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29 Apr

Lawrence Park ‘fixer upper’ gets 72 offers, goes for 195 per cent of asking


Posted by: Jaime (James) Fleming

As bidding wars go, it was the ultimate battle and a warning for frantic buyers bracing for spring market: A five-bedroom detached house in the Yonge and Lawrence area has sold for almost double its $699,000 list price with a record 72 offers.

“We expected in the $1.1 million range, but the market pushed it,” said listing agent Bradley Hutton, who sold the Glencairn Ave. house for $1.366 million, about 195 per cent of list price.

“There are a lot of buyers out there desperate to find a house. It’s definitely a sellers’ market.”

And there appears to be no let up in sight after what realtors say is now the worst spring on record for a shortage of listings coupled with intense pent-up demand.

More than 1,000 people booked appointments or toured the 1930s Glencairn Ave. fixer-upper over the last 10 days before the offer deluge Sunday night. About 80 per cent of the offers were for over $1 million, even though the house, on a 30 by 127.66 foot lot in prime Lawrence Park, was being sold in “as is” condition.

“Attention renovators & builders,” said the MLS listing which attracted dozens of callers, many asking if the extremely lowball $699,000 list price was a “typo.” “House is full of knob and tube (wiring), fireplace has not been used in years.”

Hutton openly acknowledges that nothing has sold on the prime, tree-lined street, just steps from Yonge St. and the subway station, for $699,000 for at least 10 to 15 years.

He priced it so extraordinarily low, he says, “mainly to create buzz” and force realtors to realize that their buyers weren’t walking into their dream home but, rather, a place needing $300,000 or more in renovations.

“Surprisingly enough, that’s how it works — it gets the agents calling,” said Hutton.

Even then, Hutton said he was shocked by the number of offers — so many that he insisted on having realtors just email them in or drop them off to his office for the 7 p.m. Sunday deadline.

Usually he prefers to meet face-to-face with bidding agents for 15 minutes or so to enable them time to make their spiel on behalf of their buyers.

“This house required a special buyer,” said Hutton, who has enraged many agents, because the winning bidder ended up being his client, a practice known in the real estate industry as “double ending.”

That’s because the listing realtor is paid commission by both the seller and buyer.

Hutton insisted he had a third party, an independent broker from his office, handle all the bids with the exception of the winning bid, which he brought to the table himself.

It belonged to an area resident who just saw the listing online last week and has lived in the area for years. They are planning to renovate and live in the house, he said.