Property virgins share their tales.
Who: Lisa Choi, 35, administrative assistant, and Duane Crichton, 39, commercial director.
What they wanted: A three-bedroom house within reasonable distance of public transit, with a finished basement for their two kids, age 6 and 4. Their budget was $400,000 to $450,000. Choi says they could have afforded more, but their lender was conservative because Crichton is self-employed. “They used my income as the base, even though he technically makes more,” she says. They factored in only Crichton’s personal salary, not the earnings he funnels into his film company.
Highlight: When the family got notice that their rental home was being sold, they had just 60 days to find a new place to live. After seeing about seven houses, they made a lowball offer on a duplex at Dufferin and Dupont that had been split into two apartments. After a few back- and-forths, it was theirs after less than a week of searching.
Lowlight: The home has just two bedrooms. Right now, their son and daughter share a bedroom, so Choi knows another move will be necessary at some point. “After the rush and adrenaline of buying this place, I don’t know if I’m mentally prepared to do that again,” she says.
What they got: Originally listed at $349,000, the house had been sitting on the market for six weeks. Choi and Crichton offered $315,000, and eventually settled on $335,000. They did a “not so minor” renovation to turn it back into
a single-family home. The couple is especially happy that it’s near a good public school.