Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday's real estate rambling

For once my rambling was on foot, rather than online!

When the baby woke up from his mid-day nap, we put him in the stroller and headed out to see a couple of new listings in our neighbourhood.  The first two are right across from each other, and oddly, share the same numerals in their house numbers.  We stopped at 2108 Gerrard Street East first.
MLS E236719.
As the listing says, it has indeed been "recently gutted and renovated".  It was not very well done, with a lot of the character of the house gone.  The interior doors are new, cheap, and don't fit; the hardwood downstairs is new laminate, and although there are new tiles in the front entry, the downstairs bathroom floor is vinyl and already shows dampness coming through.  Although the listing says the workshop "could be used as a garage", I couldn't see any way to get a car in from the street; no driveway, and no laneway in back.  The kitchen layout is atrocious, with the fridge opening into the stove.  In short, it came across as a cheap flip.  I would never buy it, and certainly not for the $479,800 they're asking.

Across the street at 2081, things were much busier, and with good reason.  Although the listing says 'renovated', it's clearly a well-loved, well-worn family home.  The lot is not as deep, but there's a shared drive with a garage in the back.  Opening up the living/dining rooms has left some odd artifacts in the shape of the walls; you can see where the chimneybreast still is, even though the fireplace is long gone.  For $499,000, less than $20,000 more than the other, I'd expect it to be gone on Tuesday with multiple offers; while 2108 I expect to be seeing on MLS for a time yet. 

Walking west, we stopped in at 110 Hanson, the real reason for the outing.  It was absolutely the gem of the day.  
MLS E2369618
The owner, clearly nearing 90 if not already there, sat on the front porch with her little dog in her lap.  I brought the baby over so he could be appreciated, and appreciated the dog in return.  The house has been owned by her (and her late husband) for 68 years, and on the inside, it shows.  The wallpaper is fantastic; some of the paneling and fixtures are original; his workshop in the basement is right out of the past.  Most of the windows were original, as well as the bathroom.  It was like stepping into your grandparent's house, in all the right ways. 
The kitchen is remarkable, with apple green and white cabinets, an elderly stove, and tons of cabinets and room to eat in.  As we were getting ready to leave we ran into the owner again, this time on the back porch.  She called the baby 'lovely', and I said that her home was also lovely, said that it must be hard having us all come in and look at the house, and that I hoped she found a nice family to sell it to that would appreciate the house as much as they had.  As we walked in I heard her saying to her dog "now wasn't that nice...".  
They've pitched it low, at $399,000, and I expect it will be snapped up by one of the many families we saw touring it.

Next we stopped at 420 Rhodes (MLS®: E2364650), which I can't give you a picture of because there isn't one on MLS, the street hasn't been picked up by Google Street View, and I didn't bring my camera out, not thinking we would make it that far.  It's a nondescript semi-detached that really wasn't worth the walk, and there was no open house.  It's offered at $349,000 for "3 bedroom plus", the room sizes aren't listed, and the listing also cryptically says " In Need Of Some Decluttering And Some Tidying".  All bad signs.

Last stop was 144 Hiawatha Road, the cause of much recent consternation when we discovered  the listing picture doesn't at all resemble the actual property.  I emailed the agent, who was surprisingly forthcoming about admitting that they used the picture from the previous time it was sold.
The garbage is gone, and the house is sitting empty.  There is a gaping hole in the eaves of the porch roof, and I didn't particularly feel safe when I walked up the steps.  The rose bushes are still there, however, and lovely pink blooms were coming out.  I didn't feel too guilty about taking one with me.

In fact, the best part of this property was that at the foot of their street, is Guatama, the new location for the former Siddhartha Indian restaurant!  We stopped in for an early dinner at the buffet.  Butter chicken, naan, and tandoori... and it was a lovely warm day for lime soda on the patio.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Facebook sucks!

Since Facebook won't let me post a link to a URL, CLICK HERE to read the latest on Bad Mommy, No Cookie.

I discuss how to shut up your kids using grade 8 math, and how to divide pizza evenly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lies my Real Estate Agent Told me

Not my agent, fortunately.  But someone's agent is lying, and lying badly.

Here's the one picture given for MLS listing E2362526, which popped up this week (May 2012).  The address is 144 Hiawatha Road, Toronto.  The asking price is $459,000.

As long the listing remains live, you can get to it from this link:

Here's the text from the listing: 
Attn Renovators, Builders And Handyman******Ready To Build. Seller Will Provide All The Drawings To Put Up A Two & Half Storey House******All City Approvals Included. Get In And Start Building. Approx. 1800 Sq Ft Above Ground Plus Basement. No Showings Inside The House. Built Houses Selling For 850K Plus In The Area. Hurry, Won't Last. Seller Can Build Out For You At $110.00/Sqft If Interested. Call Listing Agent 416-844-1357 For Details. **** EXTRAS **** Plans Approved For 4+1 Bedrooms, 5 Washrooms, Finished Basement With Separate Entrance. Immense Potential. No Chattels Included.
But look!  Here's how the Google Maps street view truck took it, April 2009, according to the fine print.  Quite the difference, eh?  Looks like they must have fixed it up quite a bit for the sale (spoiler/hint:  no they didn't).

Now here's the sad part.  In October 2011 someone posted the house for sale for $349,000 (link here).  Here's the picture, which is actually kind of cute, even with the purple/pink paint.  Look at all those gorgeous roses!  By the next month a blog was reporting that the house was only $299,000.

And here is the property today, May 12, 2012, as snapped by Michel Resendes.  Notice that the house next door has been McMansioned.The same pink/purple paint is there, so clearly it has been there since at least 2009.  The nice beige in the first photo?  Pre-dates 2009. 
I would bet a frosty beverage that the real estate agent has used the photo from the time the house was sold by its original owners.  There's no way for me to confirm that personally, but if anyone has agent access to MLS and could look up previous sales, I'd love to see it!

Another final detail; although the listing declares "All City Approvals Included", the Committee of Adjustment only heard the case on May 2, 2012.  The minutes are not published yet.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm not Staging to Sell... I'm Staging to Stay.

During a brief flurry of excitement when my husband and I thought we were going to buy a condo in our neighbourhood and move, I put several books on staging on hold at the library.  That opportunity is over (it turned out to have been sold even before the open house), but the books have come in and I've been reading them, and they're getting me excited about the potential for our house.

Our real estate agent said something that really stuck with me; that we needed to highlight the things in our house that caused us to fall in love with it.  She also said we needed to get rid of 75% of our stuff - I admit to being a packrat!  Reading these books, they say that you want bedrooms to appear to be oases, and bathrooms to appear like spas.  That's where I want to live, too!

My new plan is to "stage to stay".  It's going to be a combination of purging, organizing, spring cleaning, and decorating.  I'm going to splurge on all the things I would if we were selling, but I'm going to do it now, so I can enjoy them.  I will never be someone who says "I wish we'd done all this to the house before we decided to sell it!"