A determined buyer beat out 11 rival bidders for a house in Richmond Hill by tacking on nearly $1-million above the asking price.
The house at 66 Hillhurst Dr. sold for $2.85-million, or $970,000 above the asking price of $1.88-million.
The final price shocked real estate agent Huang Yu of ReMax Realtron Realty Inc., who sold the house for his astonished clients.
"We did not think we could go this high," he said. "Everybody was surprised."
Mr. Yu isn't sure why the client was so resolute about this particular four-bedroom house except that Hillhurst Drive is a nice street and the home stager did a good job.
Mr. Yu says the previous high water mark for a comparable house nearby was $2.37-million. He thought that No. 66 might fetch $2.4-million or even $2.5-million if they were lucky.
The house was on the market for about 10 days. On offer night, the bids were fairly close, so he sent the potential buyers back for another round. One party put an offer for $3-million on the table, but they didn't have a deposit cheque with them. They promised to get it the next day.
Mr. Yu advised his clients to accept the "bring the money" people with the hefty deposit cheque.
The following day, the rivals called and said they had a cheque prepared, but the deal was already done.
"Everything was too late."
Mr. Yu says the area near Bayview Avenue and Major Mackenzie Drive East is popular with the Chinese community. The buyers of 66 Hillhurst are immigrants from China who work in Canada and plan to send their children to highly rated Bayview Secondary School.
In addition to four bedrooms and six bathrooms, the house has marble floors, a renovated kitchen and a grand living room with a cathedral ceiling and a second-storey loft.
The house had been on the market in 2012 with another brokerage and an asking price of $2.138-million but didn't sell after 28 days on the market. The house was relisted with an asking price of $1,998,000 and sold for $1,895,000 after 43 days on the market.
This time, the sellers brought Mr. Yu in and he decided to have it staged.
Barbara Bryan, president of AlphaOne Staging Design, says she worked with a lot of the seller's own furniture but added artwork and accent pieces to make the interior look more lavish. She had some touch-up painting done, took down blinds and created new focal points.
Mr. Yu says there is a common misperception that overseas buyers are purchasing houses in Toronto from afar, but that is not his experience. The buyers he knows are working in the Toronto area and making a priority of their kids' education.
He adds that more Americans have also been looking for Canadian property since the Canadian dollar has fallen against the U.S. currency.
In another hot pocket, a semi-detached house sold for $258,100 above asking in East York. The house at 52 Springdale Blvd. had an asking price of $799,900 and sold for $1,058,000.
The three-bedroom semi is extensively renovated, and is close to the subway and R. H. McGregor Elementary School, which offers French immersion programs.