Last week was a pretty intense week including a home inspection and my first bidding war in Toronto. But let me start from the beginning.
Two weeks ago my HB and I went on our third round of house hunting. It was on a weekday night and up until that point we hadn’t seen any houses that we wanted to put in an offer on. We were scheduled to see two houses that night, one semi-detached and one detached, and honestly they both blew us away. Here’s what the first house looked like.
It was in the east end of Toronto, close to transit and it was completely renovated. Although it was semi-detached, it felt pretty spacious and it helped that it had two floors plus a basement. That being said, my HB has his heart set on a detached house.
I’m a bit more flexible, but he really likes the idea of having a house that he can have a studio in so he can make as much noise as he wants. A semi-detached house would definitely limit his noise making abilities.
- How I Dodged a Bullet By Not Buying a House in Toronto
- Beware of the Buyer Representation Agreement When Shopping for a House
- Another Week, Another Round of House Hunting in Toronto
- House Hunting Checklist: My Must-Dos When Checking Out a House
- House Hunting in Toronto: My Experience in a Seller’s Market
Although we live with way more neighbours than a semi-detached house in our current apartment, we’re still pretty lucky. It’s made of concrete plus he’s set up his studio next to a wall that’s a machine room on the other side. We’ve been here almost two years now and we’ve never gotten a noise complaint.
This house was listed at $494,500. Although I really liked it, my HB just wasn’t feeling it. It ended up selling a week later for $576,000.
Part of the reason my HB wasn’t feeling the first house was because he totally fell in love with the next house we saw. Hell, so did I. It was this cute bungalow in the east end of Toronto, it was close to the subway and it was on a corner lot. It also had a finished basement my HB could easily convert into a studio or we could convert it into a bachelor suite we could rent out later on.
The offer day was less than a week away and our realtor figured it would go over asking but still within our budget. We didn’t want this place to slip through our fingers so we booked a home inspection for a few days later and crossed our fingers that we’d be homeowners sooner than we thought.
Let me explain something for any of you who are wondering why we got an inspection before putting in an offer. In a normal real estate market you would see a house, put in an offer (usually below asking or at asking price), but would have a contingency that your offer was only valid if the home inspection passed. Not in our case.
Toronto’s real estate market is aggressive. If you see a house and want to put in an offer, you usually only have a few days to get everything sorted. You also have to give a clean offer (without contingencies) otherwise the sellers will just ignore your bid. So, we shelled out $500 for a home inspection on a house we might not even get. Annoying and expensive, but that’s just how it is right now unfortunately.
Our home inspector was a pretty nice guy and walked through everything with us. It also helped that my HB and I have seen a ton of home reno and inspection shows so we knew what things to look for and what questions to ask.
Overall, he said the house was in good shape but there was a definite need for grating to prevent flooding in the basement. Grating isn’t cheap and it was a concern because the homeowners’ realtor let us know that the owners had had two floods in the basement in the last 4 years. Even knowing this, we wanted to go through with putting in an offer and would just budget for this to be fixed in the future.
On Tuesday night, we rushed to the sellers’ realtor’s office to put in our bid before 6 pm. Considering I got off work at 5 pm and the office was 30 minutes away, we were definitely freaking out in the car praying we wouldn’t be late.
Our realtor was going to be there on time nonetheless, but she told us that it always looks good when the buyers are there to make their offer that much more serious. We got there just a few minutes after 6 pm and waited in the car. And then continued to wait. I think we waited a good 30 minutes until we got any news. There were 3 other offers and ours was the lowest. I was pretty surprised because I thought our offer was pretty strong. Apparently not.
Nevertheless, the sellers’ realtor asked everyone to up their bids as they were are all relatively close to each other, and then they’d make their final decision. We went up a tiny bit, but I still knew it would be a miracle if we got it. I just couldn’t help but wonder what other people were bidding and how much would the house eventually go for?
Like I expected, we were told that we didn’t get it and the buyer who did win beat us by a long shot. The next day we found out exactly how much that was. The house was listed at $519,900 and it sold for $591,500. That’s over $70,000 over asking price! For a bungalow with possible flooding in the basement! I just couldn’t believe it.
There is no way that house is worth that much, but I guess it was to those buyers. In my mind they overpaid for that tiny house. But on the upside, once we heard the sold price, my HB and I were a little relieved. That number far exceeded our budget so it was obvious that this house was not the house we were meant to buy.
Just as there are other fish in the sea, there are other houses in Toronto and I’m sure we’ll find our house one day (but hopefully soon!).