Selling a luxury home can be a challenge, even with the perfect circumstances. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and closing on a home, especially a luxury home, can become very difficult. Luckily for the sellers of 329 Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts, they had Kathy Sullivan of RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate as their agent and The RE/MAX Collection brand on their side. 

Kathy has 35 years of experience in real estate (30 with RE/MAX) and has sold countless luxury homes. She knows the Salem market like the back of her hand and knew what it would take to get this luxury home sold. Even with COVID-19 complicating the situation, Kathy was able to get it done. Kathy also had the help of the buyers’ agent, Diane Beekler of RE/MAX On The River. Yes, this sale had RE/MAX agents on both sides!

Keep reading below to hear more about the sale of this luxury home during COVID-19.

Tell us a little about 329 Essex Street. What is special about this home? 

This home is a magnificent Victorian mansion, circa 1871. This is the famous Putnam-Balch House, now known as Greymoor, and it is located in Salem’s McIntire Historic District. It is truly a stunning blend of history and modern renovations. This historic home has 4-5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 8 fireplaces, period lighting fixtures, a stained-glass skylight and so much more.

Tell us a bit about the sale. How did you get it done during this challenging time? How did COVID-19 affect this sale?

Luckily, the deal was negotiated and the price was agreed to 30 days before closing and before COVID-19 concerns arose. However, this sale definitely became challenging at the end due to the mechanics of trying to close during COVID-19. For example, fire prevention was not working; the Registry of Deeds was closed to the public; moving companies were limited and some not working; no hotels were open for the buyer to stay in Salem during the closing. To make things more complicated, the seller was in Spain, in a total lockdown, and nothing (including paperwork) could go in or out of Spain. With perseverance, great lawyers working on both sides, and the help of FedEx, we were able to make it happen! Everything was very unusual, stressful and difficult.

Did you use The RE/MAX Collection branding for this listing?

Absolutely, all the way and everywhere!

How did you market this luxury listing?

First, I made sure to have high quality photography, a virtual tour, interactive floor plans, a video on YouTube, a listing website, and post it to MLS.

I used all of The RE/MAX Collection branding for flyers, postcards, social media, and signage. This listing was featured in RE/MAX INTEGRA’s complimentary print ads in The Boston Globe, Distinctive Homes Magazine, and Northshore Magazine. I used David Collins REAL Marketing brochures, posted the listing on all of my personal and business social media pages as well as the RE/MAX INTEGRA Luxury Facebook group. This listing also had featured articles with photos in the New York Times and Boston Magazine.

Have you noticed changes in the luxury market during COVID-19?

There are no new luxury listings and I have buyers that are looking. I’ve only seen one new listing – for $6.5M in Gloucester, MA which is unfortunately not in my buyers’ price range.

How is selling luxury during COVID-19 different than selling average priced homes?

Whether you are selling a luxury home or an average priced home, we are all dealing with the same issues, concerns and protocols. Some of these we actually always follow for luxury – ie: vetting buyers, booties on shoes, shown by private appointment, limited open houses, etc.

Any tips for selling luxury in the COVID-19 environment?

Make sure to have high end photography, videos and virtual tours. These are all things you should have during normal times, and they become even more important during COVID-19. High-end buyers shop virtually before calling an agent and exploring a particular home.

To learn more about our luxury resources and The RE/MAX Collection brand, check out our RE/MAX INTEGRA Luxury tile on MAX/Center or reach out to RE/MAX INTEGRA Marketing Manager Kristi Bergmann.