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180 Pearson Ave. in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood. The house recently sold for $223,000 over the asking price.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

For the owners of a semi-detached house on Pearson Ave., $699,000 seemed like a fair asking price for the five-unit property. They were hoping it might go a little higher on the offer night a few weeks ago.

"We were all totally shocked when it sold firm for $926,000," says Lyle Hamilton of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The house at 180 Pearson Ave. sits in Roncesvalles Village - one of the most frenzied real estate pockets in Toronto. Six bidders submitted offers that night.

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"This one was way out in front - it was a pretty obvious winner," says Mr. Hamilton, who added that there was no second round of bidding. "The sellers were elated."

Mr. Hamilton says setting a night for reviewing offers often leads to unpredictable results. It's hard to gauge how badly someone will want a particular house. Often people who've lost out in a previous contest or two will be spurred on to bid more aggressively the next time.

"We don't really have any control over who comes to play that week."

In this case the house needs work - especially if the new owners want to convert it from five apartments back into a single family home.

Mr. Hamilton says his strategy was to get the word out to builders, renovators and investors along with the avid young couples and other prospective buyers who are already keenly focussed on that area.

"It had that versatility of use that played very strongly in its favour."

Mr. Hamilton says the market'space is already shifting a little bit in favour of buyers. Listings jumped in May just as buyers' attention is turning towards the end of the school year and summer vacation plans.

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Meanwhile, everybody, including me, wants to know how things are unfolding a few kilometres north and west where investment advisor Bernie Doyle is selling his house without the aid of a real estate agent.

The details about 673 Willard Ave. are available on the PropertyGuys.com site and realtor.ca Mr. Doyle and his wife Alison have set an asking price of $575,000.

He says more than 100 people came to the open houses last weekend: many after reading last week's Next Move, in which Mr. Doyle railed against agents who are "absent to the game".

"There were many very lively conversations about 'going it alone' in this hot market. It was a great deal of fun for all."

Mr. Doyle says he has had less fun dealing with the agents who have phoned him and tried to discourage him from pursuing the "for sale by owner" strategy. He believes he has been blackballed by some buyers' agents.

Mr. Doyle says there is so much thirst from the public to understand what he's going through that he's decided to start a blog about the experience. He's not going to appease any agents with his choice of name, which is "Real Estate Hacks".

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Meanwhile, he's hoping for a table full of offers on offer night.

Stay tuned.

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