“Beach Home For Sale, But It’ll Cost You $50 Just To See It”

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By: Susan Pigg
The Toronto Star
May 7th, 2013

It’s a rare and iconic Beach-area home, perched on a cliff with its own steps leading to Lake Ontario.

It’s listed for close to $5 million.

There’s just one catch — a $50 fee simply to see it.

The owner has opted not to have the standard realtor tours and open houses. Instead, agents and their interested clients are asked to make donations to walk the sprawling one-acre property known as Edgemont or, as the sign on the front gate says, 1 Fallingbrook Rd.

The unusual marketing technique, aimed at keeping out gawkers, has drawn some protests from Realtors, admits listing agent Dagmara Lulek . Potential buyers, however, weary of keeping their own homes in tip-tip shape for showings, have called it brilliant for minimizing disruption, she says.

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“This is a marketing technique that benefits everyone,” adds Lulek, who’s asked for donations a few times on high-end properties. “When you list a home of this calibre for sale, all the neighbours are curious. We’d have a lineup 24/7.”

The seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home dates back to 1906 and can only be renovated, rather than razed, because it has been designated a heritage property.

The biggest selling feature of this “private estate” is its cottage-in-the-city appeal: It’s one of just a dozen or so homes across all of Toronto where you can swim right from your front yard.

In this case, however, you can’t have a fear of heights or an aversion to exercise: There are a few dozen weather-beaten stairs to navigate before you hit the water.

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The home’s front deck, built to maximize views of soaring trees and the sparkling lake, has yet to be finished. There are guest/nanny quarters in a converted two-storey brick garage out back of the main house, along with a greenhouse attached to some additions. The current owners bought the home in 1998 for $1.6 million.

What’s billed as a “pool house” — and looks more like a wood-covered baseball dugout — sits to one side of the front yard.

The taxes alone will set you back almost $25,000 a year.

This is clearly a place where privacy is paramount: The owner claimed she was pulling the place off the market when The Star requested a tour. There are no pictures of the interior on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), although some inadvertently were posted on an online home-tour site.

A few grace a glossy marketing brochure and show a main house that looks less grand than a lot like Grandma’s. The kitchen may lack a Wolf range or a Sub Zero Fridge, but it does boast two dishwashers.

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The wow factor is in the spacious living and dining room with French doors and oversized windows looking out over the lake.

Lulek laughs when asked why there is so much secrecy about the house which is hard to miss: It marks the end of Queen St. E. and the beginning of the exclusive Fallingbrook area.

“Anybody is welcome. We’ve had a few showings and the calls are still coming in, so it’s not like we’re driving people away.

“The view is the best in Toronto — that I can tell you for sure.”

Worth the price of admission.

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