Gisele & Chelsea: Life’s A Beach

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In the summer of 2016, Gisele was enjoying life in her rental condo on King St West, but felt it was time that she made the leap into the Toronto housing market.

Gisele immigrated to Canada from Trinidad (as evidenced by her beautiful accent), and on the first day of university, made a good friend named Gillian. It was Gill who would eventually refer Gisele to us when she heard about her house hunt (thanks Gill!).

“She told me she had the best Realtor ever, and that I had to call Jody! At our first meeting, I told Jody that being from the Caribbean, it would be a dream for me to find a house close to the beach in Toronto. But after reviewing my budget, she told me to keep on dreaming,” Gisele laughed.

And yet Gisele still wanted to hire Jody, even with that reality check, and her purple hair at the time!

Jody’s purple phase © Allyson Scott

“Jody said the best option to get into the market was to buy a condo and build up equity, so we made a plan.”

The condo market was hot, and the process was frustrating. “We put offers in on several places, but were always getting outbid. Thankfully Jody was very patient, and not reactive, whereas I was very reactive,” Gisele said. “She kept me calm, and each time provided reassurance that there would be another condo.”

When she saw the 1+1-bedroom unit for sale in the Neo CityPlace building at Spadina and Front, she was ready to pounce.

The “Neo” building at 4K Spadina (photo © MLS)

Of course there was an offer date, and the seller was not accepting any pre-emptive/bully offers. Gisele was familiar with the area, and it was walking distance from “a beach”, if not “The Beach”! But the real selling point was the large private terrace, and ground-level access to take her sweet dog Piper for walks. “The elevator rides at my old building were a nightmare!” Gisele said, rolling her eyes.

The patio at 4K Spadina © Allyson Scott

The living room with walk-out at 4K Spadina © Allyson Scott

Kitchen/dining area at 4K Spadina © Allyson Scott

The condo was listed at $429,000 to get people in the door, but we knew it was going to sell for much more. There were 18 offers at the table on offer night, which also just so happened to be Gisele’s birthday. The location was great, the value was there, the maintenance fees were very low, and she wanted this condo. After a flurry of negotiations, Jody emerged with an accepted offer just over $552,000, which made for a great birthday present! Time to start packing!

Gisele took out a short 2-year mortgage, allowing her just enough time to build up some equity before trying to pursue purchasing a house in The Beach. Gisele loved the location and was really enjoying living in the unit…until her neighbours listed their condo just over a year later.

“I was blown away by their listing price!” exclaimed Gisele. The suite beside her was one bedroom larger, and listed for $698,000. The condo market was going crazy, and we were confident Gisele’s unit had significantly increased in value as well. It was time for Gisele and her girlfriend Chelsea to start investigating what was for sale in The Beach.

A contender on Fernwood Park Ave © MLS

This character-filled home was deceptively large, and featured a master suite on the 3rd level, complete with second kitchen. With 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a sunroom, and a finished basement, it was actually “too much house”!

Part of the master suite. © MLS

Kitchen, living space, and upper deck off the master © MLS

Listed at $999,000 with an offer date, we weren’t too surprised when this large home south of Queen St landed on a much higher sale price of $1,350,000.

A second serious contender on Duart Park Road was listed at $1,299,000 with no offer date, and had a top-to-bottom renovation done a few years ago.

Beautiful home just north of Queen St (Google Images)

The three bedrooms, three bathrooms, finished basement and living areas were all lovely, and the kitchen was pretty spectactular!

Centre view of the kitchen © MLS

Side view of the kitchen © MLS

As lovely as the house was, the lot was just 28.5 x 52 feet, so not much outdoor space beyond a small deck. We all decided that they needed more land and Piper deserved to have her own yard, so this house went to someone else for just under the asking price.

They went on with their search, and Jody continued reassuring them. “She helped us keep the faith, and I actually believed the things she told us,” Chelsea said. “Neither of us had parents in the country, so she was kind of like our surrogate mom!” (Jody takes this in the spirit it was intended)

While in Florida on vacation, Gisele still couldn’t resist looking at listings online. “I was literally lying on a beach, looking at houses in The Beach on my phone, and thinking that we just had to make this happen!”

And sure enough, she found “the one”.

The dream house becomes a reality © MLS

Listed at $1,049,900 with no offer date, this centrally-located semi-detached house offered 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a finished basement, and a private two-tiered deck on a 102-ft-deep lot. Lots of outdoor space for Piper!

They still had a week left in Florida, and thought for sure the house would be sold by the time they returned. Jody got in touch with the listing agent and asked him to keep her in the loop, which he kindly did. One offer did come in on the house when Gisele and Chelsea returned home, but there was time for them to act quickly to view the property, and write a heartfelt letter to the current owner to accompany their offer.

“There is a lot of history with this house – it was owned by generations of the same family ever since it was built in 1907. This house has been standing since before women had voting rights!” Gisele exclaimed. They wrote the owner to say how her house already felt like home, how much they appreciated its charm and her perennial gardens, and how they could picture themselves relaxing on her back deck.

The upper level of the two-tiered back deck © Allyson Scott

Gisele and Chelsea on the lower back deck © Allyson Scott

“I wanted to offer over asking,” said Chelsea, “but Jody told us not to show all our cards. We were competing with one other person, but it wasn’t an offer date, and she thought it might be good enough for us to go in at the full asking price.”

The owner asked for a night to sleep on it, and, they would later find out, she organized a block party to discuss the offers with the neighbours. Whether it was their offer or their letter we’ll never know, but the next day the house was theirs! And the day after that, we listed the condo at 4K Spadina!

We knew that the ground-level terrace as well as the personal style they’d brought to the unit would command a premium, so we decided to list it at $599,900 with an offer date a week away. As luck would have it, a buyer was watching for new listings, and submitted a bully offer within two days for $640,000 – a 16% increase in value in just over one year! They found the Holy Grail of real estate investing: getting in and getting out at precisely the right time.

In less than a month they closed on both properties, and moved into their new house in The Beach! These women don’t waste any time!

It’s all yours, Gisele and Chelsea! © Allyson Scott

As they began to meet their new neighbours, they were surprised at how much information they appeared to already have about them. “The letter! She showed them our letter!” It turns out they may have gotten the house as a result of a group vote!

They love the character and history of their new home, but that being said, there were definitely a few things that required updating. They painted, they installed new light fixtures, and they took on a couple of larger projects too.

One of the first things they did was add custom “hers and hers” wardrobes and storage to the spacious master bedroom! (Piper approves)

New custom built-ins © Allyson Scott

The master bedroom with dog house © Allyson Scott

Piper’s tail is never still! © Allyson Scott

The other priority was an overhaul of the upstairs bathroom, courtesy of everyone’s favourite contractor extraordinaire, Jason Deschamps.

The “before” version of the upstairs bathroom © MLS

The “post-Jason” updated bathroom © Allyson Scott

Upstairs also features a hers-and-hers home office, complete with dog hangout.

The spacious double home office © Allyson Scott

On the main floor, they have already added some decorating touches like the striking feature wall, without detracting from the character of the home.

Dining room and kitchen with feature wall © Allyson Scott

Living room with picture window © Allyson Scott

Reflecting on their real estate experiences, Chelsea blurted, “Jody put up with so much crap!”

Gisele nodded and said, “Jody gets very emotionally involved in the process right alongside us. I can’t imagine taking that trip with clients every single day…it can’t be good for her!”

Not to worry! Jody does get very invested, but that makes it all the more sweet when it works out.

Gisele, Piper, and Chelsea chilling in the living room © Allyson Scott

Chelsea, Piper, and Gisele in their new home © Allyson Scott

“The difference between Jody and other Realtors is that she truly has the best interests of her clients in mind, and won’t let them make a crazy offer,” said Chelsea.

“We just liked hanging out with Jody, and we miss her. We wish we could just keep going out to see houses!” added Gisele.

Let’s skip the work part and just hang out – we’ll meet you for a glass of your favourite wine anytime!


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