Case Study: Wingdale Divorce Sale

Dutchess County is not that far, and given that so many people view it as an affordable alternative to Westchester, I’ve been active there for 15 years. The sellers were emblematic of what I just described, former NYC dwellers who moved to the suburbs and wished to remain in orbit of the Big Apple.

This was one of the more difficult listings to sell, which was perplexing on several levels because it was a well cared for attractive home on a quiet street in a great neighborhood. I actually listed it twice; I was asked to release the listing the first time so that a local broker could move it on the theory that local might be better, and when that didn’t work I was rehired. We did have to lower the price, but then when a buyer materialized, it went pretty smoothly.

I think the takeaway on this one was that location can affect price more than other characteristics of comparable sales. Square footage, condition, bedrooms, baths, features and other similar traits are always significant factors, but location can make or break you. The thing about Dutchess County is that some of the school districts have a massive geographical footprint (and often large numbers of students), and comparable sales can be 15 miles or more apart, which will have a big impact. The home was in the Arlington school district, one of the bigger ones in the area, and despite being very close to Pawling, had a Wingdale post office. While our presentation was top shelf, the location wasn’t. Wingdale, the post office of a well known psychiatric hospital in the area, doesn’t exactly suggest luxury.

It took more than 2 years and 3 brokerages to finally get it moved, and I was honored to be the broker who finally got it closed. There is no scientific or empirical way to say this without sounding a little woo-woo, but I think part of the difficulty was in the challenge the sellers faced in letting go. It was a sad process for them. When the reality of the circumstances was fully realized, an aggressive price reduction was made and the home sold.

The process of closing once the buyer entered the picture was fairly smooth, and it almost seems like that’s the Murphy’s Law of real estate- a house that is easy to sell will have a difficult contract process, and one that’s harder to sell goes downhill once contacts are signed. I don’t know why!

One other observation on what worked was that one party allowed the other to be the quarterback. I only dealt with one seller 90% of the time, and they communicated well. Nobody was left out of the decision process, but one strapped back for most of the heavy lifting. I’m sure after the entire process, however, they were equally tired. This is never easy.

When the dust settled it was a successful closing and the sellers were able to put it in their rear view mirror. I remain in touch, and I hope my friend finds and keeps their bliss.

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