Success Story: Christie and Dale
“She found our unicorn,” Dale said with a big smile, making reference to the client success story he’d read on this blog a year ago.
He and his wife Christie recently moved into their gorgeous, character-filled home in East York, the result of more than a year of highs and lows house-hunting in the Toronto market.
Dale, a sports broadcast associate, and Christie, a primary school teacher, came to Jody through a referral from Christie’s sister, Kelly. The initial plan was to invest in a property with Christie’s snowbird parents. “My parents spend most of the year in California, and we were hoping to find a place where we could build a coach house for them to stay in part of the year.”
Jody showed them dozens of listings, as they tried to familiarize themselves with different areas of the city, and consider options for split living arrangements. The first house they put an offer on in the summer of 2016 was this detached 2-storey just off the Danforth:
This was just before the market went berserk, but the house still sold for an amount far above the $599,900 asking price – and Christie and Dale weren’t willing to outbid the winning offer.
They continued to look at properties, and lost a bid on another house in the east end a little while later. After a few months of frustration, they were feeling pretty dejected. They decided to take some time to regroup, and save a little more money while they rented.
Christie loved her west-end apartment. “I lived there for 9 years. It was over a hundred years old, and it was totally us – we loved the character and feel of it. We had 1,000 square feet and the rent was only $1,400 a month!” The fact that she could walk to work in five minutes was also a huge plus, given that she likes to get up as late as possible!
“Frankly, we could have lived there forever,” said Dale, who moved in with Christie three and a half years ago (for anyone doubting that true love can be found on Tinder, Christie and Dale are proof that it can). It was Christie’s parents who really wanted them to get into the market, and their offer to invest is what prompted them to consider buying.
They got married in the summer of 2017, and this savvy couple chose to keep their wedding simple to focus on their long-term goals. They continued saving for their down payment, and changed course to find a home that would be just for them. The challenges associated with building a coach house were proving to be too much.
Christie and Dale’s timing to begin the house hunt again couldn’t have been better. The overheated market began to settle down throughout summer and fall, and they looked at several areas using their new criteria. The next house they put an offer on was a semi near St. Clair & Dufferin, in Corso Italia. Listed at $799,900, it had an offer date on a Friday afternoon in mid-November.
They hoped against hope that the odd timing would limit the amount of competition, but Christie and Dale were still one of three offers, and theirs was not high enough.
Next they returned to the east end, and found a great house near the hospital in East York. It was a slightly larger lot and had more upgrades, so the list price was $849,900 with an offer date in late November.
Christie and Dale thought they’d nab this one with their offer of $900,000, but in the end another bidder swooped in with an offer over a million dollars, and they let it go.
Just as they thought their search was going to stretch into the new year, this fully detached home in a prime area of East York reduced its listing price to $998,000:
It was on a comparatively huge 25 x 134 ft lot, and while it was beautifully renovated, it also maintained much of its charm and character with details like high baseboards, wood trim, and a clawfoot tub.
The kitchen was recently renovated, with tile flooring, granite counters, and sliding doors that led to a wood deck.
All of this was great to be sure, but one of the biggest selling points of the home was outside. The enormous back yard was divided into three separate areas: the wooden deck off the kitchen, a large cement patio, and a gated yard with grass, mature trees, and playground equipment.
Christie and Dale could envision themselves and a future family in that yard, but didn’t want to get their hopes up. The house was on the market for a month and just had a price reduction, so there was no offer date to contend with this time…but as luck would have it, a competing offer came in on the same day as theirs.
After some tense negotiations, Jody was thrilled to tell Christie and Dale that their final offer of $1,054,000 was accepted, and they were homeowners! They were incredulous that they owned a detached house for the same price another buyer paid for the smaller, semi-detached property they’d bid on just days prior.
“The only person happier than we are that we got this house is our old landlord. He just raised the rent to $2,400!” said Christie. (Note: If bill 144 put forth by MPP Peter Tabuns gets approved, rent controls could go into effect that would prevent these hikes. That would, however, also discourage investors from buying rental properties, which would not help to solve the issue of affordable rental units.)
They took possession of their beautiful home towards the end of January, and just look at these happy faces now:
When asked to reflect on their experience, Christie said the most important thing to her was how supported they felt. “Jody allowed us to ask the same questions over and over and not feel stupid. Her support felt very genuine.”
Dale added, “She really is a realtor for everyone, and knows what she’s talking about. The biggest compliment I could pay her is that I referred my brother to her, and she was able to help him find a home as well!”
Thank you, Christie and Dale! Wishing you many years of happiness in the neighbourhood!