Welcome to the May 2018 Home of the Month! This feature provides a snapshot of what Urbaneer’s Buyers have recently purchased in the City of Toronto.
This month’s real estate buy shares the speedy journey of well-informed buyers who secured their property purchase the first time out viewing houses! While it often takes Buyers several months of searching to find the right property, the stars aligned for this lovely couple in their quest to purchase their first Family Home.
Our Buyers, a professional couple in financial services, had been referred to Urbaneer by one of our long-time clients. For readers just beginning to explore the prospect of buying a property in Toronto, I thought I’d include the correspondence my Buyers and I had in advance of meeting – as well as their story – so that you can better understand the nuts and bolts process in searching for your next property.
Here’s a copy of my note to the Buyers (with some information edited) assessing their housing needs, wants and wishes:
In advance of meeting tomorrow, I wanted to share my preliminary review of the market as it relates to the criteria you identified as important.
Here’s the list you provided:
-A semi-detached is okay (assume it would be hard to get a detached in our price range)
-We’re looking for something in the west side of the city, with good transit options – we both work right downtown
-Good school district is preferable
-Close to a park / green space is preferable
-Recently renovated is preferable
-Street parking is okay
-We are okay going west as far as Jane in the Bloor West/High Park areas. We’d like to avoid Keele to Dufferin, but are good with the Christie Pits/Wychwood areas. We’re also open to exploring North Toronto up to about Lawrence. We’re not sure about school districts, so we’re going to need to do some research there.
-Our max budget would be in the $1.1M range, I’d say
Regarding your property requirements, this week I set up two autosearch engines on MLS which incorporated your housing needs so I could begin analyzing the market specific to you. If I earn your business, I would add both you and your partner’s email addresses to the autosearch so you received near daily updates. This would allow the two of you to vet the listings and flag the ones of interest to me so I could execute a preliminary analysis.
Based on your criteria, one autosearch covers North Toronto and the second encompasses the Central West End. Note MLS does not have fields to filter properties by school district or proximity to green space, nor the condition of the property. The neighbourhoods within each MLS District do not always align with your desire for accessible transit, so you may have to rule out some of the property listings which come to your attention. Alternatively, if you’d like to send me specific geographic boundaries, I can execute this for you and flag the properties which are within your preferred areas.
For any property of interest to the both of you, I’d apprise you of the pros and cons as it pertains to your wishes, wants and needs, assess how the listing has been positioned on the market (for example, priced low to incite a bidding war or priced above market value), forward any relevant information available from the listing realtor for initial due diligence (floor plans, a presale inspection, survey, disclosures, etc) in addition to comparing the property to recent similar sales to help gauge its range of market value. Once you reviewed my assessment, you would collectively agree on whether it was a potential candidate worth viewing based on how well it aligns with your requirements.
In the Toronto real estate market it’s essential to explore the potential variance between the list price and the final sale price in advance of viewing, if only to ensure any potential property contenders are within budget. After all, who wants to channel their leisure time viewing properties that will garner sums that exceed one’s affordability? It’s disheartening and wrecks havoc with expectation. Whereas in the Spring it was most always gauging how high a property might sell over its list price in competition or with a pre-emptive offer, since the provincial government intervention in April, how realtors price and position properties – and the sums they command – can vary dramatically. Executing a comparative property analysis establishes whether the asking price of any dwelling is high, fair or intentionally low to incite competition, so a Buyer can reconcile prior to viewing how close it aligns with budget.
Below is an outline on the two autosearches:
*The North Toronto autosearch has these filters – which can be changed or edited per your direction:
• MLS Districts: C03 or C04 or C09 or C10
• Community: Bedford Park-Nortown or Forest Hill North or Forest Hill South or Humewood-Cedarvale or Lawrence Park North or Lawrence Park South or Mount Pleasant East or Mount Pleasant West or Rosedale-Moore Park or Yonge-Eglinton
• List Price: $900,000 to $1,200,000
• Bedrooms: Minimum of 3
Right now there are 5 listings available matching this criteria. Hereare my concerns on these five properties:
___ Lawrence Avenue West – $962,000 – Lawrence is a busy arterial road. The property is in need of renovation, including having existing municipal work orders. It’s being sold in ‘as-is where-is’ condition.
___ Fairlawn – $995,000 – (Open Saturday 2-4pm) Being one of the smaller semi-detached layouts in the neighbourhood, it’s quite bijou. It’s an estate sale listed below market value, so this is a contender to spike in competition when they receive offers. A similar house on the street sold in September for $1,150,000 with slightly superior upgrades
___ Cleveland – $999,000 – (Open Saturday 2-4pm) It’s a side centre hall plan, so the living room is separate from the dining room and kitchen which some buyers do not favour. It’s located on the corner of Cleveland and Davisville, so there is a fair amount of traffic. This is closer to Bayview than Yonge, so it’s a bit of a hike from the subway
___ Moore – $1,098,000 – Original condition so count on it requiring renovations. It’s being sold in ‘as-is’ condition. It’s a few doors east of Moore so there will be traffic noise.
___ Gresham – $1,150,000 – (Open Saturday/Sunday 2-4pm) Original condition. It backs onto the commercial buildings facing Bayview, so there’s a heightened risk of vermin, delivery trucks, and redevelopment
*The Central West End autosearch has these filters – which can be changed or edited per your direction:
• MLS Districts: C01 or C02 or W01 or W02
• Community: “Annex” or “Casa Loma” or “Dufferin Grove” or “High Park North” or “High Park-Swansea“ or ”Lambton Baby Point“ or ”Little Portugal” or “Palmerston-Little Italy” or “Roncesvalles” or “Runnymede-Bloor West Village“ or ”Trinity-
• Bellwoods“ or ”University“ or ”Wychwood” or “Yonge-St. Clair
• List Price: $900,000 to $1,200,000
• Bedrooms:Minimum of 3
At the moment there are 21 listings available which match this criteria. Of those 22, 7 are income properties, 3 are on busy arterial roads, and 2 I considered junk. That leaves 9. Here are my concerns:
___ Shaw – $1,025,000 – Being just north of Dupont, it’s next to the train corridor.
___ Bellwoods – $1,049,000 – Somewhat quirky, frame construction, and the rooms are fairly compact (the 3rd bedroom is basically a closet)
___ Brookside – $1,098,000 – North of St Johns, just east of Jane so a bit ‘out there’ but the Jane bus is frequent. Two small bedrooms under the eaves on the second level and no washroom. The master is only 10’x10′ with a 3piece ensuite and located on the main floor. The renders it problematic for young families. It’s a flip which has its own set of risks (potential ‘lipstick on a pig’).
___ Page – $1,099,000 – North of St Johns, just east of Jane so a bit ‘out there’ but the Jane bus is frequent. Some Buyers don’t like layouts where the staircase intersects the main living space.
___ Glendale – $1,099,000 – Located opposite the St Joseph’s Health Centre. No on site parking.
___ Glendonwynne – $1,179,000 – We will have to watch for settlement issues in this pocket. The rear yard is a reverse ravine. No on site parking.
___ Runnymede – $1,188,000 – Runnymede has a bus line on it, so it can be a bit noisy and dusty. So-so small bedrooms.
___ Tyrrel – $1,199,000 – (Open Sunday 3-5pm) No on site parking.
___ Roxton – $1,199,000 – Poorly designed basement
Can you review these listings and let me know if any of these are of interest? I’ve noted which ones have open houses, should you wish to view any at your leisure. Alternatively, would you consider touring your top picks tomorrow at 1pm instead of meeting at Starbucks on King at Shaw? It would give me the opportunity to demonstrate my working style while educating you ‘real time’ on the housing market. If this does appeal to you, the only caveat is securing a confirmation to view the properties in advance of meeting, so the more advance notice the better. However, if you’d rather we stick to our plan to meet at Starbucks I’m a-ok with that too,
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!
These lovely Buyers reviewed the listings and elected to view four of the properties. As we toured each property, they discussed the merits and challenges of each dwelling as it related to them personally, allowing me to create a framework for their personal housing matrix. This is where I identify what qualities are important to each Buyer (ease to ttc, natural light, space plan, etc.) and which ones are deal-breakers (poor renovations, ugly aesthetics, low ceilings, etc.), so that in the future I can hone in on properties that reflect both Buyers. However, as it turns out their search was short-lived, as the last property we viewed ticked all their boxes and captured their hearts. I could see why. This detached 3bed, 2.5bath residence located south of St. Clair just west of Christie had been renovated (though some components were ready for a refresh), was without significant building component deficiencies, and was nestled on a tree-lined family-friendly street. Constructed in 1918, it was well-proportioned with a lovely balance of original features and modern amenities including a main floor powder room and generous kitchen with breakfast nook overlooking the garden.
Because my Buyers were going out of town the next day for a romantic get-away (where he would propose to her!), that evening they spent time in the neighbourhood, including walking through the school yard, strolling the nearby park, and dining in a cafe on St Clair West. Finding they really liked it, they scheduled a second viewing for Monday and I sent them a due diligence package including recent comparable sales, the presale inspection report, and my insights. On our second visit, my Buyers gave me the go-ahead to proceed with an Offer and, within 48 hours, they had successfully secured this exceptional house!
Here are some photos from MLS which illustrate just how stellar this purchase was:
Congrats to our Buyers! Offered for $1,199,000, this stellar home was secured for $1,185,000
Serving first, second and multi-time buyers, young families, down-scaling Zoomers, renovators and those building their investment property portfolios, our mandate is to help our clients strategically secure the best real estate on offer, while ensuring their purchase best serves their practical needs and their dream of ‘Home’. We identify a property’s best qualities, features and insouciant charm in the context of the future target market while meeting your own wishes, wants and desires.
Curious to see what the Urbaneer Team sells? Here’s Toronto’s Best Houses & Condos Of 2017 By Urbaneer, which showcases our expertise across the original City of Toronto!
Are you exploring the possibility of purchasing Toronto real estate? Here’s some of my most popular blogs
If you, or someone you love, has specific real estate needs, wishes and desires, and would enjoy the personalized service of someone Celebrating Twenty-Five Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor who subscribes to a pressure-free approach – and a specialty in unique and charming urban homes – please know my team and I are here to help!
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
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Buy Of The Month