Whitby Couple Takes Their Kingston-area ‘Castle’ to Auction

After years of trying to sell their Kingston-area castle - yes it really is listed as a small stone castle - a Whitby couple have decided to roll the dice and put their gated, 66-acre property up for auction.

Many properties are sold at auction subject to a reasonable reserve. The buyers don’t know what that reserve is, so the seller maintains some control of the process.

But the terms of Dieter and Jacqueline Finkeldey’s sale are clear cut, says their broker, Manson Slik. They are contractually obligated to take the best bid above $300,000 when offers close at 11a.m. on Wednesday.

“If it’s $600,000, great. If it’s $400,000 so be it. It’s done, it’s finished, it’s over and they move on with the rest of their lives,” he said.

Jacqueline Finkeldey is hoping for more. She would like get at least the $800,000-plus assessed value.

The kitchen features a granite island and wood-burning stove.  The property has 2,000 feet of frontage on the Rideau RIver.

The kitchen features a granite island and wood-burning stove. The property has 2,000 feet of frontage on the Rideau RIver.

The couple, now in their 70s, have listed their triple-turret, waterfront property several times since 2013 at prices ranging from $800,000 to over $1 million. They had two offers and almost sold once but the deal fell through. Then there was a flood from the dishwasher that led to the installation of a new kitchen and basement renovations, taking it off the market last year.

The personalized style of the home, its distance from its 2,000-ft. Rideau River waterfront and the particular “class of asset” have failed to move buyers, says Slik of Gordon’s Estate Service in Kingston, which lists about two dozen similar properties a year.

“It’s an incredibly built house,” he said. It features its own elevator, wood burning fireplaces, solid wood finishes and interior stone. It has a creek, trails, cedar forest and a small waterfront cabin.

 The home has an elevator and the living room features a stone fireplace.

The home has an elevator and the living room features a stone fireplace.

But it doesn’t have “that clear open concept feel.

“There’s big rooms but there’s several rooms and you’re a ways away from the water,” said Slik.

“There’s not a lot of people looking for a house that looks and feels like a castle,” he said.

Rural properties can be a tough sell. Buyers can take two to four years searching because typically it’s a recreational purchase without the same urgency as a primary residence.

“If you look at the listing-to-sell ratio in that category in different parts of Ontario (on properties) over $500,000, it can be as low as 25 per cent,” said Slik.

“So you’ve got a 25 per cent shot of selling your property when you’re in that category.”

It’s also a class of real estate vulnerable to being over-priced.

The Finkeldeys bought the place unfinished for $375,000 in 2003 as a retirement project. They more than doubled their investment with landscaping and the three-car garage and guest apartment.

The Finkeldeys bought the place unfinished for $375,000 in 2003 as a retirement project. They more than doubled their investment with landscaping and the three-car garage and guest apartment.

“For the people selling, it’s a place they’ve spent with the friends, family and grandkids, the snowmobiling in the winter, water skiing in the summer. For them, this is worth $1 million. They don’t look at it as bricks and mortar,” he said.

The Finkeldeys bought the place unfinished for $375,000 in 2003 as a retirement project. They spent a year finishing it, more than doubling their investment with landscaping and the three-car garage and guest apartment.

It’s been the site of Jacqueline’s parents’ 65th wedding anniversary and the family’s annual autumn reunion, affectionately dubbed, Finkelfest.

“We used to call it paradise because it was so secluded. It was just country living, well not really country because it’s just about 15-minutes drive to Kingston,” said Jacqueline.

At first they used it as a cottage and then it became their full-time home. But when Jacqueline’s parents became ill and their children and grandchildren became busy with their own lives, the couple bought a house in Whitby and made the decision to sell the castle.

Their children have suggested turning it into a B&B, but, “We want to travel. We want to go,” said Jacqueline.

“We’re hoping we would get close to at least what we put into it.”

Originally posted by: Tess Kalinowski, Toronto Star

 
 
Sean Mayers

Sean Mayers

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CENTURY 21 Regal Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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