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Real Estate


The Chase: A Markham couple races against time to find a house for their growing family

The Chase | The BuyersThe Buyers: Dan Carmichael, a 39-year-old account executive for Dell Computers, and Dawn Carmichael, a 36-year-old medical insurance broker.

The Story: The Carmichaels liked their three- bedroom house in Markham, but they wanted something bigger—preferably with a fireplace and in the same school district as their current home, for their two kids—and had been casually surfing MLS for two years. When Dawn discovered she was pregnant with their third child, they realized they’d have to move fast if the baby was going to have his own room. The couple listed their house, and it sold in a week—with a 120-day closing. With their two due dates fast approaching, the Carmichaels set a budget of $550,000 and started out on a blitz-like two-month hunt.

The Chase | Option 1OPTION 1
Penny Crescent (near 16th Avenue and Markham Road North). Listed at 539,000, sold for $562,000.
This four-bedroom house was almost perfect. It had recently been renovated—the kitchen and finished basement were new—and was move-in ready. It also had a fireplace. But it was outside the school district and the first house they saw, and the Carmichaels were hesitant to settle so early in the search.

The Chase | Option 2OPTION 2
Raymerville Drive (near 16th Avenue and Markham Road North). Listed at $579,000. Relisted at $569,000, sold for $565,000.
House after house had disappeared in bidding wars, and the couple was starting to panic. This 3,000-square-foot place was the right size, but the previous owner had converted part of the main floor into a giant walk-in dog shower. They decided they weren’t quite that desperate yet.3

The Chase | The BuyTHE BUY
Mayberry Court (near 16th Avenue and Markham Road North). Listed at $599,000, sold for $618,000.
The couple realized that they had to increase their budget by at least $50,000 if they were going to find something they liked in time. This 2,500-square-foot place had everything they wanted: four bedrooms, a recently renovated kitchen, a fireplace, and their children’s school nearby. They went back three times before the sellers started accepting offers. The Carmichaels not only liked the house, they also liked the sellers. On their last visit, they struck up a long conversation, during which the sellers mentioned their lucky number—18. The Carmichaels decided to use it in their offer, hoping it would tip the scales in their favour. They bid $618,000—and it worked. They moved in the day before Father’s Day, and three weeks later, Dawn gave birth to their third son.

(Images: Carmichaels by John Cullen)

  • Reality Check

    Phew! Thank goodness they came to their senses and spent the extra $68,000 over the original budget. They wouldn’t have qualified for the Toronto Life real estate section if the purchase came in under $600,000.

  • lola

    Yup, might as well rack up the debt like everyone else these days. Sadly, their $618,000 got them virtually no curb appeal.

  • NewWorldPartyDotOrg


    Bubbles – Extreme Maker and Breaker of Wealth

  • Victor

    Couples like this won’t be too thrilled when interest rates normalize to 5-6% while property taxes and maintenance shoot through the roof.

    People are taking on too much mortgage debt in the hopes of seeing home values continue to rise.

    This will end badly.

  • HC

    I bet Victor is a renter and is cheering against the RE market.

  • Joe Simpson

    I can’t find any of these addresses on my map of Toronto???

    Why is this in Toronto Life?

  • franko

    I would think the couple who seem to be young professionals would have the insight to predict rates will eventually go up and plan for that in there budget. Its common sense to most.

  • lalala

    He’s got money… and it’s well within their budget but homes are still a rip these days.