The house, which borders Trinity Bellwoods Park in the city’s trendy Queen Street West neighbourhood, is on the market for just under $1.7 million. But buyers seeking a cheaper option can also purchase a portion of the house. The online listing of the property has a list price of $479,000 for one floor (that's 1,300 square feet of space) which represents about a quarter of the living space in the 17-room house. A 50 per cent share is another option, available at a slight discount: $960,000.
Owner Larry Chilton has lived in the house at 2 Bellwoods Park since 1978. Now nearing retirement age, Chilton wanted the option of staying in the house he loves while taking out some of the equity. The house is currently divided up and in use as a legal rooming house.
If only a portion of the home is sold, Chilton wants to retain ownership of the top floor of the three-storey house.
'Very hard to leave'
The property is on a prized location, with one side bordering the large downtown park. Its also located at the end of a dead-end lane, which means there’s very little traffic.
“It's a home that's very hard to leave,” said Chilton Wednesday on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. “There’s excellent views of park from two sides. It's like having a forest in front of your house.”
Listing agent Daniel Freeman admitted the option of buying a portion of the house is somewhat unusual.
"We're pioneers," he joked during an interview with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway.
"You're buying an interest share in the property, not unlike two people who know each other coming together and buying a property together,” he said. "We're bringing people together and forming an alliance and a partnership."
Chilton said many of the legal details, such as who pays for ongoing maintenance, would be spelled out in a contract that will become part of the purchase agreement.
"We're going to have a contract where we flesh out all the little details of sharing,” he said.
Freeman said a buyer taking on a portion of the house could renovate their section as they see fit. He estimates each floor would cost $50,000 to $200,000 to renovate, depending on the new owner's taste.
Freeman said much of the home’s Victorian charm remains intact, though he admits the house has been “worn down a bit” by its use over the years as a rooming house.
Freeman said he’s seen similar arrangements in other areas of downtown Toronto, such as The Annex, where multiple parties come together to purchase portions of a house they would otherwise be unable to afford.
"By the amount of interest we have ... it suggests people are looking for new options of living in a vibrant community where prices have escaped some people's reality,” he said.