What’s Behind the Door
When these realtors got a new listing from an elderly lady, they got a lot more than they bargained for. When they walked through the door to view the house for the first time, they couldn’t believe their eyes. But what would leave even the most experienced real estate agent so completely dumbfounded? It turned out that this was no ordinary home.
As she entered the house, her knees almost gave in. She fought hard to keep her composure while the sweet old lady welcomed her into her home. But the astonishment she was feeling was almost too much to take.
She had tried to prepare herself before visiting, knowing this house was not like others she had worked on. But what she saw that day was something not even the most seasoned professional could have anticipated.
Real Estate Stars
And it’s not like Gladys Spizzirri was an amateur. She’d been working in the real estate business for almost three decades and had seen pretty much everything. She was an experienced broker and worked with a team of experts who knew the Greater Toronto Area like the back of their hands.
Then, in 2009, a new addition to the team made their enterprise even stronger. Gladys’ sister, Carla, joined as a sales representative — and business took off.
Business as Usual
The Spizzirri team was a well-oiled machine, with Gladys and Carla’s sister act proving almost unstoppable. Carla would make potential buyers fall in love with the properties she showed them, and then Gladys closed the deal — always getting the best offers for their clients.
Then one day, they got an unusual call. Carla picked up the phone and spoke to an elderly lady named Joyce who claimed she wanted to sell her house. But something about her struck Carla as odd.
Age is but a Number
Most sellers, once they’ve made up their mind to call a real estate agent, are sure of their decision and even have an urgency to get their house on the market. But Joyce was different. Carla noticed a bit of hesitancy in the woman’s voice.
Perhaps it was the age, she thought, so she tried to reassure her by letting her know she and her sister were the best in the business and they would come through for her. But then Joyce revealed something that Carla wasn’t expecting.
Elderly but Sharp
Though she knew it was an elderly woman on the other side of the line, Carla didn’t realize exactly how old. Then Joyce told her she was 96 years old. Carla then began to understand the old woman’s hesitation. Perhaps she was nervous about the next stage of her life, knowing she’d probably have to go into assisted living.
That said, Joyce sounded lucid and alert and nothing like other nonagenarians Carla had met. And the surprises were far from over.
An Old, Old House
When Carla asked Joyce how old her house was, she was not ready for the answer. Joyce’s home was a whopping 72 years old. That’s when Carla knew this would not be business as usual. Old houses can be hard to sell, especially if they haven’t been taken care of.
She wondered how well a 96-year-old could maintain such an old house. She even thought about rejecting Joyce’s listing — until the woman gave her the address.
Prime Real Estate
Joyce’s house was on Jane Street, in the Old Mill neighborhood of incorporated Toronto. Carla knew this was a well-to-do area that housed wealthy residents and high-end businesses like boutique hotels. She knew they could get a big asking price for this house, so she got off the phone and did some calculations.
The property’s estimated value came in at a mindblowing $968,000. They simply had to take this listing. But there was one big obstacle in their way.
Hemming and Hawing
It turned out that Joyce wasn’t actually sure she wanted to sell her house. Next time Carla called her, she vacillated, saying she had a lot of memories in that house and didn’t know if she’d be able to live anywhere else.
That was understandable — after all, she had lived in that place practically her whole life. But as experienced realtors, Carla and Gladys started suspecting something else was going on.
Was Joyce Hiding Something?
Indecision and an inability to let go are common traits in hoarders, who also tend to be elderly people. Carla and Gladys had seen it many times before and knew this could make their work twice as hard. But the potential payday was too big to pass up, so they kept going.
Hoping to get her to make a decision, they asked Joyce to do something they knew she wouldn’t like — but it had to be done.
Time to See it
Carla and Gladys had only seen the house from outside using Google street view. But they had to know what the condition was inside. They asked Joyce if they could visit, something that made the old lady nervous at first.
Eventually, they convinced her, and the sisters got to work. But none of their experience prepared them for what they were about to find.
A Doorway to Another World
The sisters stepped inside, and couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The house was nothing like what they had expected. It was like they had traveled back in time seventy years. They style, furniture, and decorations were straight from the 1950s.
Not only that, it was all immaculately kept. The realtors had to keep their awe in check as Joyce walked them from room to room. And then they started realizing something.
Not for Everyone
It was clear to Gladys and Carla that Joyce had worked hard to imprint her style all throughout the house. It was a very distinctive style, though, and something of an acquired taste. The thing that most stood out was its unapologetic femininity, with soft pastels and embellished furniture in every room. Pink and gold were recurrent motifs, as were flower-patterned wallpapers.
That said, there was no turning back for the sisters. But there was one last thing to do before putting the house on the market.
Though at first glance the home looked impeccably maintained, Carla and Gladys knew a house as old as this needed to be thoroughly inspected. So they called in their team of experts to take a look at every nook and cranny.
To the sisters’ surprise, everything was in perfect shape. They were amazed at how well Joyce was able to preserve such a place. But the old woman did have one thing to confess.
Some Minor Renovations
Joyce told the sisters that the kitchen was actually refurbished in the mid-1960s. But, though it was a decade and a half newer than the rest of the house, it didn’t look out of place and was just as well-kept as everything else.
Even the oven, which by now was around 50 years old, worked like a charm according to Joyce. Satisfied, Carla and Gladys posted the listing. And they were not expecting what happened next.
Charming the Internet
The sisters knew they would get a lot of interest in the house from potential buyers. But they didn’t know it would also capture the hearts of everyone else. The online listing went viral, with people swooning over the beautiful 1950s interior. The house was even featured on HGTV. It was clear that, whoever ended up buying this house, would have big shoes to fill, and the world would be watching.
Could the new owner preserve the timeless home Joyce had spent years safeguarding?