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House of the Week: 171 Indian Road

Posted by Leslie Bank / December 10, 2013

171 Indian Road TorontoConsider this one "Fixer Upper of the Week". 171 Indian Road is a stately house that looms over the corner of Westminster Ave, parked between High Park to the west and Roncesvalles Ave. to the east. The location is convenient, and the neighbourhood is high on spirit (and seasonal decorations) and low on noise. This would be a top spot to raise a family -- provided, of course, that you're willing to take on this big of a project.

Let's clear that fact out of the way: this house needs work. The kitchen is strongly reminiscent of "All in the Family'' (those were the days) and beyond salvaging. Be prepared to redo the cabinets, floor, lighting, and wood panelled walls, and swap in some functional appliances. If you really like antique kitchens, take note: despite being set up for a single family, this house has four of them! The original wood floors could all benefit from refinishing, the windows need help, and make sure to address the remaining knob and tube wiring.

Necessary renovations aside, this house does have many character features from stained glass windows and wood trim to wainscoting and arched doorways. There's no want for space, either, with three storeys plus basement, 9' ceilings and six bedrooms. Watch out for the low ceiling in the second floor back bedroom, though -- it's a head-bumper.

171 Indian RoadSPECS

Address: 171 Indian Road
Price: $1,149,000.00
Sq. Ft.: 3450
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 4
Storeys: 3, plus basement
Parking Spaces: 2, including garage
Taxes: $6,226.33 (2013)
Walk Score: 95


  • Breezeway connecting kitchen to garage
  • Original hardwood floors, trim, stained glass windows and wainscoting
  • Four kitchens!
  • Ornate wood banisters
  • Fireplace in the front foyer

171 Indian RoadGOOD FOR

This place is wood-heavy, character-filled, and looking for new life with a family willing to take on a big, expensive project. This neighbourhood has a surfeit of good schools and nearby playgrounds. Remember to break out the inflatable snowmen and hang some skeletons from the porch if you want to impress your new neighbours.

171 Indian RoadMOVE ON IF

Location and space are driving the price here. Someone looking for turn-key convenience will probably be turned off by the volume of work at hand. So, either get busy renovating or get busy searching for other properties.


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alan / December 10, 2013 at 01:14 pm
so the appliances....i could make this work judging from these photos only....
phuong / December 10, 2013 at 01:27 pm
It looks uninhabited.
Cornish / December 10, 2013 at 01:36 pm
Looks haunted. That kitchen needs to be exorcised!
Mark / December 10, 2013 at 01:41 pm
This street name is racist.
Chester / December 10, 2013 at 01:49 pm
That kitchen can't be for's gotta be photoshop I don't believe it.
Skye / December 10, 2013 at 01:55 pm
It has a turret! How awesome...if I had the money (and the money for renos) I'd take it.

But first, I'd throw a 70s theme party in the kitchen...
Patrick Swayze replying to a comment from Mark / December 10, 2013 at 02:18 pm
Indian Road is racist?

OMG! I bet there are others!!!!

What about Canadian Road? Russian Road? Iraqi Road? Pakistani Road? Scottish Road? CHinese Road? Thai Road? SPanish Road? Egyptian Road?

Oh please please tell us which of these is racist!
wow! / December 10, 2013 at 02:27 pm
is that a flat screen TV above the stove? so P I M P!
Cyril Sneer / December 10, 2013 at 02:29 pm
Wow, haven't seen a fridge like that in a while!
Skye replying to a comment from wow! / December 10, 2013 at 03:04 pm
It looks like it's an ancient microwave...built INTO the stove. I'd be afraid to turn that thing on. It would probably irridate the whole house!
nb replying to a comment from Patrick Swayze / December 10, 2013 at 03:07 pm
It's you, you are the racist. I've found him.
Huh? replying to a comment from Mark / December 10, 2013 at 03:26 pm
You do that there is a country called India and people who come from there are called Indians right?
pew pew / December 10, 2013 at 03:26 pm
1.16 mill for a "fixer upper"? give me a break
acb / December 10, 2013 at 03:30 pm
lol, i used to go to parties in high school at this house and get confused by the multiple # of Indian rd, st, ave in the area
Susan Roper replying to a comment from pew pew / December 10, 2013 at 03:32 pm
location location location that is what you are paying for.
skeeter / December 10, 2013 at 03:33 pm
The kitchen has a 20 dollar view.
mattaeo / December 10, 2013 at 03:35 pm
the woodwork is phenomenal. everything else is a bummer.
mattaeo / December 10, 2013 at 03:35 pm
the woodwork is phenomenal. everything else is a bummer.
Michelle / December 10, 2013 at 03:36 pm
It has a lot of really beautiful features. I think with some updating it would look really fantastic.
moonshake / December 10, 2013 at 03:36 pm
Indian Road was originally an aboriginal trail, hence the name. Hardly 'racist'.
Mark / December 10, 2013 at 03:39 pm
Just think of all those white colonizers driving on a street named Indian Road. Probably idling their cars too and polluting Turtle Island. Idle No More!
Blair / December 10, 2013 at 03:41 pm
New kitchen and a real upgrade on the outside of this house and its a perfect dream home for me
Hazel / December 10, 2013 at 03:45 pm
The wood is lovely, the location is right. The kitchen(s) are ugly and we haven't seen the toilets. However this is a much better deal than the Cabbagetown semi that was up for 1.5 mill. A quick look at real estate prices will tell you that even the most horrendous houses of this size in the city are going for over 1 million. This is not unusual. At all.
Rob / December 10, 2013 at 03:48 pm
With 4 kitchens, I wonder if someone could convert this into a 4 unit rental property. You'd probably have to jump through some hoops with the City (and neighbours!) to make it happen.
Rob replying to a comment from pew pew / December 10, 2013 at 03:58 pm
You obviously haven't been paying attention to the Toronto real estate market. You'd be surprised how LITTLE $1M can get you (like a semi in Leslieville or a poorly constructed Cityplace condo).

Given the size of this place, and the neighbourhood, it actually seems like a reasonable price.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say that this could actually be undervalued.
EC / December 10, 2013 at 04:09 pm
Someone died in that house.
W. K. Lis / December 10, 2013 at 04:13 pm
I like it.

I'll like it even more after one of those HGTV shows gets through with it.
James replying to a comment from Rob / December 10, 2013 at 04:15 pm
I don't know about that. If so, It has to be pretty easy to do. I'd say a good 30% of the houses in this neighbourhood have already been carved up into multiple unit dwellings.
Yvonne / December 10, 2013 at 04:24 pm
It looks haunted for sure.
Rick replying to a comment from Mark / December 10, 2013 at 04:40 pm
LOL you mean Raciss.

Looks fine to me, with of course the exception of the kitchen - dat nasty.
Mark / December 10, 2013 at 05:05 pm
WOW! A real diamond in the rough! AND its in an up and coming hood!
pew pew replying to a comment from Rob / December 10, 2013 at 05:24 pm
Well, it's still an awful lot. My box here in the park only cost me $1.00 after OCCUPY and I still live in it. No need to upgrade.
The Shakes / December 10, 2013 at 05:59 pm
Went to see this house on the weekend and it needs a shit-ton of major work (structural, underpinning, asbestos removal, re-wiring, and general overall cosmetics) but it also has lots of features which would basically cost a small fortune to replicate today, like the wood work, slate roof and turret. Given its size and location it's price takes the necessary amount of work required into consideration. On Indian Grove, a very similar house, but in move-in condition went for $1.6M this year. So that kind of gives you an idea of how much $$$ this place needs.
BA / December 10, 2013 at 06:16 pm
I am in love! I see why people think it's priced too high - it's a lot to ask for a place that will need hundreds of thousands in renos and upgrades just to make it liveable. But the location nd all that charm? The entryway is to die for! I would much rather buy something with this kind of elegance and potential than something that someone else has already spent thousands on that probably won't be my perfect renos anyway. You have to pay for the renovations either way, so why not pay to have custom ones you have decided on yourself?
Moaz Ahmad / December 10, 2013 at 07:18 pm
1.2 million and walking distance to High Park, the streetcar, the subway, Roncessvales Village and the Jamie Mosque...and I could rent it out for filming Murdoch Mysteries ... or get HGTV in to update the appliances.

I love the woodwork, it works perfectly with my business.

Cheers, Moaz
Fran / December 10, 2013 at 08:16 pm
I have been in homes in that area, and because they are built with different sized floor joists than is the building code now, the floors bounce like trampolines.
RS / December 10, 2013 at 09:50 pm
That house has to the potential to be AMAZING, with the right reno that respects and preserves what makes it so unique.
4ChanApologist / December 11, 2013 at 09:03 am
The wood in this house is gorgeous. From the photos posted the only thing that looks in need of fixing up is the kitchen.

Now if something could just be done about that pricetag :(
Vinny / December 11, 2013 at 04:32 pm
Why would you ever buy this place when you can rent a much better place in the same neighborhood at a better price?

And when I mean better price, I mean the house is selling for 24x price/rent (and that is believing that they are the same quality house)
The Shakes replying to a comment from Vinny / December 11, 2013 at 05:30 pm
Ummm, cause most people don't want to spend $48K a year and have absolutely nothing to show for it.
Me replying to a comment from Vinny / December 11, 2013 at 06:18 pm
Now, THAT house looks like a rundown shithole!!
Tyler replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 11, 2013 at 06:20 pm
I certainly agree with what you're saying, but we're talking renting for over 20 years, and you still won't have paid as much as the buying price.
Vinny replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 11, 2013 at 06:37 pm
@The Shakes: You will likely spend close to that in interest payments, assuming you don't have more than 25% down on that house. Your mortgage payment would be significantly higher (not to mention taxes, repairs, etc), so put the difference into preferred shares with a great dividend yield, and you will be farther ahead
beatrice / December 11, 2013 at 09:42 pm
good most of you should stay in the burbs in your boxes. Up and coming neighbourhood ,where are u from???? Please go back to your farm
The Shakes replying to a comment from Vinny / December 12, 2013 at 04:32 pm
With 25% down, even locking in a really shitty rate of 5.34% your mortgage would be $5,184/month. Yes it is 1.2K more than the $3,950/month rent. But after 5 years you would have paid off 95K in principal had you bought, had you rented and saved the diff (which is highly unlikely), you would only have 74K + your measily dividend returns after tax. This assumes no capital gains on the home (again highly unlikely) and no rent increases (completely implausible). So no you would not be ahead.

Longer term it makes even less sense to rent. With inflation your rent keeps rising, while your mortgage payment stays relatively range bound (only fluctuates up and down with interest rates).

Assume you can get the same shitty 5.34% rate over the life of the mortgage, and inflation is a constant 2%. By year 14, cost of rent exceeds the mortgage payments. So much for saving and investing the difference.

By year 25, had you bought you would fully own the house free and clear. Had you rented, your annual rent would now be 78K per year and like i said you would have absolutely nothing to show for it.

By year 26 and beyond, had you bought you could sit back and enjoy watching you home's value increase tax free, or you could downsize and let some sucker renter pay you 78K per year. Had you rented, you can cross your fingers and hope your income has kept up with the rise in rents, or you could pick up extra income at the Tim Horton's that's going in at Roncy and Fern.
lizzy / December 13, 2013 at 01:10 pm
Man what a gem.
Whomever buys it and can afford to renovate is going to end up with a gorgeous home in a great location.

louise ruggiero / December 13, 2013 at 05:39 pm
I have a buyer...please call me 416 409-3499

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