The Little Schoolhouse Graduates to B&B

September 1, 1996

Listing salesperson: Shelly Brunette
Company: The Prudential Properties North, Suttons Bay, Mich.
Time on the market: Seven and a half months
Listing price: $250,000
Selling price: $240,000

Property: The unusual thing about unusual properties is the transformations many of them go through. This Suttons Bay property, built in 1906 of fieldstone from the surrounding county, and located about 15 miles north of Traverse City, was used as an elementary and a high school until 1961. In the late '60s and early '70s, it found a new life as a bunkhouse for migrant workers.

A buyer then converted it into a home in 1990, complete with a diner kitchen. Second-floor classrooms became bedrooms, and offices became walk-in closets. In April 1996, Brunette sold it to a buyer who'll transform it yet again---this time into a bed-and-breakfast befitting a resort community.

Selling strategy: Brunette advertised the property in Traverse magazine, a publication about northern Michigan with a national circulation, targeting artists and bed-and-breakfast owners. "I also offered a $20,000 bonus to the selling salesperson who could bring a buyer to closing by a certain date. We didn't make that date, but it did sell."

Even with a buyer, it wasn't a done deal, though. "We couldn't find a lender to finance the property, because it was unique and there were no comps," Brunette explains. "We went through 17 lenders before one would hold the mortgage in-house at an adjustable rate."

Christina Hoffmann

Christina Hoffmann is a former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine and now content manager for the National Association of REALTORS®’ site. HouseLogic is free source of information that helps consumers make smart, confident decisions about all aspects of home ownership. Made possible by REALTORS®, the site helps owners get the most value and enjoyment from their existing home and helps buyers and sellers make the best deal possible. HouseLogic’s consumer content is available to NAR members via the REALTORS® Content Resource.

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