In 1996 I was looking to buy a house, preferably in the Bella Vista neighborhood.
Jeremy brought a house to my attention; it needed some work but the asking price was more than reasonable. It was for sale by the owner, which presumably was why he was asking only $60K for it.
I called, but he had already lined up a buyer, so I was out of luck.
Meanwhile, I got in touch with Madeleine (pronounced, as she was most insistent on, Mah-duh-LEEN), whose office was on South Street.
She showed me quite a few houses, including trinities (too small) and a wonderful property in the Northern Liberties area. It was owned by a reporter for the Inquirer, and he had made lots of improvements. I loved the house, the immediate neighborhood was lovely, but for several reasons, I just didn’t want to live in Northern Liberites (too far from my job in South Philadelphia, for one).
And then she showed me a house on Clymer Street, just a couple blocks away from the place that Jeremy had pointed out.
It seemed to fit my needs pretty well, even if it wasn’t as fancy as the place in Northern Liberties. The owner, Tutty, an elderly man, had died and his relatives were selling the property. They were asking a bit more than I thought I wanted to pay, so there was some negotiation involved.
And then I found a message on my answering machine. It was from the fellow who was self-selling the house that Jeremy had turned me on to. His buyer had backed out, so he was once again on the market.
Alas, my offer on the Clymer Street property had just been accepted, so I never called him back.
Well, I bought that house on Clymer Street for $80K, and five years later, when real estate was booming in Philadelphia and I was buying a place in Wissahickon because my job had moved, I thought I had made a great deal because I sold it for about $140K.
And it was a great deal.
But I just took a peek at that house that Jeremy liked, and while I could’ve had it in 1996 for $60K, its most recent sale price in 2017 was $875,000!