When A 96-Year-Old Woman Sold Her Home, Real Estate Agents Were Stunned By What They Found Inside

Real estate agents see things every day that would surprise the rest of us. After all, you never know what to expect when you’re entering strangers’ homes all day long. That unknown quality can make the job more interesting to some real estate agents!

But a pair of agents, sisters named Gladys and Carla Spizzirri, got the shock of a lifetime when they showed up at one property. They’d heard rumors about it, and now the time had come to see if they were true.

An Ordinary-Looking Home In Ontario

The property located at 148 Jane Street in Toronto, Ontario, was completely normal looking from the outside. In fact, the entire street that the house was on was pretty unremarkable. Most of the houses looked like each other, and nothing jumped out as especially odd or unusual.

Neighbors said that not many people had been inside to see the residence at 148 Jane Street. The same family had lived there for as long as anyone could remember. No one thought much of the place until a day came when these real estate agents received an unusual call about the house.

A Team Of Real Estate Agents

Two enterprising sisters had a real estate agency together. Although they hadn’t always worked together, they eventually decided to join forces and become a team, since they got along well professionally, too. They divided their work evenly, with one actively finding new clients and listings while the other was handling closings with existing clients.

On this particular day, the sisters were handling business as usual, tag-teaming their daily tasks. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary about their work that day.

One Phone Call Changes Everything

As veterans in the real estate industry, Gladys and Carla Spizzirri knew the business like the backs of their hands. They thought they had seen it all. And on this particular day, no different than any other day at work, they weren’t expecting anything to surprise them.

But that was all about to change as the office phone suddenly rang. Who was on the other end of the line, and what would they say? We’re about to find out.

The Stranger On The Other Line

Now, it’s pretty normal for a phone to ring in a place of business. Especially in a real estate office! But this particular call was very different than any other call that Gladys and Carla had ever received.

The caller’s name was Joyce, and she said that she was considering putting her house on the market. Joyce’s voice sounded hesitant, maybe even unwilling, but the words she spoke insisted that she would like to sell her home.

Little did the sisters she’d later drop a bombshell on them.

What Was She Hiding?

Now usually, people are excited when they contact a real estate agent. A move is likely a good thing and people are optimistic about entering a new period of life. But Gladys and Carla didn’t detect anything close to excitement as they spoke to Joyce.

In fact, they got the impression that the woman on the phone might even be keeping something from them. Some people try to hide problems with the house they’re selling, in order to get a better price. The sisters were curious what Joyce might be hiding from them.

A Big Secret

Usually, when a homeowner tries to hide something about the house they’re selling it’s along the lines of a mold problem or a leaky basement. It’s really not unusual for someone to try and keep little problems like these a secret from real estate agents.

This was no ordinary real estate transaction, though. The secret that Joyce was keeping from Carla and Gladys was actually much bigger than normal. And it was one that the agents had never experienced in their years in real estate.

There’s A First Time For Everything

Some of the things that Gladys and Carla Spizzirri had seen and experienced in their work as real estate agents would send other people running in the opposite direction. But they were seasoned veterans and were prepared for anything that a client threw their way.

Or so they thought… Once they finally got to see Joyce’s home they’d end up being surprised beyond belief. But first, they had to arrange the property viewing.

What Would They Find At Joyce’s House?

In their three decades of working in Toronto, Gladys and Carla Spizzirri had learned the city inside and out. They were experts who had been inside hundreds, if not thousands, of Toronto-area houses and knew what to expect in each of the city’s neighborhoods.

Some homes were easier to sell than others, and the sisters had a feeling Joyce’s might be a difficult one, based on the hesitation she had expressed over the phone. The next step was to perform an inspection to determine exactly what they were being faced with.

Would Joyce Back Out Of The Sale?

Carla and Gladys spoke with Joyce on the phone for quite a while, as she wanted to make sure she understood everything the real estate agents were telling her. During their conversation, they learned that the woman was 96 years old!

This surprised both sisters, as Joyce seemed very clear-headed and didn’t seem to have any difficulty hearing them on the phone (as many elderly people do.) They were about to continue to learn surprises about both Joyce and the home she had decided to sell.

Expect The Worst, But Hope For The Best

A good approach to just about anything in life is to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. As long-time real estate agents, Gladys and Carla Spizzirri were used to adopting this attitude when viewing a home for the first time.

Joyce had told the sisters that she’d lived in her modest home for the past 70 years and that she hadn’t updated it much during those long decades. There had been one kitchen remodeling years back but that was it.

The Door Would Soon Be Opened…

What would Gladys and Carla find when they finally opened the front door of the house on Jane Street? They grew increasingly worried as the date of their inspection neared.

The fact that 96-year-old Gladys had lived alone for so long didn’t help, as she probably wouldn’t have been able to maintain the property very well. The Spizzirris prepared themselves for the worst-case scenario, one where the house was in such bad shape it couldn’t possibly be sold.

Accentuate The Positive

Joyce’s house had one thing going for it even if the interior was in terrible shape: it was located in a nice neighborhood that was highly sought-after. Prices in the area had been rising over the past few years.

Carla and Gladys had already run the numbers on comparable houses in Joyce’s neighborhood. If her home was in decent condition, it would fetch a fortune when it was sold. However, they really needed to get over to 148 Jane Street and see what exactly they had gotten themselves into.

Location, Location, Location!

As they say in real estate, location is everything. This was something Gladys and Carla knew well, having worked in the industry for so many years, They’d had great luck selling other homes in Joyce’s neighborhood at high listings. How much would Joyce’s house sell for?

The numbers they had already crunched indicated that Joyce’s home could be worth an astonishing $968,000. But there were so many unknowns still involved. If the home was in terrible shape, which was likely, the price would be much, much lower. And then again, Joyce might decide not to sell her house after all.

Will She Sell Or Not?

There was so much uncertainty in Joyce’s voice during her phone call with Gladys and Carla that they were worried she might just change her mind about selling the house. She insisted that she was ready to part ways with the house despite how difficult that would be.

Leaving a house with so many precious memories is never easy, especially when you’ve lived in the same home for seven decades, as Joyce had.

The sisters were finally at the house…

No One Could Have Prepared Them For This

The day had finally arrived and the Spizzirris traveled to 148 Jane Street in order to finally see what mystery Joyce’s house held. Nothing could have prepared them for this astonishing sight as they opened the front door and peered inside.

In fact, this scene would be a completely unexpected surprise to anyone who saw it, especially since the outside of the house was so nondescript.

A Time Capsule Disguised As A Home

So far, the only information Gladys and Carla had been able to get about the home was an address and a photo of the front. Nothing about it seemed remarkable except for the potentially huge sum they could sell the house for if it was in decent shape.

They never could have expected to be faced with such an unusual sight once they finally had the chance to see the interior of the house in person.

Audible Oohs And Aaahs

Gladys and Carla had expected one of two things about Joyce’s house. The first option, and the one that seemed the most likely, was that the house would be in terrible condition. Perhaps it might even be full of junk as in a hoarding situation.

The second possibility was that the house would be completely ordinary, just as it appeared from the outside. But the sisters had been completely wrong. The house was in great shape, and it was anything but ordinary.

An Absolute Gem Of A Home

Needless to say, Gladys and Carla were over the moon with excitement after finally viewing Joyce’s home. It was bound to sell for a lot more money than they ever could have expected.

Joyce was an impeccable housekeeper and her home was practically a time capsule from the 1940s. This was the decade when Joyce had first moved into the house and began decorating and furnishing it. Everything looked absolutely pristine and unchanged.

Deeper And Deeper

As Carla and Gladys giddily explored the house at 148 Jane Street, they realized something: that each room was even more impressive than the one they had just left. In fact, it was the most well-preserved home either of them had ever been witness to.

The house was practically a museum of Joyce’s life, and now the sisters understood why she had been reluctant to part with it.

There was still a major potential downfall to selling the home, though.

Will Buyers Appreciate The Home?

There was one potentially huge drawback to Joyce’s immaculately preserved home. She had decorated the house in a very feminine style, with plenty of pink and purple color splashes as well as silky and lacy fabrics. The house was definitely not a style that would appeal to the majority of men.

What were the real estate agents to do? It would cost a fortune to redecorate the entire home and cut deeply into the sales profit.

But one room could just save the entire house.

The House’s Saving Grace

After seeing room after room of pinks and purples, Gladys and Carla were about to be stunned again as they entered the basement. Lo and behold, Joyce’s stunning home had a man-cave down in the basement.

This space was probably her husband’s escape from the frilliness of the rest of the home. It featured wood paneling, a wet bar, and neutral furniture. Surely Joyce’s husband must have enjoyed hours spend down in this spectacular (and masculine) area.

What was the home’s backyard like?

The Backyard Was A Disappointment

You might expect this house to have a spectacular backyard, maybe a “secret garden” of sorts. Not so. Just like the rest of the home’s exterior, the backyard was completely ordinary, even plain. It had AstroTurf instead of real grass and one small storage shed.

This disappointing yard wasn’t a deal-breaker though! Now Gladys and Carla just needed a professional home inspector come and check for any flaws in the home.

The inspector’s discovery stunned everyone

Inspection Day Looms

Any real estate professional can tell you that even the best-looking houses can have a whole lot of problems lurking under the surfaces. From minor problems to big ones like flood damage or unhealthy mold, almost any home has a flaw or two.

Carla and Gladys were fully confident that Joyce’s house was in great condition. But even so, they knew they had to wait for the inspector’s official findings. You just never know.

What Lurks Beneath

After a nail-biting wait, the home inspectors finally arrived at 148 Jane Street and got to work. The teams thoroughly checked out every inch of Joyce’s home, looking for any hidden surprises that could derail the house’s sale.

There was no need to worry. The house was in near-perfect condition, with the inspectors saying that it was in about the same state as it had been when Joyce had first moved in 70 years earlier. It was time to list the house and find a buyer for it!

On The Market

As you can imagine, Gladys and Carla were eager to get this gem of a home on the market as soon as possible. In fact, they listed it the very same day as the inspection. Their asking price: a jaw-dropping $699,000!

A bidding war quickly started. Everyone who saw the house was astonished by its interior and wanted it for themselves.

Turns out, even people who weren’t looking for a home were interested in Joyce’s house.

The Listing At 148 Jane Street Went Viral

As word spread about the condition of Joyce’s home, the story began to attract some major attention. It was picked up by news outlets and became a huge story, eventually going viral. People were absolutely obsessed with the house.

In fact, a lot of people who saw the home felt that it should be preserved as a 1940s museum rather than somewhere to live. But then Joyce revealed that she had, in fact, made a change to the home while she lived in it.

What Had Joyce Done To The House?

Many of the home’s new fans were flabbergasted that it had been kept intact since the 1940s. Some of them were disappointed when Joyce revealed that she had actually had the kitchen renovated in the 1960s.

The reason for the update was that she’d wanted to upgrade her appliances to the more modern ones that had become available, which is perfectly reasonable. And the current kitchen was still exactly the same as it had been in the ’60s.

Next up: why was Joyce leaving her pristine house?

What’s Next For Joyce?

Joyce had always enjoyed interior design and had furnished her home at 148 Jane Street exactly the way she wanted it. So why was she willing to leave it after 70 happy years in the house?

Well, Joyce was finally ready to retire. She was going to move into a retirement community and enjoy her golden years in comfort and relaxation. Even so, it must have been difficult to leave her home behind.

What Does The Future Hold?

When Joyce and her husband moved into the home in 1942, it was a very different time. Things have changed a lot in the ensuing 70 years. So one question that everyone has about Joyce’s house is whether the new owners will keep it as the time capsule it was, or whether they’ll want to renovate and modernize the place.

The new owners, of course, will have the right to do whatever they’d like with their property. Those of us who appreciate history certainly hope that they’ll make an effort to keep things the same, but only time will tell.

This Could Be A Dealbreaker

Well, this could be a dealbreaker to potential buyers of Joyce’s house! It turns out that the remarkable vintage furniture filling the home isn’t included in the sale. This might be disappointing to people who are attracted to the unique interior.

Joyce’s daughter wanted to keep the furniture, which is perfectly reasonable. She probably has lots of fond memories attached to the furnishings (and to the house itself.)

Joyce Slept Here For 70 Years

It’s hard for some of us to imagine living in the same place for so long, but Joyce has been in the home at 148 Jane Street since she was just 24 years old. Although you can’t tell from the home’s brick exterior, the inside is a museum of Joyce’s life — and of her impeccable sense of style!

This is the master bedroom, where Joyce said she spent lots of time. Everything looks just as fresh and well-kept as when it was brand new.

A Bathroom Fit For A Queen

People are fascinated by Joyce’s design style. As she told the Daily Mail, she has strong ideas about color. “I like soft colors, and I like things to match and flow well together. I prefer tone-to-tone to bright colors,” she said.

This approach to color can be seen in the smallest details, even in the bathroom. The bath mat, toilet seat cover, and towels all complement each other. And there are matching gold accents throughout the room.

It’s All In The Details

Now for the details. Joyce’s unique home has a total of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are cozy fireplaces throughout the house, a perfect escape from those brutal Canadian winters.

The interior design style is most strongly from the 1940s, but also has elements from later decades. Each room has its own unique color scheme, but they all work nicely together too.

Convenient Features Throughout The House

Despite the fact that it’s more than 70 years old, Joyce’s house has all the modern conveniences. This dedicated laundry room is fully-equipped with everything you need to keep your wardrobe clean.

These cabinets look as shiny and new as if they were just hung last year. Even the laundry room of 148 Jane Street is a testament to the love and care that Joyce and her husband put into their home.

Joyce’s impeccable home isn’t the only one that serves as a passage into history. Keep reading to see other homes around the world that have been untouched for decades!

A Mansion Untouched For Over 20 Years

Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

This is the Pineheath house, a mansion in Yorkshire, England. You would think that anyone who owns a mansion wouldn’t leave a single thing behind, but such is exactly the case for this 40-room estate.

The Pineheath house once belonged to an Indian-born aristocratic couple, Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji. The home was left virtually untouched after Lady Bonmanji’s passing in 1986, nearly 50 years after her husband. When a local businessman purchased it with plans to restore it, he didn’t know he’d be stepping into the past.

The Style Hasn’t Changed With The Times

Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji ostensibly bought the home in the early 20th century, as many of the home’s furnishings are in a style representative of the 1920’s. This antique-style bathroom is one example. As you can see, its tub and the fixtures around the sink aren’t styles you’d see in a modern bathroom.

Strangely though, the home was found in impeccable condition, despite the fact that no one has lived there since the ’70s or ’80s.

They Kept Up With Outdated Technology

Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

The home may have had a 1920’s style to it, but many of the family’s belongings were from another era. They clearly kept up with technology in the ’80s. Old tape players and outdated television sets were found throughout the home.

After Lady Bomanji’s death in 1986, the home went to her daughter who died in 2012. It seems that her daughter didn’t do much with the home since it came into her possession.

This isn’t the only home in Europe that proved itself to be a treasure trove. In Paris, they found a million-dollar treasure!

A Parisian Apartment Was Abandoned In The Early 20th Century

A flat in Paris was left untouched since early 20th century. Its previous owner fled to the south of France during World War II and never returned. Upon her death at age 91, experts were sent back to the home to take inventory of what she left behind.

Much of its furnishings look as if they were from the 1800’s. They were certainly outdated as well, including a stone sink and a wooden stove.

The Owners Had Interesting Taste

It seems that the previous owner clearly had expensive taste, but she had some simple interests as well. In addition to a stuffed ostrich, experts also found a dated Mickey Mouse plush toy. De Florian also had a number of luxurious jewels, gowns, and porcelain.

However, the apartment was entirely furnished by the owner’s grandmother, Marthe de Florian, who died in 1939. De Florian’s granddaughter continued to pay the rent until her death, despite the fact that she didn’t live there.

They Found An Unknown Painting From A Great Artist

Perhaps the most glorious find of the apartment was an original painting by 19th-century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. The expert who excavated the home couldn’t find any record of the Boldini painting in official archives, but a love note from Boldini himself proved they’d found a jackpot.

They believed that Madame de Florian must have been one of his muses. The painting sold for around $3 million, which was a world record at the time for the artist.