“Rather than hire an agent, they went solo”

A cou­ple’s search for a roomier fam­ily home, with­out pro­fes­sional help

Toronto Life - - Navigator - by gra­ham slaugh­ter

The buy­ers: Corey Sax, a 38-year-old per­sonal in­jury lawyer with Di­a­mond and Di­a­mond; his wife, Lau­ren Sax, a 39-year-old re­tail buyer; and their two kids.

The story: Corey and Lau­ren were liv­ing in a 1,500-square-foot home near Av­enue and Eglin­ton when they de­cided to up­size. For two years, they scoured on­line list­ings daily for a four-bed­room house with a spa­cious back­yard—and, ide­ally, a pool. They were hop­ing to spend around $2 mil­lion. The only thing that wasn’t ne­go­tiable was lo­ca­tion: they wanted their new home to be near their older kid’s ex­ist­ing school. Rather than hire an agent, they went solo, in the hopes of sav­ing a lit­tle money.

OP­TION 1

Hill­hurst Boule­vard (near Av­enue and Eglin­ton). Listed for $2,850,000, sold for $2,805,000. This four-bed­room de­tached house needed work. It had been rented out and not up­dated for decades, and the in­te­rior was look­ing shabby. But it did have one very ap­peal­ing fea­ture: OMBap­proved build­ing per­mits, which would sig­nif­i­cantly ease the ren­o­va­tion process. Corey and Lau­ren con­sid­ered it, be­cause the prop­erty was squarely within their tar­get area and it had a siz­able yard. They reached out to the agent but ul­ti­mately de­cided the price was too high for a prop­erty in such poor shape. They wanted some­place more or less move-in ready.

OP­TION 2

St. Cle­ments Av­enue (near Av­enue and Eglin­ton). Listed for $1,995,000, sold for $2,576,000. Just two blocks south of the last house, this four-year-old, four-bed­room house was in pris­tine con­di­tion. It had a de­signer kitchen, a large back­yard and vaulted ceil­ings in the master bed­room. But the place wasn’t much big­ger than their cur­rent house, which would partly de­feat the pur­pose of mov­ing. And then there was the sus­pi­ciously at­trac­tive ask­ing price: Corey and Lau­ren fig­ured the sell­ing agent had de­lib­er­ately set it a lit­tle low in or­der to en­cour­age a bid­ding war. Hop­ing to avoid get­ting swept up in a mul­ti­ple-of­fer frenzy, they passed.

The buy

Near Bathurst and Eglin­ton. Listed for $2,299,000, sold for $2,170,000. Corey sent out an email blast to a few sell­ing agents. The fol­low­ing day, he got a re­sponse from one who was about to list a five-bed­room home in Hume­wood-Cedar­vale, just south of Bathurst and Eglin­ton. The seller was look­ing for a fast clos­ing, be­cause a pre­vi­ous deal had fallen through. The place was about a thou­sand square feet big­ger than their Av­enue and Eglin­ton house. They of­fered $45,000 more than the pre­vi­ous bid­der, with a 60-day clos­ing, which was enough. They took pos­ses­sion in April. The in-ground swim­ming pool in the back­yard, with a wa­ter­slide, is a big hit with the kids.

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