With the market being a hot time to sell – I listed my house. In one day I attracted 15+ bids and sold it for 118% above asking. Great news right? Not so fast.
The next step was finding a new place that would become a long-term investment. My requirements were: centrally located in an area with a sense of community, under 10-minute walk to the subway, finished basement with a separate entrance, and for under a certain $. This proved to be very difficult.
In the next couple of months, I visited countless open houses, and scoured the MLS listings for properties. It seemed that whatever was decent was selling for tens (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) above asking in a frenzied bidding war.
The first two properties I bid on sold for so much above my already generous offer that it left me feeling quite discouraged.
A couple of weeks ago I put a bid on a 3-bedroom semi-detached home that needed a lot of work. My bid was the winning one until a couple, frustrated with losing out on their last 6 bids came in with guns blazing and put in a very high last minute offer that blew me out of the water. I walked away frustrated yet again.
After losing my last bid I re-evaluated things and looked at the property with clear eyes: even though the house had a lot of promise, there were extensive cosmetic changes that had to be done throughout, it needed a new kitchen/bathroom, was missing private parking, the furnace/AC had to be replaced and the street had a few social housing properties (with one being only 6 houses away from the house I was looking at).
Sometimes things like this happen for a reason, right?
The very next day, I received a call from the agent of a house I saw on the weekend telling me that no offers had been placed on a house and wanted to know if I was still interested (I hadn’t considered the house seriously because I knew it would go well above asking).
Frustrated with the whole bidding process, I told the agent I was interested, but to only contact me close to 7 p.m. that night (when the deadline for bids would be) if she still didn’t have offers and was comfortable with the fact that I would pay very close, or even below the asking price.
At 6 p.m. I received a call informing me that no offers had been presented. Very strange.
My first bid was rejected. Upon this I explained that my next bid would be my final one, and if it wasn’t accepted, to not contact me any further.
My second bid (tens of thousands below the relatively low asking price) was accepted.
So what did I get?
My new home is on a beautiful tree-lined street, just south of the Danforth, and a 9-minute walk from 2 subway stations. With 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, it has a wonderful backyard, private parking, and a separate entrance.
The location is home to a farmer’s market, holds a yearly semi-private street festival, boasts a walk score of 88, was ranked 38th best (out of Toronto’s 140 different neighbourhoods) in a recent government score, is a 25 minute walk to Ashbridge’s Bay, and right by a bunch of great independent coffee shops, yummy restaurants, parks and trails.
However the best thing I found was perhaps the most important long-term wise: a sense of community.
When bidding wars (which are currently the norm in Toronto) are in effect, rational thinking goes out the window. I didn’t want to feel like I had ‘won’ my house but then be left with payments I wouldn’t be able to comfortably handle.
My only guess as to why I had this bit of luck was that during the exact same time that bids were due on my house, a house just around the corner was going through a very intense bidding war. With so few houses on the market, buyers were so focused on one property that mine was ignored in the process.