$125 000

This three-bedroom one bath sidesplit is on a handsome 60 by 180 lot on a Collins Bay sidestreet. You’re a two-minute drive to Tim’s and the same to the wonderful Bella Bistro, one of my favourites. And for the first little while after you take possession, the best part of the day might well be when you get to head out the door and drive away for coffee or dinner. Because make no mistake, there is considerable work to be completed here. But the price reflects that fact, and the pictures aren’t the usual widescreen fair. This is a neglected home at a modest price. For the right buyer, it represents a rare opportunity.


That’s how I’ve written up this peach for the MLS version of the listing. And I haven’t produced copy like that before. Talk of considerable work and neglect isn’t often the best approach. But then I haven’t listed a property quite like 655 Aylmer Cres before either.


We first saw the house a few weeks back and the walkthrough involved face masks and no small amount of swearing. This property has been sitting empty, stewing, for a long while now. The removal of all the accumulated and abandoned mess took a professional crew several days. A foul smog hung briefly over the neighbourhood.


So on the one hand it sort of appalls me. The state of the lives that produced this scene. The things I saw in there, and some others I just heard about.


But on the other hand this is real estate and I believe that now it’s been cleaned out it’s a pretty straightforward business proposition. The lot is an impressive size, and in a reasonable condition houses like this are going to sell well into the 200s. Pricing it at $125,000 means there’s a decent margin here.


I imagine that Aylmer Crescent will see more than its share of flippers in the next day or two. Contractors in their dented white vans, and others in their sky-high, souped-up F150s. There will be groups gathered on the front lawn scratching their heads and pointing at the roof, and the windows, and waving their hands generally around as if to summon from the mists some clear image of what they saw inside.


It’s just a house. That’s all it is. And as cheap as I’ve seen one in the city for quite some time. I’ve got to get over the part of me that wants to pace the hallways wringing my hands and muttering like King Lear out on the blasted heath, and just sell the place. 


Because it will sell, and it should sell. A few months down the road perhaps I’ll be posting pictures of the super-insulated wonder that it has been turned into. I’ll be ogling the luminous kitchen cabinets and the new hardwood, the walk-in shower. Perhaps the fireplace is still working, and the deck can certainly be rebuilt. There will be a new furnace purring like some contented cat down in the crawl space, and an on-demand water heater blinking in the dark. New windows and some plants out front. A piece of heaven on earth is what it might become for those who had nearly given up on their dreams of a nice, reasonably priced spot not far from the water. Trainspotters on a reasonable salary and with a kid or two. This is absolutely going make their day.


Here, or here soon, is the realtor.ca listing.