This family felt cramped in their 750-square-foot rental. So they upsized to a $555,000 Mimico condo
Who: Vipin Wadhwa, 37, product designer for a pharmaceutical company; Payal Madhok, 36, a collections officer for a financial institution; and their five-year-old daughter, Ahana.
The history: Vipin and Payal moved from India to Philadelphia for work in 2013. In 2016, their daughter, Ahana, was born.
In 2018, Vipin’s employer offered him the opportunity to move to Toronto, and the family relocated. His new office was located in Mississauga, so they rented a one-bed, one-bath apartment on the ground floor of a nearby home, paying $1,600.
Meanwhile, Payal found work as a collections officer for a financial institution, working out of an office in Etobicoke.
When the pandemic hit, Payal and Vipin both switched to working from home, and they pulled Ahana out of school. The family, feeling cramped in their one-bedroom, thought about buying a bigger property.
But with the uncertainty of the pandemic, they were concerned about job security and the stability of the economy. So they opted to wait for a couple of months and see how things went.
By August, they were going stir crazy in their 750-square-foot rental. So they looked for a larger rental, planning to buy a property soon after.
Vipin and Payal were feeling better about their job security since business had remained steady at their respective workplaces. And the housing market remained strong, steadily climbing despite the pandemic.
In September, the family moved into a three-bed, one-bath rental in Brampton, paying $2,200 a month. Then, in October, they started their search for a home.
The hunt: Payal and Vipin set themselves a budget of $600,000. They originally wanted to buy a townhouse or semi-detached in Mississauga, but quickly realized they’d have to go farther outside of the GTA for something bigger than a condo at that price.
Instead, they looked for a condo closer to the city, with at least two beds and baths. They liked the idea of shared amenities, like libraries and gyms—something to look forward to post-Covid. Ideally, they’d find something close to transit, so they could easily take Ahana downtown to experience city life.
Vipin and Payal had a friend who enjoyed living in the Mimico area, so that’s where they focused their search. There, they would still be able to drive to their offices in Mississauga and Etobicoke once in-person work returned. And they loved how the neighbourhood was close to the lake and had plenty of green space.
In October and November, the couple saw 25 condos and submitted offers on four properties, but they were outbid every time. Feeling somewhat discouraged, they took a break during December.
At the beginning of January 2021, they restarted their housing search. On January 25, they looked at a two-bed, two-bath condo near the Queensway, listed for $555,000.
The location was good: it was close to High Park, there were good schools for Ahana, and the Mimico GO station was nearby, perfect for taking family trips downtown.
The building had a shared tennis court, gym and a children’s play area. Plus, the unit itself had a brand-new kitchen and big bedrooms, and got a good amount of natural light through the south-facing windows. Another bonus: there was a small balcony with enough space for a couple of chairs.
Their realtor, Alexander Evans, thought it was a fair amount based on comparable properties in the neighbourhood. So, based on his advice, the couple submitted an offer at asking the next day.
Vipin and Payal were nervous, having lost out in multiple bidding wars recently, but the sellers ultimately accepted with a move-in date of May 4.
The outcome: Vipin and Payal are looking forward to going on family walks along the lake and in the parks nearby. They can picture themselves bringing Ahana out to bike along the waterfront paths and taking trips downtown, hopping on the GO Train.
They’re excited to have more space than at their Mississauga rental, especially since everyone will be stuck at home again with recent school closures.
Vipin and Payal are both still working from home, but once they go back to the office, Payal will have a 10-minute commute by car and Vipin’s drive to work will be 15 minutes.
They’re planning to stay in their new home for five years and build up some equity to purchase a townhouse or a semi in the same neighbourhood.
“We were initially not sure what things would be like when we immigrated, but Canada has been treating us really well,” says Vipin. “I feel really lucky that we moved, and we’re looking forward to settling down here.”