Local entrepreneur, Eva Matthews, and handy-man husband, Steve (names changed for privacy) own a semi-detached home in the Junction area of Toronto. With their one daughter nearing 20 years of age, they thought it was time to start looking for a smaller home. They went through all the steps to list their home and even checked out some resale condos. In the end, they pulled the plug on the entire process and decided not to sell.
We asked why.
Newinhomes (NIH): Why did you want to sell in the first place?
Eva Matthews (EM): Knowing we could sell, buy a condo and live mortgage free was pretty enticing. The thought of having condo amenities and no maintenance was also a bonus. We also liked the idea of having the cash to travel and do more, not just throw it all into a house every month.
NIH: What were homes on your street selling for?
EM: Anywhere from $750,000 up to just shy of a $1 million.
NIH: What did you do to prepare your home for sale?
EM: Not much, but we were talking about painting. The washroom was recently renovated, but the rest could definitely be used as a blank slate for the future owners. It’s a great, sturdy house, but could use a few upgrades. We were going to leave that to the new owners. Just pack up and get out.
NIH: What neighbourhood were you considering moving to?
EM: We were thinking about Humber Bay Park/Mimico area. We love the water and it’s close enough to downtown that you get a nice nature vibe while still being able to hop on the streetcar to get into the city. Or ride the trails on the lakeshore, also a favourite.
NIH: What kind of home did you envision yourself buying?
EM: We were in the market for a condo or maybe a townhouse. Something where most maintenance would be taken care of. Having a lawn and garden is a lot of work. So is shovelling snow. The thought of not having to do that was appealing.
NIH: How is the condo lifestyle appealing? How is it not?
EM: I like the no/low maintenance. Having a pool and gym onsite would be amazing, and I know we’d use it. I also like the idea of not having to worry about neighbours. On a street you definitely need to interact with your neighbours more, and they always have something to say about how your garden has some weeds in it or how you took your garbage bins in a little late the other night, annoying! On the downside, I don’t love elevators and waiting for them with a million groceries seems like a pain. Maintenance fees are ok, but the fact that they can just go up is annoying. Lack of outdoor space could be an issue. We love sitting in our backyard and front porch.
NIH: What made you pull the plug on the whole process?
EM: Our neighbourhood is really changing, day by day you see it. A new organic grocery store is going in, along with an LCBO, all walking distance. I like that. The area is also so vibrant, good shops and restaurants. We also don’t want to give up all the equity we have in the house, even if the market has cooled. It’ll heat back up at some point. We also have too much stuff. Were do you put tents and canoes and kayaks and bikes and a basement full of Christmas decorations in a condo?
NIH: Do you think you’ll ever sell?
EM: Maybe, probably. But maybe more once we hit retirement age and really want to downsize. Probably get out of the city then, but for now we’re staying put. We love our little house, there’s history and memories here. It’s more than a place to sleep, and we don’t want to give that up for now.
The market cooling didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Eva and Steve’s decision to not sell. They explored their condo options and decided that the low-rise lifestyle still suited them, for now at least.