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Real Estate


Super-Sized Real Estate

How one couple built their dream home, a $5-million south Mississauga mansion, and then realized it was just too big

The Sellers
Ed Hand, a 53-year-old client manager at a personal injury law firm in Ajax, and his wife, Reta Hand.

The House
A 6,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bathroom, multi-gabled mansion in Mississauga’s tony lakefront Lorne Park neighbourhood. Extras included a salt­water swimming pool with a waterfall, an outdoor bar (“Ed’s Place”) with a flat-screen TV, and a massive 3,500-square-foot finished basement featuring a wine cellar, movie theatre, exercise room and game room.

The Story
Hand had lived in condos and a relatively modest 3,400-square-foot house his entire adult life. In 2006, he began building his dream home. By 2008, when the Hands finally moved in, they had exceeded their budget by $1.5 million in a quest to go over the top: there was the $250,000 sound system, the $600,000 in landscaping and $700,000 in furniture. “I got a little carried away,” Ed says. The Hands, who shared the house with their three 20-something sons, soon realized their home was way too big. There were entire rooms, such as the upstairs lounge, that no one in the family ever used. In June 2009, they put the house on the market for $4.9 million.

The Strategy
Their agent, Lisa Searchfield of Sotheby’s, warned the Hands that properties in this price bracket can take two or three years to sell. She devised a $10,000 marketing plan but didn’t need to spend even a quarter of that. After an open house for agents, one agent quickly alerted his client, Harold Shipp—a wealthy Mississauga builder and a close friend of Hazel McCallion—about the property. Shipp, who is 84, was looking for a ready-made mansion and was immediately intrigued. He returned several times over the next few
weeks to see the place.

The offer
Three weeks after the open house, Shipp offered $4.5 million (furniture included), which wasn’t enough for the Hands—it had cost them almost that much to build it. Shipp and his agent faxed back an offer of $4.8 million, and the Hands accepted.

Listed for: $4.9 million, Sold for: $4.8 million, Days on the market: 24 (All photos: John Cullen)

  • Parker

    “Hand had lived in condos and a relatively modest 3,400-square-foot house his entire adult life.”

    3,400 square feet is NOT relatively modest; it’s huge. If Hand took one of those eco-footprint tests, he’d fail big time.

  • east yorker

    cry me a river. his excess is vulgar.

  • ASH

    Just a sec while i play the world’s tiniest violin.PULLEAAASE ,3.400sq,ft ?Modest?
    Mr.Hand and gfamily need to take a trip somewhere and see the world’s poor.I haveno words for the utter arrogance of thinking somehow ,that trying to unload a $4 plus million mansion is ahrdship and would interest the “commom folk” who reside in 3,400 sq ft or less

  • Hogtownmike

    He’s not even a lawyer and he is living in a $5-mil pad? Sounds like someone’s eyes were bigger than their stomach…

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with Ash. Never mind the world’s poor…to the average Canadian 3400 sq. ft. is not modest in any way shape or form! Toronto Life get a clue! It’s time to stop being so @#*&%@& elitist. Join the rest of us plebs.

  • aldo

    What a world of greed!!!!
    People are dying and this guy hadn’t had chance to use rooms in this ugly mansion with no taste. GREEEEED

  • seraph

    Very poor taste.

  • Haley’sComet

    I agree..3,400ft “modest????” I grew up in an 800sq.ft home with two siblings and two parents. My first home was 1,200sq ft and my current one is 3,400sq ft. Its just my husband and I but its too good a taxfree investment to sell. I am incredibly fortunate and thankful to have such a dreamhome. I appreciate it so much because I have known alot less. Anyone who thinks 3400 is modest is spoiled and ungrateful.

  • abe

    PI scams seem to pay very well. The only people who waste money like this are people who don’t work hard for it.

  • PB

    If you read the article correctly, it says “relatively modest”. 3400 square feet is indeed modest RELATIVE to the 6000 square feet home that was sold.

  • Clayton Oliver

    hey where did my comment go?

  • mike

    I know one of the sons, first off this guy is not even a real lawyer! he’s a paralegal!! He won money from a lawsuit, its not from his salary, thats for sure. No average lawyer could afford a 5 mill house anyway unless you own a big law firm.

  • reality

    eeeew just further proof the personal injury “industry” is slimey and revolting.

  • Bo Jangles

    The whole Hand family’s a bunch of spoiled little brats. Especially Pete. He’s such a little girl