March 2011 Home Of The Month – South Annex –

Annex / South Annex / Seaton Village

As a realtor, it isn’t unusual to be working with clients who are already in a location they love, but their desire for a larger property or a particular street is what motivates them to make the move.

In this case, my Buyers had spent six years living in their first home in the South Annex. During that time they had done several upgrades, both mechanically and aesthetically, to improve the value of the house. But it wasn’t a large house…in fact it was a narrow row house with a postage stamp garden that was ideal as a first time purchase but definitively lacking as a family home.

For about four years my Buyers looked at properties within a fairly tight geographic boundary…about five streets west and five streets east of Bathurst Street, almost always north of College Street and south of Bloor. While a fair share of houses came to market during this time my Buyers were looking for a property that wasn’t ‘too done’, as their intention was to execute a spectacular renovation/addition and create their ‘Dream Home’. At the same time, it also couldn’t be in such poor condition its structural integrity may have been compromised. There were a couple of properties my Buyers bid on where the Sellers were too cocky and counter-offered at values my Buyers were unwilling to pay. In both instances the houses subsequently sold for tens of thousands of dollars less than what my Buyers originally offered. Silly Wabbits!

As time progressed, my Buyers narrowed their preferred location to two streets – either Lippincott or Borden – which are on either side and back onto the laneway called Croft. If you’re big on urban planning and housing here in Toronto, you may have read about laneway houses and the increasing pressure being exerted on the City to support intensification of our urban fabric by approving new builds on legal laneways. And by legal laneways, I refer to small lanes that already have services like sewage and water plus a smattering of existing residences. In the central west end there are several laneways like this, including Croft Street which I consider one of the most colourful. In the past we’ve been the listing agent to a breath-taking slice of a converted munitions factory on Croft, as well as a 2007 contemporary infill residence designed by Kohn Shnier.

Here’s a pic from OccasionalToronto which is a fantastic blog. Click HERE for the blog posting showing you a few more of the Croft Street properties!

And here’s one of our past Innovative Space listings – the Kohn Shnier house. Pic is the KohnShnier website:

In fact, in the photo of the back yard of the house my Buyers purchased, you can see a peek-a-boo view of the Kohn Shnier house!

This $750k-ish detached three bedroom Borden Street purchase with full basement is all about opportunity and patience. First, its generous 22×138 foot city lot provides the opportunity to enlarge the existing house ‘as-of-right’, meaning if they follow the City’s prescribed set-backs and height limits they won’t have to go to Committee of Adjustment for approvals. Second, while it may take some time for the City to come around to either severing the back end of the lot, or approving the addition of an accessory unit on the top of the existing two car garage, I think in time the City will come round. Seriously, if there’s a $1mil architect-designed infill house behind your garage built on a 27×44 foot lot and the City’s objective is to intensify the existing landscape, what valid reasons should stop it?

My Buyers submitted an offer the day this house came to market, securing it for less than its asking price! I applaud them for their patience, and their awareness of the hidden value of future potential. Whatever my Buyers might do, this property purchase is an ultimate Winner! Congrats!

~ Steven

Buy Of The Month
Real Estate

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