The Chase: the search for a Danforth house with an extra suite to rent out—for under $500,000

The Chase: the search for a Danforth house with an extra suite to rent out—for under $500,000

Jo-Anne McArthur

She wanted to stay in her neighbourhood, but she had to share her front door to do it

The Buyer: Jo-Anne McArthur, a 34-year-old freelance photographer.

The Story: McArthur had been renting a house near Danforth and Jones for four years, and wanted to buy in the area. When her parents, who live in Ottawa, proposed purchasing an investment property, she figured they could team up, and she would buy them out in (she hoped) about 10 years. Since her parents wanted to earn some income from the house, she would look for a place with an extra suite to rent out—an easy stipulation for McArthur, who is usually abroad six months a year with her camera and is used to subletting to short-term tenants. With a maximum budget of $500,000, she enlisted Julie Hughes of Keller Williams and started the search.

House option 1OPTION 1
Felstead Avenue. Listed at $509,900, sold for $521,250.
This three-bedroom, semi-detached house was directly across from Monarch Park and priced low to invite a bidding war—which is exactly what happened. “It had all these nooks and crannies,” says McArthur admiringly, “a lot of wood and a lovely little garden.” It also had a separate rental apartment, but she got spooked when bidders kept upping the ante.

House option 2OPTION 2
Ivy Avenue. Listed at $525,000, reduced to $498,000, sold for $506,000.
This house, with a second-floor apartment, had been on the market for months. She made a lowball offer on the same day as another bidder. A small war started. “I was inching up a few thousand at a time and getting increasingly stressed,” she says. Then the other buyer suddenly jumped $20,000, and she was out.

Quarry Court. Listed at $499,000, reduced to $445,000, sold for $437,000.
McArthur saw the listing for this three-bedroom semi right after her bidding war fell apart. She wanted to take a look, but it didn’t have a separate entrance for the apartment—one of her basic criteria. A week and three unattractive places later, McArthur noticed it was still for sale. She saw it on a Friday morning; on Monday, the sellers were moving to Scotland and taking it off the market. McArthur decided she could live with a shared entrance if it meant getting this house. She offered $430,000 on the spot. The sellers countered with $437,000, and the deal was signed. They even threw in all the furniture for $1,000. McArthur posted the apartment on a theatre industry listserv, and within a month she had two tenants, both from the cast of Billy Elliot.

(Images: McArthur by Jess Baumung; houses by Kevin Meikle)