Monday, September 17, 2012

House Hunting in West Toronto: A Lesson on To Flip or Not?

Along Humber River in West Toronto, just south of Bloor, there are several beautiful neighborhoods, populated with beautiful quaint homes, jaw-dropping mega mansions, and the humble in betweens. Since my husband and I had Makena, now 13 months old, we are being ever-so encouraged by both of our families to get into a detached home. The idea of owning property in Toronto is daunting. The competition is fierce and prices are newsworthy high. However, there does still remain the possibility that with some good luck and timing, a house in need of a decent flip could make owning in Toronto affordable. My in-laws just finished a complete house flip in less than eight months, most of the work being done by my father in law. Yesterday, we took a drive through these quaint neighborhoods and shopped the market. After I obsessed on the mega mansions, which failed to capture on my phone so I'll post later, I pointed out this lovely Nantucket-style home. I love the rough-cut stacked stone detail of the front entrance and the oversized white wood trim, the finished landscaping, and beautiful curb appeal of the house. The bay window is a great feature for the hot summer months, too.

My father in law was less impressed with the Nantucket house. He pointed out there was no driveway (the asphalt driveway on the right belongs to the neighbor), no garage-think about those winter months with baby, and little backyard. He also contended that the floorplan couldn't be customized to our liking. He is 100% flip it. A drive down the street...

My father in law points out this house. It has great structure and the project wouldn't be overwhelming for our first flip.

My father inlaw liked the flat location, which is tricky to find in the neighborhood, the property size, but wasn't thrilled to see it lacked the same basics like a garage and parking. With delight, this next house is a no brainer. My mother in law loved it too. We both loved the black metal fence and gated entrance, the private veranda, not seen in this shot with views of the Humber river, and the flourishing plants. On this cul-de-sac street, there was also a small dog park that would only be used by locals. Perfect for having a child, but perfect for having many more! My father in law laughed-sure you want that house, we all do! At an easy $4M price tag, it was clearly out of budget. But, baby, you got to dream!!!

There were a few more recently flipped houses in the area. The trouble is that I've lived in new houses my entire life. The idea of moving into a project, and having to temporarily house elsewhere during construction, seems overwhelming with the prospect of also having a family and finishing a final edit on novel. That's a full plate! 

The next house my father in law detested the double arches, contending that the middle could easily lead to water trouble down the road. I could see his point. David Small Designs is a sign that I've seen repeatedly on several house projects in Toronto. Just based on what I've seen on the street, I'm loving their work. To see their portfolio, click here.

There were several more beautiful traditional multi-million dollar homes. They might not look it due to age, but they are based on location and size. Could you image living in an older home like this? With my California suburban tract roots, I find it hard to image what it might actually be like to live in an older home like this. It looks like a movie set to me, something that I very rarely saw in Irvine, Orange County or in the beach communities of LA. These homes are there in Cali, but I guess they were always off my radar growing up.  

My father in law would always bring me back to reality and teach me about the possibilities of changing a home through renovation. He liked this next one, saying it would be a great place to start.

I had to joke and point out this next house-wait---where the heck is it?! You know it must be in there somewhere. My father in law laughed, but said it would be a great one to flip. He knew I was getting his point. 

The final house everyone in the car agreed on. It had the fine bones of good house. The location was fantastic with it being on a private, no-exit, street, but that my father in-law pointed out added $200K to the price. The house has a driveway, garage, and could use some work. However, it didn't need that much. It goes to reason that it might be wise to strike a balance. We shouldn't  jump into the cess-pit of a beater house nor into the allure of brand-new home.  

For now, we are keeping our eye on the market to see what might come our way!

1 comment:

Mackenziejordan27 said...

These houses look great! My fiance and I are currently looking at  Isle of Palms real estate. We haven't found anything that we really liked but hopefully we will soon. Good luck with your house hunting!