After 72 years in the same house, a 96-year-old woman is ready to reveal a piece of history

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Gladys and Carla Spizzirri are a sister-realtor team based out of Toronto. For years, the sisterly realtors had established themselves as top-tier agents. Why? They were always able to help their clients find the sweet price point to make a sale and a profit. However, in 2014, the Spizzirri sisters were taken aback. After being invited to sell a home in an affluent side of Toronto, the Spizzirri sisters made an incredible discovery. The owner of the home, a 96-year-old woman, had done something incredible. Keep on reading to find out what lurked behind the front doors of 148 Jane Street!

1. It All Started With A Home


Working in the field of real estate can be as exciting as it is rewarding. Carla and Gladys Spizzirri were two relatively new realtors to the scene in 2014 when they were invited to sell a special home. Toronto’s housing market is almost always flourishing and homes in prominent neighborhoods could end up being absolute gold mines.

2. Finding The Right Realtor

The Spizzirri sisters had been working in real estate together since 2009. Over the years that they had worked together, they had become something of a well-oiled home-selling machine. Gladys had a decade of experience on her own before she had been joined by Carla. To say that the two were prepared would have been an understatement, but even they were shocked by what they found!

3. The Initial Phone Call

It was a day like any other when the phone rang at the Spizzirri sister’s office. Now, we should make it clear, the sisters at this point each had their own defined talents but they were a team. When Carla picked up the phone, she was greeted by an elderly voice. A 96-year-old woman was ready to sell her old home, but she needed help.

4.  Hard to Believe

As Carla listened to the phone call, she became increasingly astounded. The caller was a woman named Joyce. Joyce was 96-years-old and ready to move to somewhere easier for her to live. Her West Toronto home needed to be sold sooner than later. The address was 148 Jane Street and would Gladys and Carla be willing to help?

5. On The Job

It should be underscored at this point that a home in West Toronto could be an absolute gold mine. Carla and Gladys were more than happy to take on the job. Unfortunately, they weren’t exactly sure what the property would look like. After all, what could have gone on inside of the home over the years?

6. Honest Hesitations

From their short phone call, Carla and Gladys came to the understanding that Joyce had owned the home for over 70 years. What did this mean? It meant that anything could have gone on behind those doors. After all, how often would a 96-year-old homeowner be looking to renovate or upgrade their house?

7. Making Calculations

Despite their own inner hesitations, it was impossible to ignore the upside of the home. Due to the location of the property, Gladys and Carla were positive that they could make a killing on the sale. Understanding the market and being able to properly value homes is a skill that most realtors will come to cherish.

8. Positively Trending Area

Over the 70+ years that Joyce had owned her home in West Toronto, the neighborhood had changed. What was once considered something of a working-class area had morphed into a trendy, chic side of Toronto. Neighborhood trends can dramatically change the value of a home!

9. 148 Jane Street

Gladys and Carla were excited about the location, so they began to do neighborhood ‘comps’. Comps are just comparisons to similar homes in the area. At this point, however, Carla and Gladys were working with incomplete information. Unfortunately, Joyce didn’t have any interior photos of the property so the sister-realtors had been left in the dark. They didn’t know WHAT they were getting themselves into!

10. Time To See The Home

The Spizzirri sisters knew that they would have to see Joyce’s home in person sooner than later. Unfortunately, Joyce was going through a bout of cold feet. After all, how could anyone easily sell a home that they had lived in for over 70 years? The Spizzirri sisters chose to be patient, allowing Joyce the time that she needed.

11. What Could Be Inside

After talking to Joyce a little more, the realtors came to understand that Joyce had owned the home since 1942. What’s more, Joyce admitted that there were next to no renovations performed on the property throughout her ownership of the home. What could the realtor sisters be walking into? At this point, there were several major red flags hanging over the home.

12. Opportunity All The Same

While the Spizzirri sisters had feared a hoarding nightmare, they were assured by how solid sounding Joyce had been over the phone. Despite her advanced age, Joyce was completely focused, attentive, and intelligible. She knew what she wanted and her age had nothing to do with it. Still, a lack of updates over a 7o year period could spell trouble!

13. Untouchable Home

At this point in time, both realtors were chomping at the bit in order to see inside of the home. If Jane Street was still in decent shape, they could be in line to make some serious cash. Unfortunately, if the home had fallen into disrepair, it might not be worth their time. After all, a home that needs to be completely renovated to meet code would be problematic.

14. Getting an Estimate

While Carla and Gladys had their concerns, they chose to be optimistic. After doing comparison shopping in the area, the realtors were able to circle a potential price point to start the listing at. With all of their extensive research in hand, the Spizzirri sisters gave Joyce a call with their final number. Joyce wanted to make as much as possible and the trio ended up on a final price of $968,000.

15. Scheduling a Visit

As the realtors gave Joyce room to work through her cold feet, they knew that the clock was ticking. In order to get this house onto the market with a chance for a sale, they needed to see the property. So, putting all of their chips on the table, the Spizzirri sisters asked for a showing of the property. Joyce was still hesitant, but she knew it was the right thing to do.

16. Time to See

It was a miracle! Joyce agreed that it was time to sell the property. What’s more, Joyce also agreed that the price point they had selected was more than fair. Having only the picture above to reference meant that the Spizzirri sisters needed more information. They soon scheduled a visit to the home. Who could have guessed what they were walking into!

17. Walking up the Steps

The Spizzirri sisters arrived at the West Toronto home. They were nervous, excited, and a little scared. The property looked great from the outside, but there was only so much you could tell about a two-story home from the front porch. They nervously approached the home in order to greet Joyce and to begin their work.

18. A Moment’s Hesitation

It may have only been for a moment, but the Spizzirri sisters both suddenly felt very concerned about the property. Owned by a single person since 1942, 148 Jane Street could either be an absolute gem or a nightmare waiting to ruin their day. The thought of losing a million dollar sale was almost too much to bear!

19. Would the Building Be Trashed

As Carla and Gladys turned the doorknob, they both had flashes of what could be behind the door. Was the building filled to the brim with hoarder’s treasure? Was the property decrepit and falling apart? Had Joyce spent nearly 70 years smoking inside of the building, thus ruining the property?

20. Old Mill Neighborhood

Before we talk about what was behind the door, let’s zoom out of our story a bit. Joyce’s home was located in Toronto’s iconic Old Mill neighborhood. Over the years, this portion of Toronto had become increasingly popular and modernized. Chic cafes, boutique stores, and upscale restaurants had begun popping up throughout the area.

21. Stepping Into a Time Machine

Back in the moment, Gladys and Carla were absolutely stunned by what they saw inside of the home. Instead of walking into a decrepit old home, the realtors had stepped into a time machine! It was clear from the beginning that this property was well taken care of. They could feel concern melt from their shoulders, but they weren’t done being surprised yet!

22. Images of the 60s

The house was meticulously maintained. The living room was like a time capsule from the ’60s. Joyce had carefully decorated the property and it was evident that she cared deeply about how the home looked. From the ornate furniture to the beautiful colors, the house was beautiful.

23. Every Room Had a Theme

Joyce had not only taken care of the property, but she had also helped it to flourish. Each room in 148 Jane Street had its own theme and color scheme. The realtors were stunned by how well-maintained the entire property was. The carpet was pristine, the furnishings were authentic, and the wallpaper was in great shape.

24. Retro Art

Joyce’s home had become a love-letter to the era that she had grown up in. The house itself was close to being an artist’s pride and joy. Carla and Gladys felt like they were walking through a retro museum as they toured the property. Just look at how beautiful and ornate this dining room is!

25. House of a Lifetime

Joyce and her husband had moved into the home in the ’40s after they had gotten married. Despite the length of time that Joyce had lived at the property, the building itself was in fantastic shape. There was little in the way of glaring faults which meant that the sale would be easy to go forward with.

26. Decorative Passion

As the realtors took a closer look at the home, they began to learn more about their client. Apparently, Joyce had fallen in love with interior decorating. While Joyce hadn’t pursued the passion as a career, she definitely exhibited her skills inside of her own home.

27. A Surprising Kitchen

Gladys and Carla were holding their breath when they walked into the kitchen. One of the most expensive upgrades that a home can need is that of a kitchen. Fortunately, the realtors were beyond relieved when they stepped foot inside the kitchen. Joyce had made sure that her home was carefully maintained and updated over the years. New appliances kept the kitchen in a modern shape.

28. Hidden Treasure

While the realtors were rightfully amazed by the quality of the home, there was treasure hidden beneath the surface. All of the furniture in the house, as well as all of the furnishings, were authentic to their era. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furnishings inside the home. Joyce had been living in an authentic antique museum!

29. Mid-century Masterpiece

The Spizzirri sisters were quick to realize that Joyce had something special on her hands. The house itself was wonderful. The property was authentic to Joyce’s life. The building was in a great neighborhood. They were pretty sure that this sale would be a dream, but there were still other hurdles to clear.

30. Joyce’s Quiet Passion

As Carla and Gladys finished their inspection of the home, they learned a little bit more about Joyce. Joyce explained that she had always believed in ‘finding her own style’. Joyce went on to explain her passion for interior decorating and her career as a seamstress. It was obvious that this building was more than just a home for Joyce, it was her life.

31. Creeping Real Estate Doubt

While the property itself was authentic to Joyce, it would still be considered something of a gimmick property when listed on the market. The authentic ’60s stylings meant that Gladys and Carla would need a buyer who loved the era or was willing to renovate. Additionally, the decor in the house was definitively and overwhelmingly female. Strong design elements can be both good and bad for realtors.

32. Hidden Mancave

After moving into the house in 1942, Joyce’s husband gave Joyce permission to decorate however she wanted. Her husband’s only point of contention was thus, he wanted a private man cave that he could decorate. Joyce gave her husband the basement and she kept it decorated as it was when he had passed away.

33. Quick to go Viral

As soon as the listing went online, it went viral. Buzz was gathering throughout the area for the home, but Gladys and Carla were aware of the property’s limitations. The feminine wallpaper and retro decor would definitely limit their audience. They liked their price point of $968,000 but whatever buyer came along would have to refurbish the property for their own taste.

34. Gimmick Houses

Novelty houses have always been a ‘thing’ in the real estate market. Some houses, like the purple home above, don’t sell that well. Other novelty houses can sell quick. It’s a total crapshoot.

35. The 70s House

This house was listed in San Antonio, TX and it briefly caught viral fame for being a relic of the ’70s. The house ended up selling for $355,000. Joyce and Carla weren’t concerned about their property’s value falling that low, however. The ’50s and ’60s have always been more marketable than later eras in terms of the real estate market.

36. Changing Their Price

After taking stock of the entire property, as well as the limitations intrinsic to a novelty home, the realtors decided to drop their asking point. After extensive research, Gladys and Carla chose to list the property for $699,000. While this was definitely a drop-off from their original appraisal, all parties involved felt that it was more than fair.

37. Beautiful Yard

While the interior of the house would probably be changed, the backyard was perfect. For first-time homebuyers, paying attention to yards and location will always trump what is going on inside of the house. You can update the interior of your home, you can’t relocate it to a better location with a nicer yard.

38. What Would You Pay

With the house now on the market, Gladys and Carla were forced to wait and hope for the best. After nearly 70 years in the property, Joyce was all set to make an incredible profit. After all, she and her husband had spent barely any money on their purchase back in the ’40s. What would you pay for a retro masterpiece like this?

39. Extra Bathroom

148 Jane Street had two stories, three bedrooms, and a finished basement. What was not to like about the property? The exterior of the home was gorgeous and the location simply could not be beaten.

40. A Quick Sale

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the house was quickly purchased by another buyer. Joyce was both happy and sad to be leaving her home behind. While Joyce loved what the property had given her throughout her life, she also knew that she was simply too old to keep taking care of it. Joyce was more than ready to pass the keys along to the next happy homeowner.


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