Estate sales are finding new life with millennial buyers

Young people are turning out to buy a piece of history once owned by celebrities

TRD New York /
Feb.February 01, 2018 02:50 PM

Greta Garbo, the Campanile, Joan Rivers and 1 East 62nd Street

Estate sales are finding a new popularity with millennials drawn in by the life stories of the rich and famous.

And while the contents of their homes often prove to be the most lucrative assets, the real estate of the deceased can command top dollar at an estate sale, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Case in point: the longtime Upper East Side home of actress Greta Garbo, which sold last month for $8.5 million – a 43 percent premium over its asking price.

“The Garbo effect is the reason someone paid up,” said Brian Lewis, one of the listing agents on the property.

The children of influential late politician Jacob Javits have been going through their parents’ East 57th Street apartment following their mother’s death last year. They gave a bust of their father’s head to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is named after him.

The apartment already sold for $4.35 million to an unidentified buyer, according to listing agent Pamela D’Arc of Stribling & Associates.

Sometimes sellers will hold back details of a particular items for the sake of privacy, but other times they want to use those personal details as a selling point.

“I remember [Joan Rivers’ daughter] telling me, ‘I know that you are noted for your discretion, but that is not what I want. I want a splash,’” said Corcoran Group’s Leighton Candler, who sold the late comedienne’s penthouse for $28 million in 2015.

The Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which runs social media accounts to attract millennials, evaluated the Los Angeles estate of Zsa Zsa Gabor in January. Her Bel Air home was sold off separately in 2013 for less than its $14.9 million asking price, though the seller gets to stay in the home until 2019 as part of the deal.

The new owner will likely tear down the home because the land is more valuable than the real estate. [WSJ]Rich Bockmann

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