Sorry if you thought I would sum it all up in ONE single blog post, but I have to tell my whole story! 🙂
Twas a truly tireless condo search, but don’t forget that water can be the most delicious taste on earth if you’ve been walking through the desert for days and days…
Yes, that’s me.
And yes, those were simpler times.
At that age, you could eat a giant piece of chocolate cake (or at least that’s what I hope it was…) with no fear of getting dirty, dropping the cake on the grass (because clearly I ate it anyways), or embarrassing yourself in front of a group full of people.
And hey – if you ran out of cake, you could always eat the plate!
Life gets more complicated the older you get, but personally I’ve relished my 30’s so far.
Everybody’s life cycle is different, and it’s impacted by your upbringing, your friends and family, your job, relationship, and your own wants and desires.
For the last couple years, I “wanted” a bigger condo.
I was nearing 30-years-old, and yet I remained in my “starter condo” despite the fact that I sell 40 condos per year – most of which are larger than mine.
I’m a simple guy, believe it or not. I really milk the arrogant, cocky side on my blog because it’s fun and it seems to sell, but I have very simple tastes and for the most part, my needs are simple as well.
But I won’t lie and say that I’m free of the occupational hazard that most Realtors endure, which is to say that after showing condos of $1.7 Million, or even $550,000, it’s a little more difficult to come home to my 585 square foot condo, even with the 440 square foot terrace that I admit “defines” me.
I have a very stubborn side, and I’m also a creature of habit, and I dislike change. These three factors played a major role in why it took me so long to “buy up” in Toronto.
The closest I ever came to purchasing a condo was in February 2010 when a unit at 383 Adelaide Street came up for sale.
It was a 2-storey, hard-loft with an exceptional terrace on the second level. The terrace was probably “only” 300 square feet, but the interior space was about 1100. The unit had very high 12 or 13 foot ceilings, and they were made of 100-year-old timber.
The unit had some incredible positives – the massive walk-in closet where I could display all my cheap cuff-links, the gigantic master bedroom where I could lay on the floor and do stomach crunches like Patrick Bateman, and of course the aforementioned terrace.
But there were a few major drawbacks that I couldn’t get over.
First and foremost, the terrace was off the second level. I find that in order to maximize usage, the terrace should be off the living room or kitchen on the main floor of a 2-storey unit, or any unit really.
Second, the “living” space was incredibly small. There was room for a large dining room table to the right of the kitchen (unfortunately, next to the bathroom), but the space for the couch and TV was only about six feet from the kitchen island. I could fit two couches, sideways, facing the TV.
That didn’t feel right to me, and the only alternative was having the second floor “den” serve as the main TV area. But I thought about my life and how I like to wash dishes, cook dinner, prepare tomorrow’s lunch, and furiously clean while I watch TV, and I realized that it just wouldn’t serve my needs. My friends would probably like it, but I wasn’t buying the condo for them.
Lastly, the kitchen needed major work, and although I’m hardly a chef, I think the kitchen can be the sexiest part of any condo, and I wouldn’t accept anything less than a solid B+ kitchen.
The $720 per month maintenance fees and $3,000 taxes were also a bit of a turn off, and I decided to pass on the condo.
It promptly sold for $535,000, listed at $499,000, with three offers.
My next flirtation with the moving truck came this past spring when I was showing a condo to a client – one of my brother’s best friends, no less!
I would never have made a move on this unit if my client was interested, but I have to admit, it wasn’t easy watching him fawn over this unit when I was admiring it myself. It’s kind of like being in love with your buddy’s girlfriend, and not being able to do anything about it.
This unit was on Niagara Street, just west of King.
It was, once again, about 90% of what I was looking for.
The unit was 1500 square feet over 2-storeys, and once again had a massive terrace on the second level, but this unit also had two terraces on the main level as well – one at the front of the condo off the TV area that probably didn’t get much use, and one at the back of the condo off the dining room where you could fit a BBQ and an eight-top table.
The second level was perfect for today’s self-obsessed yuppie. I don’t own any silk-knots, pocket-squares, or neckerchiefs, but if I bought that condo – I’d likely invest in some dress-accessories to fill the custom closets. I’ve never seen closets like that in a condo under $1 Million.
The master ensuite was spectacular. The shower could have fit six people (who knows, maybe it once did…), and had TEN different jets spraying the showeree….if that’s a word.
The living space was ample, there was room for a dining room table, and you could fit a pool table in between – as my client was contemplating.
My client eventually passed on the condo, and then I began to seriously think about it.
I went out to see it one afternoon by myself, and I was probably about 50/50. Well, realistically, I was probably 10/90, but you get the idea. There was actually a chance I would end up buying it!
I got in my car and headed back to the office, and that’s when everything changed. I left the condo at 3:30PM and I didn’t get to my office at Mount Pleasant and Davisville until 4:20PM – almost an hour. The traffic was slightly above average that day, but it put me in a bad mood.
That’s when I realized that I’d be making a major change to my life if I relocated to Bathurst & King. Right now, my commute up the Bayview Extension is about 11 minutes from door to door. I value that commute, as it allows me more time to focus on work and leisure, and I don’t take my road rage to the office or back home. I’m sorry to all those that commute to-and-from Markham/Ajax/Oakville every day as I know I’m sounding spoiled, but I refuse to take on a commute that could likely be triple of what I have grown used to living at King & Sherbourne.
The condo was great, but once again I was not a fan of the large terrace being off the bedroom as opposed to the living room, and the potential traffic nightmare was the final nail in the coffin.
The unit sold for $795,000, asking $819,000; although it had been listed as high as $889,000 at one point. I think the buyer got an excellent deal.
After this experience, I resigned myself to the fact that I only wanted to live in the St. Lawrence Market area. Call me stubborn if you want; or even inflexible, but I love my neighbourhood, and it’s not like my refusal to relocate is based on naivety. I look at condos in dozens of areas in Toronto every week – I know what’s out there!
Realizing that I would stay in the area, it occurred to me that I’d be looking at only 230 King Street (relocate in my current building), 205 Frederick Street (where I’ve owned before), 168 King Street (could have bought my brother’s old unit…), 333 Adelaide Street (I’ve sent solicitation letters to the two units with large terraces), 261 King Street (only 29 units in the building), and finally 112 George Street – a building that is two years old, and where I’ve put six buyers in the past twelve months.
My options were limited, and I was ready to throw in the towel.
But then something magical happened. Something I like to call irony.
You see, as long as I’ve lived in my condo, I have lived as a “minimalist” in terms of my furniture and possessions. I have nothing in my bedroom other than a bed and a night stand, and my living room lacks a dining room table, desk, bench – whatever would “work” in the space.
I like having open space as it makes me feel like my condo is larger than it really is, but it also means that my printer is on the floor or in my closet, and the giant open space has finally worn out its welcome.
My sister-in-law had been telling me for years, “Dave, you need something here,” pointing to the area where it looks as if somebody has removed a table, so a couple weeks ago, I was browsing in one of the over-priced furniture stores on King Street East, and I finally made a splurge.
I purchased a $700 table just to put my printer on (and so I could fill the drawers with paper-clips, staples, and elastics…), and I actually said aloud, “I might as well over-spend on a silly table – it’s not like I’m going to run out and buy a condo tomorrow!” That table would have been the nicest thing I owned!
Famous last words…
The next day, I was browsing the “NEW LISTINGS” on MLS and I saw what would eventually become my new home.
Table, be damned!
(TO BE CONTINUED)