The Upper Beach just blew the f%*k up. There is no other way to put it, no more eloquent words. It blew up real good, like the American Embassy during the fall of Saigon or the Hindenburg over the sky of New Jersey. A street sale record was set (by a staggering $194,000), north of Kingston Rd shot up to prime Beach status, and in the process smashed buyers’ hopes were left in the billowing smoke. There was also plenty of drama along the way – including an attempted bully offer and a 3 barrel bidding war that was ultimately decided by less than half of a percentage point!
Our listing on this quiet street in the Upper Beach was a classic case of the right house at the right time, and of course the right buyers. The house was a massive 3 storey detached with a rear extension and it ticked off all the boxes – 5 bedrooms, front pad parking, finished and dug down basement, family room with fireplace, a second storey laundry room and a third storey master with a sprawling walk-in closet. The house had what we call “great bones”, and was lovingly maintained and updated in key areas by the owners over the years they lived there. It was completely move in ready but not “done up”, so there was tons of potential for the next owner to personalize it to their own taste (kitchen, new floors etc.), and not pay through the nose for finishes they don’t like.
Securing the listing had also been a major coup for our team and a sterling example of old school prospecting. Success in this manner boils down to a simple (and never changing) reality, which is that you do something 100 times and 99 of those times you get kicked squarely in the groin. But lo and behold 1 time you don’t.
That “1 time” started when I cold called one of the owners in September of 2014. Diane answered and right away her warmth and kindness came through the phone. I explained that I was trying to help a buyer get settled, and I asked if she knew of anybody in the area that might be considering a sale. She said she didn’t at the moment, but that her family would in fact be selling the following Spring. I asked when I should call again and sent her my card in the mail, and then called her back on the exact date she requested. We chatted again for a good 20 minutes, and the following week my partner Sean and I had a listing appointment. It really can be that simple, if you can take the 99 kicks…
The next week Sean and I sat at Diane and her husband Mitch’s dining room table and hit it off instantly. Diane is a retired teacher and Mitch a retired lawyer, and good luck finding nicer people. The business side went perfect – they loved our marketing proposal, and on the personal side Diane was very interested in Sean’s violin playing, while Mitch and I found common ground with our love of NFL football (there is no bigger Bills fan than Mitch). As we left they thanked us and said they would be in touch in a couple weeks as they still had several other agents to interview. Sean and I felt good but certainly not overly confident in getting the listing, as this house is in an area that tends to be dominated by a select few big names. It turned out we need not worry, and about 10 days later we heard back and they told us we had the listing. This was their retirement fund and the house they had loved for almost 20 years, and now they had entrusted us to see the sale through.
As soon as we put the sign on the lawn (at the end of April) with the Coming Soon rider we knew we had something special. We were flooded with calls right from the get go, and people couldn’t wait to see the house. “Can you get me through early??” “Can you get me through early??” I kept hearing that again and again, and suddenly I was more popular than a grade 8 kid with a dime bag of weed in the ravine. Some last minute fix-ups delayed us in going to market for a week, and it turned out to be the best thing that could ever happen. The pent up demand went into overdrive – buyers desperately wanted a hit, and we had the good stuff.
Oh, and the price?? At the time of our first meeting in February $950k felt right, and both Mitch and Diane said they would be more than happy if this is what they ultimately sold for. Just a few short weeks in an absurdly inventory starved market later, however, it was now clear that number was low. Thus we came out at $950k with an offer holdback, and it would now be disappointing if it didn’t crack $1,025,000.
The listing hit MLS on Tuesday mid-afternoon, with offers set to be reviewed the following Tuesday. From the get go it was crazy, with over 15 viewings booked over the first day and a half. On Thursday we had our evening open house, and as we were getting prepared for that we received a page in the late afternoon that a bully offer had been registered! This page also went out to every agent that had either showed the property or had a showing booked, and now all hell officially broke loose, which I will document in part 2 of this blog.