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79 Coolidge Went for Even More Than $376K Over-Ask

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Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends you would not otherwise see.

Last week, I posted about a Coolidge Corner single-family that garnered an offer that was $376,000 over the asking price, making it the mother of all over-asks. In my 15 years of brokerage experience, this was the first single-family sale that I had seen go for so far over asking and I was curious about what the conditions were that caused this unusual sale. So I started contacting the folks involved.

I traded emails with Danny Dineen, the listing agent for 79 Coolidge. He told me that when he took the listing, given that it was a gut rehab with some mold issues, he expected the home to sell for $800K to $900K. Instead, it sold for $1.126 million. I thought Danny would tell me he used something like the Vulcan mind-meld to get a buyer to go so far over the asking. Instead he told me that the Coolidge Corner location and the Victorian style were the drivers for desirability and price bidding.
The next person I contacted was the buyer, Belinda Hunsinger. I thought my first question might be, "What were you smoking when you decided to bid so far over ask?" It ends up, however, that Belinda is no rookie buyer. She is both a developer and a Brookline resident. Thirteen years ago, she cut her development teeth fixing up and re-selling properties in Davis Square, a location where she often over-built and under-sold homes, a strategy she says that made her " no money." Belinda went on to do 28 projects in the South End, projects that often contained both high-end finishes and a profit.

In regard to 79 Coolidge, Belinda's original offer of $875K was a loser. A little while later, however, she was having lunch with a friend who had won the bidding for the much vied for house. When the friend told Belinda that instead of developing 79 Coolidge she was thinking to assign (sell) the rights to the house to another developer who had expressed interest in buying them, Belinda persuaded the winning bidder to assign the contract to her instead.

As a result, in addition to paying the seller $1.126 million, $376,000 more than the asking price, Belinda bought the rights to the contract. Incredible! She wouldn't say how much she paid for the rights, but selling the rights to buy a home under contract is something that is allowed in most purchase and sale agreements, and I have seen developers sell the rights for as much as $100K.

Today, Belinda plans on developing the home rather than living in it. She says 79 Coolidge will have heated floors, granite counters and a kitchen that is very cook-friendly. The market for newly finished single families in Coolidge Corner is anywhere from $2 million to $2.7 million, but may be higher by the time the new and improved 79 Coolidge is ready to be shown. If I ever talk to the next buyer, my first question might be, "Did you see it before the renovation?"
· Our Bates By the Numbers [Curbed Boston]