The seller: Leigh Tynan, a 34-year-old portrait photographer.
The property: A semi-detached former video store on Bathurst between Bloor and Dupont, with two residential floors above it.
The story: Tynan bought the storefront in 2007 for $465,000, planning to turn it into a studio. At first, the idea seemed perfect: living and working in the same building meant a lower property tax burden and a 30-second commute. But the place needed work, so she spent $180,000 on a lengthy renovation—redoing the floors and walls, adding a striking bamboo-and-glass staircase and furnishing the place with carefully selected vintage pieces. She finished just in time for the arrival of her first child. Two and a half years later, she started thinking about having a second—and getting out of the live-work set-up for good.
The prep: The house was ready to show, since the renovations were so recent. But that didn’t stop Tynan from worrying. She and her agent, Ophira Sutton, were both unsure about how much interest there would be in a live-work property on a major thoroughfare. Also, the quality of the reno—all the finishes were high-end—put the place in a richer category than similar properties in the city. She needed a good return in order to buy a new house and rent a separate studio. So they tidied it up, listed it at $749,000 and hoped for the best.
The offers: The listing came out on a Thursday and immediately caught people’s attention. “We had viewings every hour of every day that weekend,” Tynan says. There were viewers who wanted to open a hair salon, an interior design office and an accounting firm, to name a few. Two of them made offers over the weekend. Tynan had anticipated a lengthy selling process, so she didn’t have a new place yet. She was able to negotiate a 90-day close with one of the interested parties, and settled easily by Monday for $739,000.