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The Chase: Upper Beach for under $475,000? The search for an under-asking miracle

A family in the Upper Beach was determined to find a detached house for less than $475,000

THE BUYERS
Gordon Springle, a 45-year-old real estate agent, and his wife, Ruthann Clayton, a 46-year-old home stager.

THE STORY
Springle, a former French teacher, flipped five houses in six years before becoming a full-time real estate agent in 2003. He and his wife were renting a semi on Main, near Gerrard, but after a few years there, they were tired of the traffic and noise from the busy inter­section. Springle gave himself a challenge: find a house on a quieter street, still within walking distance of their daughter’s high school, which meant somewhere between Victoria Park and Main, Kingston Road and Gerrard, for no more than $475,000.


HOUSE 1
Whistle Post Street, near Main and Gerrard. Listed at $469,900, sold for $536,600
This three-bedroom semi in the Upper Beach Estates development was the first house that fit the bill, but the bidding war that ensued quickly outpaced Springle and Clayton. The house was seven years old and backed onto the railway tracks, yet they watched offers flood in, exceeding their limit. “At that point, it wasn’t looking good for us,” says Springle. They didn’t bother to bid.


HOUSE 2
Winston Avenue, near Kingston Road and Victoria Park. Listed at $499,900, sold for $525,000
This modest three-bedroom, two-storey detached house was on an underrated street but showed well. Springle suspected (rightly) that it was listed low to bring out buyers. It sold in seven days for $26,000 over asking.


(Images: Springle by John Cullen; houses by Stefania Yarhi)

THE BUY
Winston Avenue, near Kingston Road and Victoria Park. Listed at $519,000, reduced to $489,000, sold for $480,000
Springle saw that the vast majority of house hunters in this neighbourhood were bidding ridiculously high on intentionally underpriced listings. This detached home, a few doors down from House 2, had been on the market for two months without a nibble, and the sellers had just reduced the price. Springle went for a showing at 5 p.m. on a Monday and made an offer later that evening, which was accepted the next day. He found out after the fact that the sellers had been one day away from taking the house off the market and waiting to re-list. “Luckily for me, they decided a bidder in the hand was worth two in the bush,” says Springle. They got the house and blew their budget by only $5,000.