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Real Estate

Under Asking: “Buyers will pay later if they don’t act now.” Three agents share why they sold for less

Their properties include a three-storey High Park detached, a 1970s semi in Cabbagetown and a townhouse just south of the Gladstone Hotel

By Ali Amad| Photography by Bird House Media
Under Asking: "Buyers will pay later if they don't act now." Three agents share why they sold for less

The Bank of Canada is expected to slash interest rates in June as signs across the economy point to a sustainable level of inflation. To get a jump on the competition, house hunters who’ve been sidelined for the past two years are flooding the market in droves. Simultaneously, an abundance of housing stock still sitting cold from the fall is now getting re-listed at a discount. That means savvy buyers can acquire properties on the relative cheap before prices climb, likely by the end of summer. Here, three agents representing three different properties explain why they sold for less.


King West: Laidlaw Street
This condo townhouse sold for $5,000 below asking.

The place: A three-storey condo townhouse with a rooftop patio Listing price: $910,000 Sold for: $905,000 Maintenance fees: $431 per month Date sold: May 4, 2024 Bedrooms: 2+1 Bathrooms: 2 Size: 1,000 square feet Real estate agent: Rahim Jaffer
Photography by: Daniel Molina, NorthSouth Photography

“This turnkey was perfect for a first-time buyer: it was in a bustling neighbourhood and came with relatively low maintenance fees. A comparable unit nearby had recently sold for $905,000, so my clients were hoping to get $900,000 at minimum. In early April, we hit the market with a selling price of $799,000 to create buzz.”

The home was good for a first-time buyer given its low maintenance fees.

“During the first week, the property received 35 showings and multiple offers. But the highest bid—$885,000—was quite below my clients’ baseline. We decided to aim higher and re-list the property at $910,000. Once again, we attracted a lot of attention. After another 30 showings, we received an offer for $905,000. That was enough, and my clients were happy to accept.”

The property hosted 35 showings.

“The market is definitely getting more competitive this spring, particularly around the $1-million range. When buyers find exactly what they’re looking for, they shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer. Several potentials, including one who had visited here three times, didn’t indicate their true interest to me until it was too late. That’s why buyers should act swiftly or risk paying more for the same type of home a couple of months down the line.”

Realtor Rahim Jaffer believes this property would sell for quite a bit in a few months.

High Park: Marion Street
This High Park classic sold for $44,000 under asking.

The place: A three-storey detached steps from High Park
Listing price: $1,899,000  Sold for: $1,855,000 Date sold: May 4, 2024 Bedrooms: 3+1 Bathrooms: 3 Size: 2,500 square feet Real estate agents: David Bailey and Tracey Logan
Photography by: Birdhouse Media

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“This home was in a desirable neighbourhood, but it came with a catch. Because it was split into two separate units—one on the main level and the other upstairs—it required extensive renovations to reclaim its single-family status. We first listed it last fall. At that point, the sector was slowing, so we priced it at market value: $1.9 million.”

The owner decided to price the house just below market value to stir interest.

“Over the next two months, we got 32 showings but not a single offer. Keeping in mind the added cost of renovating, we opted to re-list in April at $1,849,000—$50,000 less than our original ask. This time, the house got more activity. Within 11 days, we’d hosted about 30 showings. A young family ended up with the winning bid.”

Across the first 32 showings, not a single offer was made.

“Being willing to look past the home’s challenging layout meant the purchasers were able to acquire a detached in Roncesvalles for a $44,000 discount—a big deal. And there are plenty of other bargains out there right now. Although these diamonds in the rough will cost a bit more in the short term, they’ll pay off as an investment in the long run.”

Given the home's heritage and verdant backyard, the selling price was a steal.

Cabbagetown–South St. James Town: Sumach Street
This Cabbagetown semi sold for $46,000 under asking.

The place: A red-brick semi with a built-in garage Listing price: $1,298,000 Sold for: $1,252,000 Date sold: May 5, 2024 Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2 Size: 1,500 square feet Real estate agent: Stephen Pryce
Photography by: Wadi Ejiwunmi

“Built in the 1970s, this property has not changed ownership in 40 years, a rarity for Cabbagetown. Last fall, we listed three separate times, at prices ranging between $1.3 and $1.36 million. We got plenty of visits to our open houses, but purchasers weren’t making any offers. Seeing the signs as we approached the new year, my clients decided to pull the listing until spring.”

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This home had twice been listed in the fall of 2023 with no bites.

“Through all those showings, though, we did receive one piece of valuable, recurring feedback: the interior’s dark-red and green palette was a deterrent. So we repainted with white to achieve a more open and airy feel. In April, we put the place back on the market at just under $1.3 million. Three weeks later, someone came in with a lowball bid. After some negotiation, my client accepted an offer at $46,000 under asking.”

The owner decided to accept a lowball offer.

“Since the city has a lot of inventory stocked up, would-be owners have plenty of options to choose from. And while interest rates are going down soon, they’re still relatively high, so buyers are going to be picky. This is why it’s important for sellers to listen to criticism, even if it’s just about some old paint.”

Buyers have plenty of options this spring given the city's surplus of inventory that amassed over the last two years.

Are you an agent who recently sold for under asking? Send your story to realestate@torontolife.com

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