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The Chase: One couple resists the lure of suburbia for a few more precious years downtown

The Chase

The Buyers: Erica Smith, a 34-year-old real estate agent with Condo Chicks, and her fiancé, Marc Puddy, a 37-year-old insurance executive.

The Story: Smith and Puddy started looking for a place together after they got engaged in November. Torn between the large lots of the suburbs and their love of downtown, the couple looked at houses in Etobicoke and Port Credit as well as condos in the core. “Condos are getting smaller and smaller. It’s hard to find one that feels like a home,” Smith says. They needed room for their dog and a home office, as well as two parking spots. They set an upper limit of $1 million­­—preferably less if they opted for the burbs—and started their search.

The Chase
OPTION 1
Ravensbourne Crescent (near Eglinton and Islington). Listed at $899,000. Now off the market.
This Etobicoke home was large—4,000 square feet—but it was built in the ’60s and needed a lot of work, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. “We’re both so busy we didn’t want to come home every day to a big project,” Smith says. Another downside: the hour-long commute to work, which seemed less tolerable the more they thought about it.


The ChaseOPTION 2
Lombard Street (near Queen and Church). Listed at $499,000, sold for $419,000.
A spacious 1,200 square feet, this fifth-floor condo felt more house-like than a lot of downtown units. It had a big kitchen and other condo rarities: a wood-burning fireplace and a master bedroom that could fit a king-size bed. They loved the space, but they love their miniature greyhound, Tucker, more—the building’s no-pets policy killed any chance of a deal.


The ChaseTHE BUY
George Street (near Richmond). Listed at $825,000, sold for $800,000.
“When we found this place, it was pretty much a done deal,” Smith says. The 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom condo was still under construction, but it wouldn’t need any work. It was pet-friendly and had two parking spots. The unit had been released for sale several months earlier, so Smith and Puddy went in low with an offer of $740,000. The developer refused to look at anything that didn’t start with an eight, so they came back with an even $800,000, and their offer was accepted. They love their new place downtown—even if they know it won’t last. They’re planning to start a family in the next few years, and they figure they won’t be able to resist the temptation of a house with a lawn.

(Images: Couple by John Cullen; homes by Rachel Wine)

 

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