Shopping for real estate is like opening a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. When Gladys and Carla Spizzirri, two Toronto-based realtors, were hired to represent the seller at 148 Jane Street, they didn't know what they were signing up for. However, after stepping into the building, they were blown away by what they found. Instead of a 100-year-old home in need of repair, they ended up finding a living time capsule.
Working as a real estate agent can be riveting or boring, depending on whom you ask. Most real estate agents get called in to help move your average home. When Gladys and Carla Spizzirri were contacted by an elderly woman named Joyce, in Toronto, they assumed that a similar process would play out. If you keep on reading, you will quickly learn that this was anything but the case!
Toronto's housing market is almost always booming. Toronto is the capital of Ontario as well as the largest city in all of Canada. As a cultural hub, Toronto is considered an international destination for art, food, and business. With a high quality of life, people are always looking for a place to live in a nice neighborhood.
Before we learn more about Joyce and her fascinating home, let's take a moment to introduce Gladys and Carla Spizzirri. Both sisters and real estate agents, Carla and Gladys had been working in the Toronto market for years. While they weren't considered a real estate team, the Spizzirri sisters decided to stick together when they were contacted by Joyce. In all of their years in the real estate industry, they had never come across a home like this!
Here we see the iconic home at 148 Jane Street. With a relatively inauspicious exterior, there is really no hint as to what is inside of the building. Fortunately for us, Gladys and Carla had stumbled across something quite magical. Instead of this property being overlooked by the world, their work would bring Joyce's incredible home, and story, to people everywhere.
In the real estate world, there are all kinds of different homes. You'll run across properties that are completely updated, you'll find retro homes, you'll even find homes that are soon-to-be-condemned due to their structural integrity. What Gladys and Carla had stumbled across was a time capsule home. Incredibly rare and extremely exciting, very few realtors get to come across these properties. We'll get more into this later, so keep patient!
When talking to potential clients, real estate agents know not to get excited too quickly. Many sellers end up backing out of the process, especially elderly homeowners who don't need to get rid of their property. Still, Gladys and Carla were feeling pretty good. Joyce had reached out to them and that had to mean something!
Meet Joyce, the 96-year-old woman who created this wonderful story. Joyce and her husband had purchased the property on 148 Jane Street as a wedding gift, over seventy years ago. The couple would live their entire lives inside of the home, so it obviously was a very important place to them. Deciding to sell the house was a big deal. All of a sudden, the Spizzirri sisters realized that they were selling something dear to Joyce's heart.
Despite how important the home was, Joyce knew that she was ready to move on. After revealing the location of the property, the Spizzirri sisters were overjoyed. As we mentioned before, Toronto has long been a world-class city to move to. Additionally, Joyce's home was located in a region of Toronto that had become very trendy. Carla and Gladys knew that they could help Joyce to get a great price.
After talking further with Joyce, the homeowner revealed that she was ready to 'retire' and 'move to Florida'. While Joyce dearly cared for the home, she admitted that it was time to be close to the rest of her family. Besides, at 96-years-old, she felt like she deserved to take it a little easier. What could Carla and Gladys say to that?
Now, our story takes off. Gladys and Carla arrived in front of 148 Jane Street on their momentous day. Ready to photograph the property for the listing, they made their way to the front door of the home. What would they find inside of the property? Would the building be decrepit inside? Was Joyce secretly a hoarder? Was the home actually a complete mess?
While Joyce had sounded strong and confident on the phone, the realtors knew that there could be any number of ways that this sale could be derailed. While they were sitting on a potentially huge sale, they knew that real problems could still manifest. What if Joyce changed her mind? What if they couldn't agree on a price point?
Despite their initial skepticism, the Spizzirri sisters drew optimism from how Joyce comported herself. Clearheaded and ready to get the sale done, Joyce was an anchor throughout the entire sales process. With nothing to lose and nothing left to do, the Spizzirri sisters took a deep breath before entering the home.
As you can see, upon stepping into the home, the Spizzirri sisters were blown away. Far from some sort of hidden disaster, Joyce's home was pristine. The entrance to the property felt like a portal to the past. Suddenly, Gladys and Carla were standing in a beautiful new home from the 1950s.
As Gladys and Carla began their tour of the property, they were blown away by what they saw. Joyce had taken time to give each room in the home a unique theme. From beautiful pink curtains to the accented wallpaper, Joyce had made sure that every little detail was perfect. How could you not love what you saw?
While making a theme room was impressive, Joyce took her interior design skills to the next level. Each room was filled with the original home decor that she had purchased over fifty years ago. The home was a museum, a time capsule, and an antique-filled wonder.
Here we see an extension of Joyce's talents as a housekeeper. This beautifully preserved dining room looks exactly like it did fifty years ago. Could you see yourself sitting down for a relaxing dinner here? From the beautiful decor to the hanging chandelier, we can't help but be impressed by Joyce's work.
As the realtors continued their tour of the home, they came to realize that they had walked into something quite special. This beautiful purple-themed room was another extension of Joyce's artistic design talents. Each room had a unique personality that set it apart from the one beside it.
Speaking of beautiful antiques, Gladys and Carla were knocked off of their feet by this gorgeous dining room. The Spizzirri sisters would soon learn that Joyce had a passion for interior design. Joyce had grown to love designing and maintaining her home. It was clear to see that she was meticulous and thorough in her approach!
As the Spizzirri sisters toured the property, they came to appreciate and grow concerned by Joyce's design choices. While Joyce had done an incredible job in each room, the house had an overwhelmingly feminine feel to it. This all changed when they went to the basement. Joyce revealed that her husband allowed her to go wild designing the house, so long as he could have the basement. Even after he had passed away, she preserved how he had kept his favorite room.
When Joyce and her husband had first moved into the property, they were young newlyweds. Now, 70+ years later, Joyce was looking to leave the home for the last time. Such a momentous occasion was surely weighing on Joyce's conscience. Despite how much love she had for the home, she still knew that it was the right time to move on from 148 Jane Street.
Here we see the picturesque backyard of 148 Jane Street. Not confined to the interior of the home, Joyce had showcased her design talents outside, as well. The backyard was cozy to be sure, but it was meticulously groomed and as adorable as ever. Could you see yourself relaxing out here?
After taking a brief respite, the tour had to continue. Here we see one of the guest bathrooms in the home. From floor to ceiling, Joyce had spared no expense when it came to designing her home. It is easy to see how she could fall in love with the property for so long. What do you think? Would you be willing to live in a 50's era home?
By this point in time, Gladys and Carla knew that the home was going to be easy to sell. Their concerns over a potential disaster were pretty much put to rest. Joyce clearly respected her property and had made sure to take care of it. After all, she had been living in this home for almost one hundred years and it was still in great condition. So why were the Spizzirri sisters still hesitant to celebrate?
As it turns out, old homes have trouble passing modern inspections. Often, older homeowners simply forget to perform the updates that are required to 'meet code standards'. When this happens, costly repairs and upgrades are required for the property to be sold. While the realtors were happy with what they saw around them, they were worried about what they couldn't see!
While the inspection was still looming, the realtors had to put a price tag on the home. After detailing similar listings around the area, the Spizzirri sisters settled on a price of $968,000. Suddenly, Joyce's dream home looked like an amazing investment. Not only was Joyce going to be rewarded for her hard work, but she was also going to become a millionaire as a result!
Despite their concerns over the inspection, Gladys and Carla plunged on with their work. As they would soon find out, their worry was for nothing. The house passed its inspection with flying colors. The inspector even noted that Joyce had done a fantastic job at keeping the property in good condition.
With the inspection approved and a sale price settled on, Carla and Gladys took their listing to the internet. It wouldn't take long for 148 Jane Street to start making some noise online. The listing quickly went viral and suddenly potential buyers were pouring in from all over the place. People were stunned and impressed by Joyce's story and her love of the property.
Now that a potential sale was on the table, Joyce had to give her final approval. This was the final test that had to be passed in order for 148 Jane Street to find a new owner. After having lived in the home for 70+ years, Joyce was ready to move on. Instead of wrestling with the decision, Joyce decided to stick to her guns. She was ready to rejoin her family in Florida but before she did, she wanted to look at her old room again.
For her own bedroom, Joyce had settled on purple as the primary color theme. It is easy to see how she could fall in love with the property. Joyce's bedroom featured a unique wall-mounted dresser as well as a massive closet. Did we mention that she even had her very own master bathroom?
While we can look at Joyce's bedroom and be impressed by the condition, Joyce doesn't see the property the same way. For Joyce, each home possessed decades worth of memories regarding the people she loved and grew up with. The house was a time capsule for Joyce. Each room meant something special and had been there during an important time of her life.
Though Joyce cherished the memories that she had made in the property, she was still ready to move on with her life. Instead of being saddened by the sale, it became easy to be impressed by what she had accomplished. Here we can see Joyce's private bathroom. The unique counters and large bathtub make this perfect for just about anyone!
Even if Joyce had restrained herself from over-decorating her home, she still made sure to include plenty of details. If you look on the wall to the right of the door, you can see a collection of family photos. As a 96-year-old woman, Joyce had authentic antique photographs of her parents. Isn't that something?
Among the many minor details worth pointing out is the laundry area. Despite Joyce's commitment to authenticity, she understood that it was important to keep certain aspects of her home more modernized. This gigantic laundry room features pretty much everything you'd need to get through your chores. Can you imagine a 22-year-old Joyce working in this laundry room?
As Joyce reflected on her life in the home, Carla and Gladys continued to rally buyers in order to come to a deal. While many buyers were inspired by Joyce's story, the majority of them were interested in the home primarily due to its location. When Joyce had purchased the property alongside her husband, they had struck gold without knowing it.
Eventually, the Spizzirri sisters were able to settle on a number that left both Joyce and her new buyer happy. With the sale officially complete, Joyce and the Spizzirri sisters were ready to depart. Despite the relatively short relationship that they had shared, Joyce and her realtors had accomplished something special.
Even though Joyce couldn't take the home with her, she had managed to live in a property that she had loved for her entire life. The Spizzirri sisters had made sure that Joyce was able to get the best price possible, and they also were instrumental in helping Joyce's story go viral. Now that you have heard Joyce's story, do you have one of your own?