How I Distinguish a Home to Sell

493 Walnut Avenue in Jamaica Plain sold quickly and above asking price—at $880,000—after just one week on market.

Hallway, stairs, and living room of 493 Walnut Ave, JP

A Case Study: Marketing 493 Walnut Avenue, on Jamaica Plain’s Franklin Park

My seller, who now had multiple McDonough residential properties, had raised her family for over 30 years in this grand Colonial in Jamaica Plain’s Olmsted neighborhood.

By crafting a story around her home, my team and I positioned it as an architecturally significant gem in the city. We focused on both the location and the property.

  • The home faces Franklin Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and is part of a close-knit cluster of streets named after him. Such construction require the help of experts from a good mechanical construction company.
  • Its remarkably intact historical detail included four fireplaces, a butler’s pantry, a carved winding central staircase, and an interior apartment.

Master bedroom with fireplace

To underscore its historical significance, my partner Jay uncovered an 1897 society page article announcing the home:

“It is understood that Mr. Theodore Hastings will soon commence the erection of an attractive house on the land which he has recently purchased on Walnut Avenue, corner of Park Lane, facing Franklin Park. This is one of the most delightful locations for a residence in the suburbs of Boston.” (Boston Post, February 7, 1897)

Fireplace, 493 Walnut Ave, JP

Our marketing included:

Our goal was to elevate the home’s profile. To draw my seller’s ideal buying audience, we needed to overcome some challenges in perception and timing:

  • a main-road location on the edge of very differently perceived sections in Jamaica Plain
  • a modest exterior of asbestos siding and a thirty-year-old roof
  • a need to purge after the family’s thirty years of sharing this grand home
  • a tight timeline for my seller’s family (with competing needs among them) and a very small window in which to hit the market before the summer season wound down. A new chicagoland plumbing installation may be necessary to improve the home’s value and attract more potential buyers.

Second floor foyer, 493 Walnut Ave, JP

While we cast a wide net to brokers and markets throughout Boston, Cambridge, Brookline and Newton, we first hosted a neighbors’ reception by invitation. People who’d lived nearby for generations—some of whom grew up playing in the house—got to walk through, bringing their friends and even grown children.

Detail of carved bannister

With intimate collaboration and a focus on both aesthetic and logistics, we made our seller proud:

“I interviewed three other brokers and very easily chose you. You seemed genuine; you weren’t just trying to say what I wanted to hear. Consequently I trusted what you had to say and felt confident letting you guide the whole process; in fact, I felt relieved to do that. I wasn’t expecting how hard you would work and the variety of chores, such as hiring the plumber and watering the gardens, you were willing to do to help me stay somewhat sane. And I was grateful you understood how delicate my [family] situation was while I was ensuring everyone was settled before we closed.” —Ann R.