AT first glance, the modest 1,400-square-foot rancher on West Vancouver's Southborough Drive doesn't look like anything special.
Built in 1954, it's filled with hallmarks of the era like rustic flagstones, neat white shutters and a generous bay window.
But, proving the real estate agent's maxim that it's all about location, the little house in the lower British Properties sold this July for $2.8 million - more than $1 million above the original asking price of $1.888 million.
"Her mouth just dropped open," said North Vancouver real estate agent Shelley Williams, describing the reaction of the owner, a senior who plans to move to a retirement community.
Williams wasn't expecting the windfall, since sales in the upscale West Vancouver neighbourhood have been sluggish this spring.
"When I went to list the property, there were 91 properties for sale just in the British Properties alone, and there were 25 properties that were under $2 million that you could move into with your family today," said Williams. "Hardwood floors, renovated kitchen, all on big lots."
Next to those houses, the rancher was a teardown: "I'm thinking: 'Okay, I'm just selling the dirt,'" said Shelley.
Many for-sale properties in the area had been sitting on the market, some for up to 220 days.
With all those factors in mind, Williams met with the homeowner and her nephew and came up with an asking price of $1,888,000.
"Literally as soon as it hit the MLS, the phone started to ring," said Williams. "I listed it on the Tuesday, and on the Saturday it sold for $2,810,000, with seven offers."
In July, the price of a typical single family home in West Vancouver was $1.9 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. House prices in West Vancouver have dropped 1.6 per cent over the past three months.
Real estate sales have been sluggish across the Lower Mainland this summer, and tony West Vancouver has not been immune to the slow down. According to the real estate board, 131 homes were listed and 46 were sold in West Vancouver last month, down from 161 homes listed and 86 sold during the same period last year.
Williams speculated that the size of the lot - 0.63 of an acre - contributed to the property's popularity.
To get a coveted British Properties view, the new homeowners will have to build up, as mature trees block sightlines from the onestorey house. The owners will be able to build a house up to 12,000 square feet on three levels (a basement and two storeys).
Williams noted she doesn't just specialize in a geographic area, as some agents do, but in a demographic: She works mostly with seniors.
"Seniors are a very special demographic," said Williams. "They're our parents and grandparents, and they need to be treated a little differently."
Many seniors on the North Shore are "equity rich but not necessarily cash rich," said Williams, and in areas like West Vancouver, they can end up sitting on houses worth a small fortune.