“I wouldn’t say that that type of sale is common but it’s definitely not unheard of,” Jimmy Molloy, an agent with Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, told REP. “Sometimes you have a situation where the buyer says I would love to own that property but I have no need for that property at present and the seller says, you know what, why don’t I just rent it back from you?”
The infamous Canadian former media mogul listed his property earlier this month for a cool $21.8 million. He confirmed the sale Tuesday.
“It's a sale and lease-back with a possible buy-back, all on a reasonable basis,” he wrote to the Toronto Star in an email. “I expect we shall remain in the house for some years at least, and perhaps permanently.”
Black had originally said the purpose behind the sale was to downsize. However, that doesn’t seem to be the plan now. At least not yet.
“If a buyer wants to close a deal in two months but I really don’t want to leave the property for a year and the buyer doesn’t want to move in for a year, it allows for someone to look after the property, keep it wonderful condition, they can go from there,” Molloy said.
An auction for the property was held, which Molloy attended, but never went through as a buyer had already secured the purchase.
“It was such a signature property with such extraordinary owners that people would say they would love to own that house. That house hasn’t been on the market for 65 years,” Molloy said. “If, as a buyer, you would love to have that property but don’t need to move in for a number of years, that might be a very interesting option you could approach the seller with.
“Because if you don’t buy it now, when are you going to buy it again? It might not come back for sale in your lifetime.”
Conrad Black recently sold his house only to lease it right back. It’s an interesting method, and one that is fairly uncommon in the industry.