Smiling family posing for photo - buying a home in Toronto was easy with Properly

For this growing Toronto family, buying their Beaches home was a breeze (no, we’re serious)

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Whatever the state of real estate, buyers and sellers are always concerned about having to compromise—on time, on location, on features, on space—all in an effort to move quickly, easily, and nimbly, into a new place to call home.

For Toronto couple Ronan and Lee-Anne, compromise was something to be avoided. The best possible outcome was getting everything they wanted on their home-buying checklist.

And, guess what? They did. 

This may seem wildly unbelievable given the time and place of their house hunting. Toronto. During COVID. When even getting in a bid was near impossible, with houses getting snatched up at incredible speeds.

Working with Properly agent Rebecca Higgs, the couple was able to get the house they wanted, in the neighbourhood they wanted, and check off all of their boxes too. 

We sat down with Ronan, Lee-Anne, and their two kids in their beautiful Beaches home to learn more about their buying and selling journey, and just how easy the real estate process can be—if you work with the most innovative team in the market.

One child. Another on the way. Both of you working from home. You needed to move! What was on your home-buying bucket list?

We were looking at upsizing: with one child already, and a baby on the way, we wanted to have more space. Our old house was great and was in a neighbourhood we loved, but we just didn’t have the features we needed to grow as a family.

We both worked from home, so our new house needed to accommodate that whether it was with a large home office, or two work spaces.

Also, a play space was really important because of our kids, a backyard, and three bedrooms—all were high on our list.

The neighbourhood features were also important to us. When we went to open houses, we would Google the closest coffee shops, libraries, proximity to the beach, and of course, schools. From a lifestyle standpoint, these were the qualities we were looking for.

Makes sense! You eventually found a home that checked all the boxes. How did you manage that in a market like Toronto?

For what we were looking for, it was very hard to find in Toronto. And I think we looked at 30-40 homes, and there wasn't a house we looked at that wouldn’t be a compromise. And what we got didn't compromise.

We found out about this house because a sale had previously not gone through, and the owners were looking to sell. Our Properly agent Rebecca had called us and said, "There may be an opportunity here," and reached out to the seller's agent and said, "I may have someone who's interested, and we want to come in and look at it." And we saw it that morning.

Workspace: check. The number of bedrooms: perfect. The kitchen: great. Play space: yes. Everything was wonderful. We were able to envision our life there, where our daughter would run around, where the new baby would be. And we sat down in this front room, and said, "Okay, well, let's start looking at where the closest coffee shop is.”

When we talk about finding a new home, yes, you have to use your mind: the place has to make sense for your family. But it also has to hit a special point in your heart. You have to have that feeling. And with our daughter falling asleep on Ronan's lap in this house, we thought, you know what? There is peace in this house, and that's what we were looking for.

It was about imagining turning the house into a home. And we knew we could do that here.

This sounds pretty special (and rare!). But we have to ask: was finding your perfect home also a tad stressful?

When we found this house, yes, we were at the peak of stress. “Do we do this or do we not do this? Give me a sign that this is the one! Those kinds of homes are a little out of our reach, right?” We loved the property, but we needed something just to help us just say yes. We needed a sign. 

And what was the sign you needed to make the move?

Properly’s Sale Assurance!* We ended up wanting to buy first for the reason that we didn't want to have to go through the whole process of selling at the same time, and worrying that we may not have a place within the closing of our own house, and that we may have to find a temporary home. 

But relocating and changing the environment for the kids was something we didn't want to do, because that would mean changing her daycare, and taking her out of her environment—something we wanted to avoid doing at all costs.

The [buy now, sell later] process that we experienced with Properly made it much more tenable: this is exactly what we want to do. And we knew that with Properly, we could sell our old house at a guaranteed price, and that gave us peace of mind.

How else did Sale Assurance make the process easier?

As parents of one child with a second on the way, we were thinking: how do we make this as easy as possible? Real estate traditionally is not easy. Plus, the market in Toronto is really challenging. So we thought, "Properly's going to make it easy," and they did, and it really worked out well. 

So, the model that was presented to us just seemed like a natural fit, and the right thing for us to do. Instead of having an in between period in our lives, we could just move into our next home and make the process more seamless.

"One of the biggest things that made Properly stand out was Sale Assurance, the understanding that whatever happens, regardless of how things go in the future, you have something in hand that you can always fall back on. And that made us really comfortable in terms of us going forward and saying, "Let's find the right house for us right now." And that made things really, really easy." 

It's not just a monetary thing. It's your family. It's the change and the imposition on your family and what that would mean. But when we talk about trust, Sale Assurance is a form of trust—it's substantiated, it's on paper—and that's extremely important and valuable in the world that we're in. It's a guarantee. And in real estate, there are usually very little guarantees. 

Enter Rebecca: your Properly real estate agent! How did she and Properly help you through the process?

To be honest, we didn't know what a good agent was until we met Rebecca. 

We ended up interviewing agents in order to really match what we were looking for, and understand their ‘secret sauce.’ Because in the market we're in, we needed someone who is a little bit different. 

We felt so supported by our agent—she knew exactly how to time the market and keep us focused on finding the right home for our family. When it came time to sell, she took care of all the logistics from staging to painting to landscaping. We didn't feel any of that stress and could just sit back and enjoy our new home.

What would you tell friends, family, or our readers about your experience with Properly?

We learned Properly was non-traditional, and very different from other brokerages that we've heard about and worked with ourselves. We called it the “Uber of real estate.” It was really a one-stop shop for a lot of our needs. And we're very much about innovative ideas and innovation, and this was certainly innovative. And it also was logical—it really very much made sense. And we were surprised why other brokerages didn't do this.

"A lot of our friends asked about Properly. We have been telling them: this is the way. If I was going to do this again, this is the only way I would do it. It was all taken care of. And if you're thinking of selling, if you're thinking of buying, talk to Rebecca, talk to Properly, look at what they're offering with the Sale Assurance." 

Nothing has changed in the real estate industry for years, and it's been the status quo. Why not do something different? We tell our friends: “Here's something that's really different and unique, and it could bring value to you and bring you that confidence when you're looking.”**

*When you buy before you sell with Properly's Sale Assurance, we guarantee the minimum sale price of your home. And on the rare occasion that it doesn't sell within 90 days, we'll purchase it from you for that pre-agreed-upon Sale Assurance value.
**This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
DISCLAIMER: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an exhaustive review of this topic. The content is not financial or investment advice. No professional relationship of any kind is formed between you and Properly, Properly Brokerage, or Properly Homes. While we have obtained or compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. We recommend that you consult a trusted professional before taking any action related to this information. Properly is a tech-enabled real estate brokerage that is transforming the home buying and selling experience with AI-powered home valuations, Sale Assurance, and a modern streamlined service. We recommend that you compare and contrast your options, read the fine print, and conduct detailed research into any real estate, loan, and/or investment provider before using their services.*

Properly is a Canadian tech-enabled real estate brokerage transforming the home buying and selling experience as the only service in Canada that helps homeowners to buy before they sell.