How I sold a Queen Village luxury home sight unseen during COVID-19 shutdown

Queen Village Luxury

Buying sight unseen is a bit scary, to say the least. To do it during COVID-19 shutdown took some real courage from both buyers and sellers.

809 S 3rd Street in Queen Village – SOLD for $1,075,000

While I’ve helped clients buy sight unseen since 2008 using custom virtual real estate technology and video previews, this was a very unique experience navigating the COVID-19 shutdown.

In fact, we closed and I still haven’t seen the home!

Each home purchase is a journey, a unique experience. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to assist my clients, making dreams come true.

It’s not just a transaction – it’s a life changing move and I take my clients’ trust in me to heart.

What the journey looked like

This story starts before COVID-19. In fact, I first met my clients at an open house a few years ago. If you’ve met me, you already know that I’m not a high-pressure sales person but view my role as a trusted advisor with a passion to help people accomplish their goals.

They remembered me “because I was nice” and contacted me when they were ready to upgrade to a larger home due to a baby on the way.

While they have a lovely home in Queen Village, they needed more space but also wanted parking, first floor living area and outdoor space in William Meredith School district for under $1M.

Time to find that “forever” home to be filled with love, laughter, little people and years of happy memories.

Prior to the coronavirus we saw a few that might fit, but something wasn’t just right. When you have buyers that want what we fondly call a “unicorn” (a unique property that’s hard to find) it’s time to get creative!

Finding that perfect match!

You might call me a real estate “match maker,” connecting buyers and sellers to create success for both.

After doing extensive outreach, letter writing and research within their micro-market, I found a narrow selection of possibilities. One was of particular interest and a potential perfect match.

Both the owners and my buyers were flexible on timing, but the little one on the way wasn’t waiting for Gov. Wolf to lift the real estate COVID-19 shut down!

Buying sight unseen

By law, I literally could not physically do any real estate related activities – not even place a sign or lockbox.

The owners did not want to list their home, and in fact had no sense of urgency about selling. However, after a few conversations, emails and Zoom calls, they were open to a potential “match” with my clients.

After a Zoom call and walk through with both buyers and sellers, they loved it! I knew this one would be a huge regret if we let it get away.

Their inclination was to wait for the COVID restrictions to be lifted and then make an offer. We discussed the possibility of a sight-unseen contract but understandably that made them feel uneasy.

As an advisor, it’s my role to offer possibilities and explore options not previously considered. Recognizing that the market would be more competitive after the shutdown, and their rights would be protected by the “sight unseen” contract addendum, the buyers agreed to do what they never thought they would – make an offer without seeing the home in person!

How does a sight unseen contract work?

Because of COVID-19, I suggested to the owners they go under contract as For Sale by Owners rather than have me represent them. By law they could interact with the buyers in ways that I could not, and it would also ‘sweeten’ my buyers offer price by reducing their cost of selling.

We minimized any in-person contact throughout the process. The owner privately contacted the buyers for their walk through during the “sight-unseen” contingency period and they weren’t in the property again until our final walk through on day of settlement.

Home buying during COVID19

With all parties grave concern regarding COVID-19, I did not go in the home even at the settlement day walk through but stood by outside to answer questions. Once this pandemic is over, we will all celebrate in person and I’ll love seeing what they’ve done with the place.

I’m so happy for all involved! The sellers found a perfect new home and did a sell/buy double closing on the same day. Everyone was a delight to work with.

Happy ending

Putting my clients needs first is more than a slogan, it’s at the core of my personal and professional ethics. I’m only successful when it’s a positive result for my clients. Your success is my success!

“Susanna Kunkel did a wonderful job of finding our dream home in Queen Village! She went above and beyond in the time of the pandemic to find us a home that wasn’t even on the market. It doesn’t get much better than that! She is a thorough professional who knows the ins and outs of the business and with tons of contacts. In addition she has always been accessible to us and super easy to work with. She genuinely cares about her clients. We highly recommend her without any reservations”

To explore how you can buy or sell using “sight unseen” strategies, or at least minimize your risks during COVID-19, please contact me for a confidential consultation.

Virtual Real Estate

Recent COVID-19 crisis “stay at home” orders have up-ended traditional real estate activity. However, sellers still want to sell and buyers need new homes.

Virtual showings now become a primary tool for both buyers and sellers to overcome the COVID-19 challenges and accomplish their goals.

For instance, the video below is a walk through preview I did for my clients last week during a brokers open house. There’s so much detail, sense of place and flow of the design one can get from a virtual walk through that you can’t get with profession videos or even the best photos.

Working remotely with both buyers and sellers was a foundation of my business while selling luxury 2nd homes in Hawaii as most of my clients were remote. Some buyers went under contract “sight unseen” based on video walk throughs I shared with them, and then flew in for the home inspection. Of course, that was based on our strong working relationship and clarity of their vision for their new home.

Now is the time when you need a realtor with cutting-edge technology skills as well as experience and expertise. Let’s have “coffee” via Zoom video conferencing and discuss what’s going on in your local market and various strategies to accomplish your goals.

How to transform your library

How to get the highest offer in today’s market? Staging is not just furniture, it’s about telling a story that makes the right buyers fall in love.  One of the mainstays of Main Line estate homes is a gracious library. Many of today’s luxury buyers no longer view a library as desirable. They look for technology based amenities, like Control 4 smart systems. Yet a library is a very positive feature if positioned creatively.

Too many design elements – need to simplify and lighten the room

How to present the features and benefits of a library, but also appeal to modern luxury buyers? Staging can transform the area making it attractive to both traditional and modern luxury buyers.

Spare elements on shelves, staging as open living area

Staging is not just furniture. It’s about re-packaging the property in the best possible way for today’s buyers.

How can we present your home to net you the highest price in today’s market? Let’s talk – I have solutions for you!

High demand for Main Line mid-century homes

You might be surprised to find a high demand on the Main Line for mid-century modern with simple, clean lines and open floor plans.

Three recent listings designed by Robert McElroy all went under contract in less than two weeks. Take a quick preview:

Where were these?

307 Jeffrey Lane, Newtown Square – listed for $749,000. 4 bd / 3 ba, on 1 acre with swimming pool & jacuzzi, built in 1972. Sold above asking for $749,850

596 S Bryn MawrAve, Bryn Mawr – listed for $710,000. 4 bd / 2.5 ba on 1.34 acres, built in 1963. Sold above asking for $730,000.

596 S Bryn Mawr Ave SOLD above asking for $730K

305 Highview Drive, Wayne – listed for $599,900. 4 bd / 2.5 ba, on 1 acre with pool, built in 1970. Sold for $580,000.

If you’d like listing alerts for homes built by Robert McElroy, contact me and I will notify you of coming soon and just listed mid-century homes.

History meets luxury in Lower Merion

Combine Philadelphia history and Frank Furness design with modern luxury upgrades and you create this gem in Lower Merion.

Welcome to 608 Robinson Lane, Haverford

Imagine greeting your guests as you descend this grand staircase where historic architecture meets modern flooring:

Which would be your favorite bath?

I adore the indoor / outdoor flow with so much light!

Relax, entertain, enjoy your private oasis close to Philadelphia – all for the same price as a 2 bd condo in Rittenhouse Square.

Photos courtesy of BHHS


Update – SOLD 12/7/18 for $2,075,000 with $75K in concessions.