher, a 34-year-old engineer at the tech start-up Wave.
The story: Cheal and Christopher moved to Toronto from Hamilton in 2011, shortly after Cheal completed her PhD at McMaster. They weren’t ready to buy, so they rented a one-bedroom apartment in the Entertainment District, near Wellington and Blue Jays Way. They liked living close to Queen West, but the unit was uncomfortably small for two people (especially since both of them often worked from home).
They also craved a place with more character. “We were tired of living in a shoebox in the sky,” says Cheal. After poking around on MLS for a bit, they set a budget of $500,000 and, with help from Marlene Jaegerman of Harvey Kalles, started searching for a great condo with parking and at least two bedrooms.
Option 1: Dalhousie Street (near Church and Dundas). Listed at $524,999, sold for $500,000
The couple loved the century-old Merchandise Building, but the unit they looked at was narrow and dark, and the sellers had torn down the wall between the master bedroom and bathroom. “We would have had to undo their renos, which seemed like a shame,” says Christopher.
Option 2: Jones Avenue (just north of Gerrard). Listed at $689,900, sold for $682,000
Figuring they could spend another $150,000 if they didn’t have to pay condo fees, the pair toured this turn-of-the-century three-bedroom. The kitchen had been renovated, but the basement ceilings were low and there wasn’t much closet space. “Seeing it convinced us to go for a condo,” says Cheal.
The Buy: Dalhousie Street (near Church and Dundas). Listed at $609,000, sold for $605,000.
This two-bed-plus-den wasn’t quite as polished as the other unit they’d viewed in the Merchandise Lofts, but it had wall-to-wall windows and a great layout. They placed an initial bid of $590,000, then quickly accepted the seller’s counteroffer of $605,000 to seal the deal. They’re already planning to boost the resale value by renovating the kitchen and bathrooms, and replacing the laminate floors with hardwood. Their only regret: that they didn’t buy the place five years ago.