By: Desmond Brown

A Bungalow Story

Tags: bungalows, selling, builders, private sale,

I recently sold a bungalow in the Coxwell and Mortimer Avenues area, close to the hospital. It was in the same family for 75 years and the last occupant, an elderly gentleman, had recently passed away.  
 
I have sold many homes for families who have owned properties for decades. When I arrive to speak with family members about selling, almost every one of them had been approached by a builder, renovator, or neighbour, offering them what seemed like huge dollars for the homes. In short, these people who approached the homeowner, who is usually an elderly person, or family member, are trying to get a good deal on the house. The offers I've heard about are usually well below the actual market value. However, when a private offer of hundreds of thousands of dollars and in many cases more than a million dollars is mentioned, it seems like a good deal for someone who probably paid less than $100,000 for their home just 30 years ago. 
 
In the case of the East York bungalow, the family purchased it for just $2,700 - yes, two thousand and seven hundred dollars - in 1941. This two bedroom detached brick home with a double car garage was well maintained and needed updating. Before it went on the market, an agent representing a builder showed up at the door with an offer for less than the $799,000 I eventually listed it for. We put the home on the MLS for a week to ensure maximum exposure and received five offers. It sold for over asking.  The agent who approached the family with the offer before it went on the market was nowhere to be seen during the listing period and never came back.
 
With the shortage of inventory in Toronto, it's getting harder for builders to find properties like this bungalow to top up into a two-storey home and still make a profit. So it really does make sense for them to try and buy homes at a lower price before they hit the open market. 
 
If you have an aging family member who has been approached by someone for a private sale, advise them not to jump at the offer. Get a second opinion from a real estate professional about the true value of the home and if you're going to sell, put it on the open market. This is the best way to get the biggest return on the investment your family made so many years ago.