The buyers: Sarah Greer, 33, and Scott Perfonic, 34, who both work at the financial services firm Raymond James.
The story: Greer and Perfonic met at a conference in Lake Louise in 2005. She was living just north of Toronto in Bradford, he in Vancouver. They hit it off and dated long distance—for almost seven years—until he moved to Toronto last year. The couple rented a townhouse in Riverside, which they liked for its proximity to the beach, and to restaurants and pubs. Before their year-long lease was up, the couple was married and looking to buy in the neighbourhood. They wanted a place with room for kids, a front porch for relaxing on summer evenings and a large backyard for their two cocker spaniels. And they wanted that dream home for no more than $600,000. They looked at 20 houses before they made their first—and only—offer.
Option 1: Boulton Street (at Dundas). Listed at $629,900, sold for $630,000.
Greer and Perfonic looked at a few houses on this street, which had become a favourite during their search. This three-bedroom row house had recently been renovated, and still had lots of character—Greer especially liked all the little reading nooks—but the kitchen was small and they’d need to finish fencing in the backyard for their dogs. It also exceeded their budget, so they moved on.
Option 2: Bertmount Avenue (near Dundas and Jones). Listed at $689,900, still unsold.
The couple’s first thought about this three-bedroom semi was that it would be perfect for raising a family. It had the porch they wanted, as well as a finished basement with what Greer calls “the most beautiful shower I’ve ever seen.” But the bedrooms were small, as was the yard—and it was almost $100,000 more than they wanted to spend.
The Buy: Howie Avenue (near Broadview and Queen). Listed at $539,000, sold for $582,626.
Greer was driving home from a weekend away with her family when she spotted an open house sign at Queen and Broadview. She called her husband and the couple rushed to see the house. The semi had everything they wanted—three large bedrooms, a big yard, and that unquantifiable feeling that it was the right place—so they put in a bid of $572,600 that day. But other house hunters had the same idea, and the couple found themselves embroiled in a five-way bidding war. Two rounds of offers later, Greer and Perfonic topped out at $582,626—and after killing a couple of tense hours at a nearby Starbucks, they had a house. “We think we won by that $26,” says Greer.