Selling celebrities – and their homes

by Jamie Henry27 Nov 2014
Selling a listing based on the merit of a previous owner is commonplace in real estate, though usually reserved for higher end neighbourhoods – but that’s not the case with a small Toronto apartment.
A three-bedroom apartment atop a run-down beauty salon is being promoted as the last home of an ailing Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia. Friends of the Grand Duchess took her into their apartment in 1960 when she fell ill. She previously lived in rural Ontario after fleeing Europe to escape Soviet troops.
The apartment itself is nothing special, save for its past tenant. But will that bit of history be enough to sell a run-of-the-mill apartment?
“It would depend who owned it,” says Dustin Graham, a Toronto-based agent who is not listing the property. “[If the owner is] an A-listed celebrity or someone the local market looked up to, then yeah it could have a positive impact on price. There’s a novelty to it.”
Celebrity-owned properties always receive more advertising than those homes owned by us regular folk, but Graham warns against blatantly promoting a famous tenant.
“I wouldn’t do it without the permission of the past owner,” he says. “There are a lot of rules around advertising what a house sold for. I would assume that the privacy act would have an issue with something like that, unless you were able to receive permission from that previous owner.”

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