Bidder Homes and Gardens
Perseverance and some savvy about auctions helped this family land its dream home at a bargain price.
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Nona Cunane Van Deusen has an affinity for great design, top quality and a real deal.
She is the founder and CEO of Stylebug, which offers designer fashions at deep discounts, first online and now also at a storefront in Wilmington.
So when she and her husband Herb went looking for a new house, they took a similar approach, searching for the best value in a luxury home. In today’s real estate market, that often translates to finding a high-end property offered as a short sale.
“It’s a lengthy process and a lot of work,” Van Deusen says. “But we were willing to roll up our sleeves, wade in, and do all the research it takes to find the ideal property.”
The couple thought they had found the perfect fit for themselves and their three young daughters in a 7,000-square-foot farmhouse-style home on two acres in an exclusive development in Landenberg. Previously sold for more than $1 million, the property was in foreclosure and had been empty for three years.
A former owner had removed lighting fixtures, some of the carpet needed to be replaced, and water had made its way into part of the basement.
But there was much to recommend the house, which is set in a wooded enclave where trees provide a natural buffer from neighbors. The home retained its top-of-the-line kitchen, with granite countertops, spacious cherry cabinets and professional-style appliances. The Van Deusens appreciated the craftsmanship of the stone exterior as well as interior architectural details, including arched doorways and columns.
“We brought in people to look at things that should be repaired,” she recalls. “We visited the property at least 10 times before we made an offer.”
The bank at first turned down the couple’s bid. But their chance to buy the house wasn’t gone yet because the lender opted to sell the house at auction. So Nona and Herb decided to give it one last try.
It was a natural decision for Van Deusen, who grew up watching her dad buy and sell heavy equipment at auction. She also has bid on art and antiques with her mother many times over the years, winning such unique finds as the hand-painted portfolio of an artist who designed wallpaper for more than 20 years, starting in the 1930s.
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