December 2012 Home Of The Month – South Annex

Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village

Welcome to urbaneer’s Home Of The Month. This feature provides a snap shot of what urbaneer’s Buyers have recently bought in the City of Toronto.

If you’re a regular reader of our Home Of The Month posts, you know we help all kinds of purchasers including first time buyers, down-scaling zoomers, investors and people relocating to Toronto. No matter the circumstance that necessitates a purchase, we endeavour to match your housing needs, wishes and dreams with the ideal property.

Which brings us to this month’s feature – a sensational 16 year old South Annex residence.

We recently assisted a savvy client make her most recent property purchase. We first met in 2001 when she purchased our stylish loft condominium listing. In 2009, during the global financial meltdown when the Toronto housing market dropped over ten percent in 45 days (and the Canadian government slashed interest rates dramatically to stimulate the economy), our client took advantage of the market correction to upgrade into a renovated executive house. Once in her new abode, she spent the following three years making strategic decorative improvements to turn her dwelling into a property showcase. On completion, our Seller decided she enjoyed the process so much that she wanted to do it again. So Urbaneer resold the dwelling for the street’s precedent-setting sum, and we began our search for the next opportunity.

There is definitely merit in building your wealth by making calculated property moves. The key is not to deploy this strategy with the aggressive mindset of professional Flippers (who use their own full time trades to get in and out quickly on a property to execute substantial ‘trendy’ renovations). It’s better to address your home improvements in a systematic program that takes two to three years to complete. After all, you want to live in your residence with some comfort and semblance of ‘home’ while you’re completing the upgrades. Also, you don’t want to blatantly circumvent the law by moving so frequently your principal residence (and tax-free gain) is deemed a thinly-disguised flip- which may get you into taxable hot water.

If you’re buying a property that isn’t a total ‘gut’, top-up, or rebuild, you should look for a dwelling with a solid foundation and no structural issues. After all, the money required to address those items is generally costly and not profitable. You should also seek out a dwelling which has as many of the major building components in good condition, though finding a property with recent wiring, newer heating/cooling systems, a serviceable roof, upgraded plumbing lines and decent windows are usually accompanied by the more cosmetic upgrades that realize the highest return. As a result, you should count on having to do some building component upgrades. Your future buyer will still appreciate, and value, those sorts of significant improvements.

Another key to making a smart buy is to purchase a house which doesn’t require significant changes to the space plan. If you can avoid having to take down walls or install support beams, columns or headers, you’re more likely to profit. We counsel our profit-minded clients to look for houses with tired open concept renovations from the 1970s or 1980s rather than buying older vintage houses which need several walls of plaster and lathe removed. Basically, the more you can allocate your renovation budget to cosmetics, the more likely you’ll garner a higher return. Click HERE to read one of our HomeWatch newsletters called Value In Buildings which offers more insight on this.

With our client fully subscribing to finding the right opportunity to execute a cosmetic upgrade, the property which ultimately presented itself hit all the right buttons.

Located in the South Annex, a reputable downtown west neighbourhood on the Bloor subway line just west of the University of Toronto, this two-and-a-half-storey 16 year old semi-detached dwelling on a 20×80 foot city lot with parking came to market at $965,000. Well-constructed but aesthetically dated, this turn-key residence with great curb appeal had the added feature of a very high partially-finished concrete basement with separate entrance. Here are some photos from the mls listing:

As you can see in the photos, the interiors were bland in their presentation and stylistically conventional. The bleached kitchen, ugly tiles, yellow wood floors and giant pot lights turned off today’s style conscious buyers. Despite its good proportions, generous room dimensions and vaulted ceilings, three and a half baths, gas fireplace and third floor city vista roof terrace, most Buyers couldn’t see past the aesthetics. But our Buyer did. With a comprehensive plan to upgrade this house into a contemporary city residence for busy professionals, our client secured this property for under list with a quick closing. To our delight, this solid buy is a blank canvas for our stylish client who, with her great eye and design connections, will provide a great return on investment when the time is right. In the interim, we know she’ll enjoy every minute of the transformation process.

Are you looking for an opportunity like this? If you, or someone you know, has particular real estate needs, wishes and desires, please know we’re here to help!

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

We’re here to earn your trust, then your business.

Buy Of The Month

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