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The Chase: newlyweds lose a string of bidding wars before finding The One

The Chase: newlyweds lose a string of bidding wars before finding The One

(Image: couple by Erin Leydon)

The buyers: Claudia Arruda, a 29-year-old nurse, and her husband, Eric, a 29-year-old financial coach.

The story: Shortly before getting married in 2012, the ­Arrudas moved from Kitchener to downtown Toronto in search of better jobs and big-city excitement. They started out in a rented one-bedroom condo at Maple Leaf Square. However, Eric, who bought his first investment property at age 21, was soon itching to own a place in his new hometown. He and Claudia were also talking about having a baby and figured they’d need more space before long. With Eric’s cousin, Steve Arruda, as their agent, they started the search hoping to find a house for around $450,000 and quickly realized they’d either have to lower their expectations or substantially raise their budget. What followed was a gut-wrenching sequence of fruitless offers and crosstown bidding battles.

Option 1: St. Clarens Avenue (near Dupont and Lansdowne)OPTION 1
St. Clarens Avenue (near Dupont and Lansdowne). Listed at $599,900, sold for $599,000.
The couple made their first offer on a three-bedroom townhouse with a rooftop deck big enough to entertain 20. The place had been re-listed after languishing on the market for five months, and it attracted two other offers within two days. They were outbid by $4,000.

Option 2: West Lynn Avenue (near Woodbine and Danforth)OPTION 2
West Lynn Avenue (near Woodbine and Danforth). Listed at $599,000, sold for $670,000.
Six failed offers later, the Arrudas were determined to land this semi. On the set offer date, they put in their bid and waited in the car as a half-dozen others drove up and did the same. While parked, they were asked to increase their offer three times before losing out once again.

The Buy: Peterborough Avenue (near Dufferin and Davenport)THE BUY
Peterborough Avenue (near Dufferin and Davenport). Listed at $549,000, sold for $630,000.
After seeing this three-bedroom semi, the Arrudas put in a bully offer of $50,000 over asking with no conditions. “I didn’t want to spend another evening sitting outside our would-be future home,” Eric says. When a second bully bid came in, they threw in an additional 20 grand. Immediately outbid, they upped their offer again and delivered the knockout punch: a two-week closing date, which their opponents couldn’t match. The Arrudas finally had their new home. As a housewarming gift, Steve refused his commission, cutting nearly $18,000 off the total.

  • femme1979

    Wow the desperation amazes me – 70K over asking with no conditions?! When we couldn’t afford a place in our old neighbourhood which we loved (Coxwell and Dundas) we went out about 15 minutes to Pharmacy and St. Clair and found a beautiful home in a quiet neighbourhood for 460K (only 6 months ago)

    It’s actually a quicker bus ride to the subway so it takes me the same amount of time to commute to work.

    Also, we rent out a portion of the house so our costs are approximately $1200 a month.

    TL- Instead of stories of all these crazy people throwing money around like they are in a hip hop video (I see one almost every day) how about some strategies and advice for people who want to buy their first home and have a limited and modest budget. There are options out there for those who are resourceful!

  • Morgan Freeman

    Toronto is overvalued, the dude as a financial coach should know better, lol.

  • C2903

    You are so right, not even 30 and with a $630k house, holy crap. This pair are limiting their options and flexibility; unless they have family help or something the house owns them, not vice versa. And the “no conditions” stuff is indeed worrying. I live right by option 2 in the article (I bought 6 years ago for $300k, just shows you how far we’ve come …. or fallen) and houses ’round here are usually leaky, patched together money pits and time sucks, although it is a great neighbourhood. I am sure Dufferin and Dav is no different.

  • Amber

    Given that this couple clearly have stable income, previous real estate investments and the fact that Eric is a financial coach, I’m led to believe they purchased their new home within their budget. It just goes to show that young people who start making the right choices with their money early on can afford more at a younger age.
    Congrats to this family for finding the right home for them!

  • Eric Skogland

    They have the wrong agent. Be prepared and you wont lose every time. 647-300-7019

  • Eric Skogland

    People look too much at list price. Look at market value.

  • First Time Homebuyer

    I don’t think people who haven’t been in the market looking for homes this past year in Toronto should be voicing their opinions. Getting a 3bdrm house in this city is not as easy as you think.

  • Zero

    Only positive opinions welcome? Everyone knows it’s a sellers’ market now. But experienced homeowners in this thread do speak from the perspective of the adrenaline rush of “the chase” being over, knowing what a large mortgage can mean for your lifestyle, and the risks of buying a 120-year old house with “upgrades” covering up the real problems. Not buying, or looking beyond trendy areas as someone above did, is always an option.

    (I do sympathize with the buyers here. Reading about sitting in your car night after night being asked by slimy agents to panic-increase an offer on a house priced for multiple bids, in a process which engineers out any conditions, makes me never want to set foot in the market again).

  • candolf

    This all just makes me nauseous.

  • AdrianCons

    They do not have the wrong agent. My wife and I recently bought a 3 bedroom detached house in Toronto for under asking price. Steve is our agent and I cannot recommend him highly enough. He knows the market inside out and was always available to us.

    Eric, maybe you should try paying for advertising instead of coming on to sites like this and getting free publicity and dissing other agents. You are the polar opposite of Steve and you live up to the reputation of agents having no class.

  • Anonymous

    Wow could you be more of a sleazy agent. Let me ask you a couple of things.
    How does your political science degree from Brock University help with your understanding of the Real Estate Market.

    While you are putting you two cents together please enlighten the group as to how one ca be prepared with an agent to avoid a bidding war in the current market. I would love to hear how you could have avoided the first two scenarios with you “expertise” as a beginner in the real estate market. What exactly are the “Front Lines” of real estate? As per the quote on your website. The Wright Sister team has hired the Wright Sleaz Bag to loose them business.

  • disqus_JXeW7Hh29L

    Not yet 30 and a K630 house – how do they do it? 47% of first time buyers do so with family assistance. Perhaps this couple falls into this category. That’s how they do it. Either way, over asking and with no conditions, I don’t need to buy a house that badly to agree to those demands. Hope it works out for them, though, and that baby is a sweetie.

  • Stephanika

    What a sleaze Eric. This is the reason realtors are getting a bad rep and being compared to used car salesmen. Eww.

  • Stephanika

    How about this scenario… what IF they’ve been working since 21 or 24 yrs old and saved $5 per yr for a house they’d have an amazing down payment. It’s all about planning. Even $1000 a yr set aside per person for a house plus first time home buyer etc they’d be in not bad shape. Of course just an assumption but come on look in the good – 29, married with a child and a house. Congrats!

    Also $630K for a house? Better than $600 K + for a condo plus maintenance fees. Or renting where it goes nowhere. No new houses aren’t being built. A house is a much better investment vs a condo.

    Y’all need to chill and stop being jealous.

  • Ryan Guthrie

    Why not move 30 mins drive east where $600,000 will buy a modern/updated “mansion” by comparison. I just dont get it.

  • Urbanopolis

    Eric Skoglund, you obviously have zero experience with bidding wars in Toronto’s competitive housing market. “Be prepared and you won’t lose every time??” How does a buyer prepare when they are up against 20-30 unconditional offers? I’m “The wrong agent??” I assume you win every bidding war you are in. I’ll be sure to keep your cell and email on hand the next time I’m in a bidding war to seek your superior expertise.

  • Mike Mikelson

    I had the displeasure of meeting last year. He told me that I should prepare an offer that weekend because the house wouldn’t last long on the market. Turns out the house had been on the market for a year already and to this date remains unsold. I guess the commissions aren’t rolling in like he had planned so he has to resort to spam to advertise. SHAME