Real estate is a numbers game. It’s about appraisals, days on the market, interest rates and finance. But for Janet and David Colless one number was more important than the rest: thirty. That was the number of years they had spent in their home.

It wasn’t an easy decision for Janet and David Colless to sell their home. That’d mean leaving behind 30 years of memories in a house where they had raised three daughters who had gradually moved out. As empty nesters, the Colless’ decided it was time to downsize. Besides, the pool David kept in pristine condition had not been swum in for two years.

“We’d built our home when our parents were all alive so there were all those memories of that in there too.” says Janet.

The couple worked hard to redo the house for sale.

“We wanted it perfect. We wanted it better than when we’d first built it,” admitted Janet.

A knock at the door

The story of the Colless sale starts with a knock at the door. A two-minute conversation on the doorstep with Tim Bartlett left an impression.

“I remember coming inside and sticking his card on the side of the fridge and I said to David, if ever we sell our house, this is going to be the guy,” says Janet.

A little later, mid-renovations and hesitant to enter the market, Janet and David ran into Tim again.

“He offered an appraisal and we both said yes on the spot,” says David.

And not a moment too soon. Tim viewed the house and listened to their plans to continue to repaint, repair and resurface. “He told us, “You need to stop,” laughed Janet.

“Tim told us to stop all the unnecessary work. He added some sensibility to our whole process. We were quite emotionally tied up in it and we wanted it to look amazing,” admits David.

The Colless’ were eager to sell and nervous. The market was coming out of a slump which had seen Sydney prices fall 15% from their peak, there were no comparable properties on the market to guage a price and sales were slow.

“Tim didn’t just say ‘put it on the market,’ we were trying to figure out a price. He was very professional in delivering the figure. He knew all the things to check and all the things to do. He did a lot of work, figuring out what the market was worth at the time,” says David.

“Tim asked us to get a building inspection before we went to the open day and in hindsight that was a really good move because that made negotiating so much better,” adds Janet.

But at the time, having their beloved home picked apart by a building inspector was confronting for the Colless’ – especially when it showed up some defects.

“We were devastated by it. But fortunately, Tim understood what these things were all about and was able to come and reassure us that if you’ve got a house that’s 30 years old, if you haven’t got some of these defects noted, then your inspector’s not doing his job. And as it was, it turned out that none of the people who were purchasing it or were even considering it, were surprised by it.”

“He really doesn’t hold anything back, he shows you warts and all. And he offers a solution if you haven’t got one.” says Janet.

The house went on the market on a Friday in September and they had an offer that afternoon, 48 groups attended the inspection on Saturday. Two offers made it to the final round, both above the asking price.

“We sold our house within 5 days of going on the market. For way over what we wanted so we were so happy,” says Janet.

Despite the pangs of leaving their old home behind, the Colless’ are excited about building their fresh start in the Calderwood estate.

“We’ve got bricks now and we’ve almost got a roof on it, we are so excited,” says Janet

David adds with a satisfied smile, “And there’s no swimming pool.”