When Calamity Strikes at an Open House
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When Calamity Strikes at an Open House

Real-estate agents recall crashing framed art, sick babies, sick cats, sharks—then the doorbell rings.

By Amy Gamerman
Wed, Nov 10, 2021 10:21amGrey Clock 4 min

Q: Ever had a showing that turned into a scene from a disaster movie?

Vickey Barron

Associate real-estate broker, Compass, New York City

It was the first showing of a two-bedroom penthouse with an 79sqm  terrace on the Upper East Side, near Carnegie Hill. The owners had adopted a baby and they had two little boys. When I first saw the place, they had a section of a sectional sofa—not the whole sofa, just a section—toys everywhere, not one piece of art on the walls; nothing from an interior-design standpoint. The owner said, “It’s not my forte.” I told her, “I will go shopping with you.”

Every day there would be a rug delivered, a coffee table, accessories. I reorganised her closets. We got beautiful, framed photographs of New York and had them hung in a hallway.

By the time we had our first showing, the place looked exquisite. It was about six o’clock at night and it was snowing outside. I had lighted candles on the dining table, there were flowers on the coffee table. It was a really pretty wintertime scene. But right before the showing, the owner came running into the penthouse with the baby and one of the older boys. The baby was crying. She said, “I’m so sorry, I have to change the baby. She has horrible diarrhea.” While she was in the bedroom with the baby, who was crying nonstop, her son ran onto the terrace and started spinning in the snow, catching it in his hands. I asked him to please come in, and he did—tracking soppy snow through the apartment. Then he saw the candles burning on the table, went over and blew them out. Wax spattered all over the table. That startled him. He went running down the hall to his mother, and knocked down one of the framed photographs on the wall. It slid down the wall and just shattered—glass everywhere. Luckily he didn’t get hurt.

I ran to get a broom to sweep up the glass. While I was getting the broom, I saw that the cat had eaten the flowers on the coffee table. It was obvious from the pile of vomit.

While I was sweeping up the glass, the buzzer went off. It was the doorman, saying, “Hi, your people are here. They are on their way up on the elevator.” The baby was crying, the cat was vomiting and then the doorbell rang. I opened the door to the buyers and said, “Hi, can you give me just one moment?” The mom sneaked out the back door with her son and the baby. I finished sweeping up the glass, dumped it in the trash, got the cat vomit up, got in there with the air freshener.

When the buyers were walking through, they said, “Everything looks so beautiful.” I said, “Don’t pay attention to the wax.” It sold at full ask—$1.8 million.

Pam Jackson

Real-estate agent, The Corcoran Group, Southampton, N.Y.

I have a waterfront listing on Shinnecock Bay. The house was built in 1938. It’s darling, with all these old touches, but admittedly the house needs work. We listed it at $1.35 million, then did a price reduction to $1.25 million. It’s on the water, but the buyer would have to spend $800,000 to either demolish it or gut it to the studs.

There are three viewing spots of the bay, including a sun deck overlooking the water, about 50 or 60 feet from the house. The deck is built over the ground where it slopes toward the water. The ground is uneven, so at one end the deck is only a foot or so off the ground, but at the far end overlooking the bay, it’s about 8 feet above the ground. Back in the day, there were steps that went down from the deck to the water and a long dock, but those had both been washed away. It’s a very sweet spot. You see this vast expanse of water and boats going by and paddle boarders.

I had a very tall family come to see the house, two girls and a boy in their mid-20s, with their parents. We went out to the deck and we’re all talking. One of the daughters says, “I see a shark!” I’m thinking, “It’s not a shark, this is the bay,” but everybody goes to the edge of the deck to look. Then all of a sudden we hear this crunching noise and the deck drops a few inches toward the water. The platform had pulled away from the pilings that were sunk in the ground.

What happened next was all kind of a blur. I didn’t even see the mom and the three kids jump off the deck onto the lawn, but they did. The deck dropped another few inches. The father and I are side by side and he starts to jump, then reaches back for my hand and we jump off the widening divide between the deck and the lawn, 3 feet to the ground. It was an Indiana Jones moment.

My heart was racing. I tried to keep it light. I walked the family to their car and thanked them and said, “You’re going to have plenty to talk about at dinner tonight!”

It was at the end of the open house, thank God. They let me know it wasn’t a project they wanted to entertain at the moment. I called the owners and they had the deck removed that week.

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: November 9, 2021



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New research suggests spending 40 percent of household income on loan repayments is the new normal

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Requiring more than 30 percent of household income to service a home loan has long been considered the benchmark for ‘housing stress’. Yet research shows it is becoming the new normal. The 2024 ANZ CoreLogic Housing Affordability Report reveals home loans on only 17 percent of homes are ‘serviceable’ if serviceability is limited to 30 percent of the median national household income.

Based on 40 percent of household income, just 37 percent of properties would be serviceable on a mortgage covering 80 percent of the purchase price. ANZ CoreLogic suggest 40 may be the new 30 when it comes to home loan serviceability. “Looking ahead, there is little prospect for the mortgage serviceability indicator to move back into the 30 percent range any time soon,” says the report.

“This is because the cash rate is not expected to be cut until late 2024, and home values have continued to rise, even amid relatively high interest rate settings.” ANZ CoreLogic estimate that home loan rates would have to fall to about 4.7 percent to bring serviceability under 40 percent.

CoreLogic has broken down the actual household income required to service a home loan on a 6.27 percent interest rate for an 80 percent loan based on current median house and unit values in each capital city. As expected, affordability is worst in the most expensive property market, Sydney.

Sydney

Sydney’s median house price is $1,414,229 and the median unit price is $839,344.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $211,456 to afford a home loan for a house and $125,499 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $120,554.

Melbourne

Melbourne’s median house price is $935,049 and the median apartment price is $612,906.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $139,809 to afford a home loan for a house and $91,642 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $110,324.

Brisbane

Brisbane’s median house price is $909,988 and the median unit price is $587,793.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $136,062 to afford a home loan for a house and $87,887 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $107,243.

Adelaide

Adelaide’s median house price is $785,971 and the median apartment price is $504,799.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $117,519 to afford a home loan for a house and $75,478 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $89,806.

Perth

Perth’s median house price is $735,276 and the median unit price is $495,360.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $109,939 to afford a home loan for a house and $74,066 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $108,057.

Hobart

Hobart’s median house price is $692,951 and the median apartment price is $522,258.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $103,610 to afford a home loan for a house and $78,088 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $89,515.

Darwin

Darwin’s median house price is $573,498 and the median unit price is $367,716.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $85,750 to afford a home loan for a house and $54,981 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $126,193.

Canberra

Canberra’s median house price is $964,136 and the median apartment price is $585,057.

Based on 40 percent serviceability, households need a total income of $144,158 to afford a home loan for a house and $87,478 for a unit. The city’s actual median household income is $137,760.

 

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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