We speak to the team behind the most intriguing recent property sale.
The property: A four-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-car-park house on 356 square metres at 28 Lennox Street, Bellevue Hill, NSW. Sold after auction for $7.3 million.
The four-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-car park house on 356 square metres at 28 Lennox Street in Sydney’s Bellevue Hill sold after auction for $7.3 million. 
Who was the agent/agency? Chris Nunn and Hanna Kim, BresicWhitney Inner West.
How long was this on the market?[Nunn] It was on the market for 23 days.
Why did this one sell? Because it was an outstanding opportunity for a young family to break into the Bellevue Hill market.
Was it overpriced? No.
What did you think it would go for? I don’t know.
The guide was $5.5 million and you increased it to $6 million the night before – why? Because multiple buyers suggested they would be prepared to pay $6 million or more.
What was surprising about it? There was an element of the owner being reluctant to sell. He hadn’t figured out what his next steps were. He tried to cancel the auction the day before three times, in three separate phone calls. It was a fairly tense conversation the night before around letting the chips fall where they may.
Back in play: The family home was on the market for the first time in 32 years. 
It became more tense with the owner and their family in the final days leading up to the auction. While the owner was predominantly the decision maker, the two children were the advisors, and we didn’t have much of an audience with them in the final days. The children were considering whether they might like to develop it themselves.
Was the vendor half-hearted? He was half-hearted in considering anything below the reserve he set for us on the day.
It would [have been] different if the owner had already landed on what they were going to do. His options were moving to the UK, to Singapore or getting a downsizer property in Sydney.
There were multiple opinions – his, his son’s and his daughter’s. It can’t have been easy for the owner to know what was the right thing to do.
[Kim] Midway through the campaign, 24 Lennox Street sold off-market. It was the same land size as number 28, but had been renovated throughout. It sold for $7.75 million. That was a bit of a spanner in the works. It left us all with a question mark as to what was the right price.
Open future: But the vendor, despite knowing it was time to sell, was uncertain about his next move. 
[Nunn] There were some strong opinions about the relevance of the 24 Lennox Street price. There was a reluctance to sell and an argument about what the cost would be to bring it up to a similar standard and perhaps sell. Another idea was to build a duplex on site, so the daughter could live next to the father.
The focus shifted away from selling and more towards an alternative solution, which made it very hard to manage.
How much of a sale is actually managing family relations? It depends on the type of property you’re representing. But certainly as the price points get higher – your $4 million to $10 million range – there are often family members who are either stakeholders or advisers in the background, and we’re often dealing with multiple options, opinions and multiple sets of instructions in these situations.
The family home ends up being very much a nest egg, not only for the ageing Baby Boomer but also potentially to help the children.
There are often five different possibilities and often a reluctance to sell the home in the first place. It’s more being done out of necessity or more being done in an automated way. It’s the time of life when we should do this. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to move.
Family caucus: Downsizer sales are often made harder due to the interests of different people in the transaction, the agent said. 
There’s a fair amount of psychology and hand-holding. A lot of empathy and sensitivity is required. These are not simple situations. It’s nice to make the decision when you have a choice and are still mobile and financially capable. If you leave it till you have no choice … they’re trying to get ahead of that.
At what price did the auction pass in? At $6.898 million.
The owner had a fear of it passing in, a fear of not achieving a result that would pave a solid path for his next steps moving forward. But we’d spoken about the fact that passing in was not a terrible thing the night before, and that withdrawing was far worse. Because if you withdraw a property, buyers naturally assume there must not be any other interest than them.
[Kim] There were four people after it passed in who we negotiated with. We started at 12.45pm and sold it by about 3.30pm. The eventual buyer was from the inner west.
All clear: But after receiving a price he wanted, the vendor was relieved. 
[Nunn] A Drummoyne buyer outbid the local buyers. At the end of the day, when I said, “Congratulations, we’re selling,” the vendor wasn’t obstructive. He was smiling. He seemed very happy and relieved. The buyers were over the moon to purchase such a blue-chip house in a blue-chip location.
The tension evaporated, largely because the seller, the father, had stuck to the plan and had not deviated.
Do you reckon we’ll see another result like this: a) next week b) next year c) next cycle d) never? b) Next year. There will be plenty more next year. There seems to be a bit of a spotlight on how sensible it is, whether it’s a single or a couple of Baby Boomers, for them to remain in these large family homes.
I’ve sold half a dozen this year where I’m dealing with the children and siblings, and step-kids and sons-in-law and daughters-in-law. There will be plenty more of these dynamics coming up.
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