Etobicoke, Toronto’s most affluent neighbourhood, has provided the backdrop for so many Hollywood movies, from the Kevin Costner hit “Bull Durham” to “Boogie Nights” (the real town actually did pop up in “The Straight Story,” although it was filmed in nearby Kleinburg). These days, you’ll find the most recent celeb house in tow. Simon Cowell, fresh off fatherhood and a new CBS reality show, bought a historic Tudor Revival in mid-June for $1.15 million. The 10-bedroom estate at 12 Presqu’ile Rd. boasts several terraces and common-area decks; it’s just minutes from York University and Ring Road, where the Toronto Blue Jays train. Among its amenities: a basement workshop, reception room and five bathrooms.
The tour below explores two other homes in Etobicoke — an Italianate mansion in low-key Kemptville, and a contemporary bungalow in the up-and-coming Mississauga area. You can see these homes in virtual tours here: Yes, these tours are slightly impersonal; but, at a street-level glance, it’s hard to imagine the house you’re about to enter not standing right in front of you. With that in mind, here are some tips for showings:
Bring a coffee or an early lunch. Early and late showings are popular, and there’s a sense of theatre with an engaged crowd, so opt for a before-dinner show or early audience. A coffee in hand is excellent to get the conversation started —or, if you prefer, have a few tunes in you.
Offer the A/C. Do not use it in mid-July, as it remains very hot — make sure all rooms are plenty shaded and air-conditioned.
Avoid today’s hot day. Seasonal heat presents a challenge in interior decorating, but in the condo market it’s fine. Try to avoid days that are tropical, hot and humid, as your air conditioning won’t be able to cope with them. Look to humidity-tolerant furnishings, perhaps even slipcovers, as they will help to maintain the comfortable air in your condo.
Take care of the lawn. Take care of any gardener-related maintenance ahead of a show because it can take a while to arrange your agent to do that for you.
Take care of the root system. Be sure your trees and shrubs will be in full or partial bloom; they might need some TLC after a late-spring show. If applicable, there might also be some watering after the show, particularly in June-August.
Check your photos. Ensure that the photos of your showroom are clear, high quality and recent. Do you have old photos that might not be that nice? Then have them checked out and cleaned before the show.
Take pictures of your showroom. Make sure any photo of your sale includes the upstairs walk-in closet and kitchen. Be sure that your kitchen has worked without appliances, and also take pictures of the closet.
Thin out. To make the most of your showroom, you should thin out at least one wall in your home. Remove as much of the excess carpeting as possible. One option: drag thin blocks of mineral fiber up and down the back of the home and under carpeting. The thin-ply fiber is much finer than the fibres that can make a box, the trick being to avoid causing the carpeting to lose its fuzz.
Additional tips: Take a peek at our house-sitter certification and be sure you familiarize yourself with a property. On a show home, security is a must, and the privacy and clutter of a show home (where production crews often set up things to thwart show-stopping moments) can be daunting. There are four certification courses under our roof that provide you with practical-tested experience with 15 Canadian residential show homes, and then we offer a CE-approved training program to help you design and protect your home with our staged home checklist.