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Real Estate


The Chase: an expat couple’s citywide search for a $650,000 house

The Chase: One couple’s story of house-hunting for $650,000

(Photograph of couple: Erin Leydon)

The buyers: Brazilian expats Joa Cavalcanti, a 32-year-old department manager at Harry Rosen, and his wife, Fernanda, a 31-year-old legal assistant

The story: Between the endless clacking of high heels above and the squealing 20-somethings who packed the hallways on weekends, the Cavalcantis’ West Queen West condo was beginning to feel like a university dorm. But the real incentive to move came in the form of an anonymous complaint about their five-year-old Norwich terrier, Bizu. They were forced to confine the dog to the bedroom when no one was home, so he wouldn’t bark as people walked past the front door. Though they weren’t quite ready to have kids, the Cavalcantis decided it was a good idea to start looking for a pooch-friendly home sooner rather than later. They put their condo on the market, set a budget of $650,000 and began a citywide search for a bigger place.

Option 1: Appleton Avenue (Near St. Clair and Dufferin)OPTION 1
Appleton Avenue (Near St. Clair and Dufferin).
Listed at $589,000, sold for $635,000.

This two-and-a-half-storey semi had a large backyard for Bizu, and Fernanda envisioned the attic as an awesome retreat for a future teen. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get financial approval fast enough to place a bid, and they lost out.

Option 2: Simpson Avenue (near Gerrard and Carlaw)OPTION 2 Simpson Avenue (near Gerrard and Carlaw).
Listed at $649,900, sold for $660,000.

The Cavalcantis were divided about this recently renovated Riverdale semi. Fernanda liked the lofty aesthetic, but Joa thought it was cramped at only 13 feet wide. Still, they put in an offer of $3,000 over asking, with Joa secretly hoping they’d be outbid. Happily for him, they were.

The Buy: Windermere Avenue (near Runnymede  and Bloor)THE BUY
Windermere Avenue (near Runnymede and Bloor).
Listed at $699,000, sold for $770,000.

While the open-concept kitchen, master ensuite and big backyard were all pluses, this house was $50,000 over their budget. But there was a rental unit in the basement, and their agent did some creative number crunching. He explained that renting the basement for $1,000 a month would cover the cost of an extra $200,000 on a mortgage. Six parties bid on the house, and the Cavalcantis won out in the second round. The day after the signing, Fernanda found out she was pregnant with their first child.

  • Tamir

    Creative number crunching, or getting the couple to assume more debt for the chance of offsetting the overages with the rental unit?

  • johnphilipgreen

    $770k is actually a great price for that area.

  • rose qiang

    It is a great area however, going over budget is never a good idea. A basement apartment typically has high turnover rate and they will find out how expensive having a child is in Toronto. It’s funny no financial institutions include childcare costs in the mortgage calculation and that cost is definitely more than 200k mortgage cost!

  • Rose

    It’s never a good idea to go over budget! Maintaining a house is not cheap and this couple will soon find out how expensive having a child is. No financial institutions calculate childcare costs into qualifications of the mortgage, but that cost will definitely exceed the basement rental income. Good luck to this couple!