Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.

 

How the losing couple of eight bidding wars finally nabbed their home

Carolyn Ireland – The Globe and Mail

For aspiring home buyers in Toronto who have lost out on one house after another, Aviva Levy and Adam Walman offer some words of encouragement: Hang in there.

“We lost eight bidding wars,” says Ms. Levy of the couple’s adventures in Riverdale. “We’re now there and we’re really happy.” Last year at this time the pair was mired in despair.

“We were rookies,” says Ms. Levy of their introduction to multiple offers. At first they thought that offering the full asking price might be enough to beat their rivals.

Comment: Better than some I have had that want to throw in offers under asking, even with 10 other bidders, “just in case, you never know”. Actually, I do know. I have done this before, quite a few times, on both sides of the table. If you listen to your agent and go with their advice, there is a good chance you will get the house. Bidding wars are not the time to be hesitant or conservative.

After a few bidding skirmishes, they were so discouraged that they approached the landlord of the house they had rented and offered to buy it from him. They left notes on the doors of houses they liked, asking homeowners if they would like to sell.

Comment: Heck, I have done that for clients. So few listings, it is hard to find something to even make a bid on!

They tried a few bully offers on properties that were actually on the market. That tactic didn’t get them a house either.

Mr. Walman, who is a commercial real estate agent, tried his hand on the residential side and presented offers himself. He did his best to persuade the sellers that the couple would make great custodians of a well-loved home.

Comment: Nice buyers don’t outweigh another offer with a lot more money on the table. It is cute and all, but at the end of the day, it is really about how much money the seller puts in their pocket.

Ms. Levy told her husband she was going to fire him and hire another agent after one particularly disappointing loss.

“I think I put a lot of pressure on him,” she now says ruefully.

Toronto Bidding War Winners
Part of their dissatisfaction stemmed from the fact that they kept shelling out money for home inspections and still ending up without a house.

Finally, in the ninth round of competition, they prevailed over eight other bidders and signed the deal on a detached house on Woodycrest.

Nobody could believe it – including the home inspector and employees at the local bank branch who had commiserated with Ms. Levy every time she returned a certified cheque un-cashed.

“I was shocked,” says Ms. Levy. “By the end, we were so used to losing, everyone was shocked.”

The winning strategy, says Ms. Levy was to go in with no conditions and a healthy chunk above the asking price of $700,000. The couple had their financing pre-approved and had done yet another home inspection before the offer date.

Comment: Sounds like the bid that finally won was simply a lot of money and no conditions. I hate it too, but that is what it takes to win these days.

In fact, Ms. Levy acknowledges that they may have lucked out sooner if they had been willing to extend their search beyond Riverdale but they badly wanted to live in the neighbourhood along the Danforth. The young couple had gotten to know the area while renting when Ms. Levy was in graduate school, and they liked the parks, amenities and access to transit.

Comment: And people have to be willing to compromise. Even if the houses you are looking at are priced at $499,000 and you are bidding $700,000 – if they are all selling for $800,000 then you are priced out of the neighbourhood. Sounds dumb, when your budget is $700k and the houses are priced $200k less. But it is what they sell for that matters. People have to get listing prices out of their minds, they don’t count for much any more.

Ms. Levy and Mr. Walman were also intent on buying a detached house with parking. Supply was very limited, laments Ms. Levy, because so many of the houses on Woodycrest and nearby streets are semi-detached.

Comment: Oy, they were searching for a unicorn. Rarely seen, seldom found. A detached house in a hot area, with parking. For a somewhat reasonable price. They sure set themselves a difficult task!

Where they were willing to compromise was on the size and condition of the property. If they got into the right neighbourhood, they figured, they could improve the house. They began to look in lower price brackets so that they would be able to offer a greater amount above asking.

They bought a house that has a large backyard but a small footprint. Typically people who buy these compact houses put on an addition, Ms. Levy says, and the couple may be able to do that eventually.

Also, they had been living in a rental condo, so they actually have more space now.

“For us, this is a big house for two people,” says Ms. Levy. “Compared with our 600-square-foot condo, it feels massive.”

Now that they have the house, the couple is finding it takes up a lot of time, says Ms. Levy. They also faced some unexpected expenses. A tree fell on the house not long after they moved in, which resulted in a big insurance claim. Then they found out their fence is encroaching on a neighbour’s property.

Comment: This is why you don’t blow the budget on a house. Do not spend every cent the bank will give you. Do not drain your bank account on a down payment and land transfer taxes. You will need some for the not so little things that might crop up sooner than you expect. I just did my roof for $8,000, for instance. Furnace repairs were $1,000 two years back. Looking at $1,600 for carpet soon, and a couple grand for windows. It never ends…

Mr. Walman is taking courses on plumbing and electrical repair at George Brown College so that they can save some money when things break down.

Comment: Don’t do that. Just don’t. Install a light fixture, change a tap. Paint the fence or seal the driveway yourself. But do not try anything important, it never ever goes well. Kijiji has all sorts of great contractors. Stay away from Homestars. I have had bad experiences, friends and clients have as well. But I have had contractors from Kijiji install pot lights, fix a faulty switch, paint a bathroom, power wash and stain my deck and fence, seal my driveway and more. Never a problem.

But they’re very pleased they made the move.

Joan Watkins, a real estate agent with Right at Home Realty Inc., says some pockets in the east end of Toronto are very hot right now, including streets near near Greenwood and the Danforth.

She recently sold a house at 136 Monarch Park Ave. for $741,000. The semi-detached, renovated house lasted only three days when it hit the market with an asking price of $575,000.

Comment: That is crazy. I had people not want decent places for $400,000 in that neighbourhood 5 years ago.

Ms. Watkins says the location of the house – just one block from the Bloor-Danforth subway line and with a walk score of 92 – appealed to the buyers in this case.

“When the buyers bought it, they couldn’t get close enough to the subway.”

While the sellers got 129% of the asking price, she notes that many houses in the area have sold recently for 120 or 125% of the asking price.

Ms. Watkins, who has been selling real estate for 32 years, says micro-hoods tend to swing in and out of favour.

Comment: No so much in Toronto any more. Every week there is a new hot place to buy. And once hot, they stay hot. And as people move in to less desirable areas and fix up the housing stock, values rise. As values rise, more people move in. Then come the businesses to support the new influx of buyers. Generally they are young, so they want restaurants and clothing stores and art galleries and places to go for fun and drinks. And soon you have fully changed from empty storefronts, dollar stores, decrepit old bars and the like. And now, barring a long term catastrophe, the new neighbourhood has changed and is a popular destination.

For a while, Monarch Park Avenue and the surrounding area lost some buyers to Leslieville, which for a time gained a reputation as a place to find an affordable house in the east end, Ms. Watkins says.

Now values in Leslieville have swelled and buyers have a renewed interest in being close to the subway at Greenwood and the Danforth.

Comment: What do you mean “now” values in Leslieville have swelled? They have been rising for 10+ years now.

At one time, she adds, house hunters might have considered Monarch Park Avenue a busy street but in this case, after one day on the market, the sellers were resisting a bully offer.

“That seems to have changed,” she says of the willingness to live in a bustling area.

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Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.

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