Calling an end to three decades in residential real estate, a veteran Richmond broker has handed over her last set of keys – her own – to an industry newcomer.
Gayle Walters of Midlothian-based brokerage Gayle & Company has closed up shop and entered retirement with the sale of her million-dollar riverside home in Powhatan County – the final transaction of her 30-year career.
The two-story, 5,400-square-foot colonial at 1706 Calais Trail, built in 1991 but modeled after the 18th-century New York home of Founding Father John Jay, was sold to fellow real estate agent Greg Kim of Joyner Fine Properties.
Kim, a semi-retired veterinarian who once owned a Henrico practice, the former Ambassador Animal Hospital, purchased the home Jan. 6 for $1.21 million, just below Walters’ asking price of $1.27 million. A county assessment last year valued the property at $959,100.
Walters, who purchased the home in 2001 for $650,000, originally listed it in August for $1.51 million – a price tag she said she based on low inventory in that price range. After a dozen showings but no offers over about a month and a half, she said she reduced the price and showed it to 10 more prospective buyers, Kim among them.
After a brief bidding war, Walters selected Kim’s offer, which she described as having less conditions attached. She said Kim and his wife also purchased some farm equipment that pushed the overall property sale to $1.22 million.
Walters said she’s happy her former home is going to a fellow Realtor, though she said that detail didn’t play into the decision for her and her husband Al, the owner of local construction management firm ContracTech.
“That wasn’t the part that drew me to them,” said Walters, adding that she did not know Kim beforehand but they have since formed a friendship. “Greg and his wife Kristin and their family, they are just fantastic people, and if I could have handpicked anybody to buy our house and be good stewards of what God gave us, then that’s the family.”
Kim, who started with Joyner a little over a year ago, said the transaction was a valuable experience for his new career, which he started after years of investing in real estate on the side of his veterinary career.
“From the vantage point of not just a homebuyer but a person in the profession now, it’s a good experience,” he said. “Definitely there are a lot of nuances to doing this type of thing from an inside track that you don’t realize when you’re just buying the house.”
Built by Avent Homes, a custom builder in Midlothian, the farmhouse-style home – totaling four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms – is based on the floorplan Jay designed for his homestead in Westchester County, New York. The original house in New York still stands as part of the John Jay Homestead, a state historic site.
“It’s a very good, well-constructed, well-laid-out house,” Walters said. “It’s a fairly typical two-story colonial. The features, though, are what made it special.”
Among them: nine-foot ceilings; an eight-foot ceiling in the daylight basement, which Walters finished; and five fireplaces, one of which Walters added and all of which were converted from wood-burning to gas.
But the primary feature, Walters and Kim agreed, is the property: 24 acres overlooking the James River, with 720 feet of river frontage.
“You don’t get that close in very often,” Kim said. “These properties don’t become available very often, so that was a huge bonus.”
“It was truly my dream house,” said Walters, a Richmond native. “It was on the river, a well-constructed house front and back, full porches, swimming pool – the whole property was literally my dream property, and I will miss every single thing about it.”
As Kim and his family move to their new home from Midlothian, Walters and her husband are heading the opposite way, having moved to a smaller house in Midlothian’s Salisbury neighborhood.
“It’s on the golf course and ponds. We still have the view out back,” she said. Laughing, she added: “Just not the 24 acres on the river.”
After 30 years in real estate and a 52-year career overall, Walters said she is retiring with pride in her track-record.
“They used to call me ‘the Brandermill Queen,’ because the first 15 years it was almost strictly Brandermill property that I was working with,” she said. “I was a top producer the whole time that I was selling real estate.
“The one thing that I did pride myself on is that there was not a single client of mine that ever lost any money on a transaction,” she said. “If they bought a house, it didn’t matter how quickly they turned around and sold it, they never lost a penny on it, so I feel pretty proud about that record.”