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The Chase: one couple’s search for suburban comforts in the urban wilds

The BuyersThe Buyers: Karie Whetter, a 32-year-old marketing account director, and Paul Cussons, a 35-year-old account executive.

The Story: Whetter and Cussons met and started dating in mid-2010. The relationship quickly flourished, and just over a year later they were already talking about moving in together. Renting was out of the question—they had each been saving for a down payment before they met, and so they decided to pool their resources and take the ownership plunge together. Whetter and Cussons both worked in Mississauga, but neither of them wanted to live there. Most of their friends had recently moved to Toronto, and they wanted to do the same. The couple set their sights on the city’s west end—just on the cusp of Etobicoke—which was still relatively close to work. The area also had housing stock that offered some of the suburban-style conveniences they wanted—a garage, a driveway and a big backyard for Whetter’s two huskies, Bukka and Shade. So they decided on a budget of $700,000 and started their search.

Kenway Road (near Bloor and Islington)OPTION 1
Kenway Road (near Bloor and Islington). Listed at $669,900, sold for $660,000.
This two-bedroom house had been fully renovated in 2010 and was move-in ready. It also had a garage and big backyard. Whetter and Cussons loved the place but thought it was overvalued by about $15,000, so they low-balled their offer. The owner’s boyfriend (also her agent) took it as an insult and reamed out their agent, Dan Balm, over the phone. The couple withdrew.


Prince Edward Drive South (near Bloor)OPTION 2
Prince Edward Drive South (near Bloor). Listed at $725,000, relisted at $699,000.
This two-storey, three-bedroom house—­opposite a cemetery—needed a lot of work. It belonged to an elderly couple who had spent decades smoking indoors. The basement had been redone, but by amateurs—walls were at weird angles and painted lime green, orange and purple. And the place was expensive. Whetter and Cussons took a pass.


Berry Road (near the Queensway)OPTION 3
Berry Road (near the Queensway). Listed at $659,000, sold for $664,000.
The next place they saw, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow, was a game changer. “Both of us fell in love with the house immediately,” says Whetter. It had been completely gutted and redone, the backyard was huge and fenced in, the kitchen was big and modern, and the bathrooms were stunning. The updates weren’t just cosmetic—the sellers even had a 60-page home inspection report on display at the open house. Offers were being held until the following week, but the couple’s agent saw his clients’ reaction and suggested they make a bully offer. They eagerly went in at $5,000 over asking—and the sellers quickly agreed. They haggled over little things like including the kitchen bar stools (Whetter and Cussons got them), and the deal was done.

(Image: Couple by Liam Mogan; Houses by Daniel Neuhaus)

 

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