The Chase: a young couple finds a place to party in the west end

The Chase: a young couple finds a place to party in the west end

The Buyers: Joel McConvey, a 33-year-old freelance writer and producer, and Amy Butoiske, the 33-year-old manager of the Worldwide Short Film Festival.

The Story: McConvey and Butoiske, who lived in a small apartment at Bloor and Ossington, never thought they’d be able to afford a house in Toronto. Then, about a year ago, McConvey finished work on The National Parks Project, a popular documentary series, and the couple found themselves with a windfall (he got paid, unusually, for all 13 episodes at once). “We thought, ‘Who knows when this will happen again? Let’s put the money into a good investment,’ ” McConvey says. The couple loved their neighbourhood, with its cool bars and restaurants, and hoped they could find something nearby. They wanted a place big enough for McConvey to have an office (he works from home) and with a good-sized backyard for hosting summer barbecues. The couple set a budget of $465,000 and started their first-ever house hunt.

Davenport Road (at Dufferin). Listed at $399,900, sold for $450,000.
McConvey and Butoiske stumbled onto their first open house during a weekend bike ride. The place had three bedrooms and was perched on a hill with a view of the CN Tower. They were charmed by the backyard, which had a big patio and a vegetable garden, and the black and white ceramic tiles in the kitchen. They put in an offer of $420,000, but it sold to a higher bidder.

Edwin Avenue (at Dupont). Listed at $399,999, sold for $410,000.
At first, the couple was impressed by the size of this 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom home. But it didn’t make a lot of design sense. The giant bathroom came at the expense of a tiny second bedroom, and the massive kitchen overshadowed the living space. It hardly had a yard—just a deck and a parking spot. “If you’re not using the space well, what’s the point?” says Butoiske. They didn’t bid.

Lansdowne Avenue (at Dupont). Listed at $437,200, sold for $440,000.
McConvey and Butoiske loved this house the minute they saw it. “My first impression: this is a great party house,” says Butoiske. It felt huge, thanks to a recent extension to the back. It was also full of unexpected bonuses: a finished basement with cold storage where they could put a wine cellar, a full bathroom on all three floors, a gas stove in the kitchen and extra storage space in the two-car garage. The big deck had pretty grape vines overhead and seemed like the perfect place for hosting barbecues. It needed a few minor cosmetic updates, but otherwise it was move-in ready. The bidding process went smoothly, and McConvey and Butoiske were able to snatch the place up for $440,000.

(Image: Couple by Liam Mogan)