A couple buy a house they sold eight years earlier in Leabrook, South Australia

Was it too expensive? No.

What did you think it would go to? We all felt the house was comfortably in the very high $2 million range.

How was that surprising? [Smith] I don’t remember selling a house to the previous owner.

[Simon] We had been there for 15 years. It’s something that we thoroughly renovated in 2012-3.

Off to the hills: Homeowners Simon and Sandy have left the central eastern suburb of Leabrook to buy and renovate a house in Balhannah in the Adelaide Hills. Jonathan Kissock

We sold the house [for $2.1 million] go up and have a bit of a hill change on the acreage. We rode up to the Adelaide Hills and shopped at Balhannah. We have renovated [that house] widely. We decided after a while that we got along a bit and wanted to come back to town. We scratched an itch that was there and decided to head back to town.

[Sandy] I never wanted to leave but Simon – he had been searching the Adelaide Hills for 25 years or more. He always wanted space.

I didn’t really like the winters and the daily commute – my family and most of my friends are still in town – [meant] I was up and down [South Eastern] Highway every day. But once we had done the renovations, it was extremely difficult to leave.

[Simon] We sold Balhannah in 2020. We rented for about a year then bought in St Peters and were planning to do a refurbishment.

With what happened with the prices for the renovations, everything exploded and we chose to sell rather than do the renovation. We heard Leabrook was coming. Matt worked his magic and we ended up buying it.

Buyers Ken and Teresa bought it in 2014 with two teenagers, but opted to sell and downsize after their children left. Jonathan Kissock

[Sandy] We always use our pool man. He came and worked for us in Balhannah and came back to St Peters with us. He said silently that Leabrook could return to the market.

[Ken] About eight years ago we looked at the place and said to ourselves, “It will suit us for the next few years.” We had two children in their teens. They have since moved. It is too big. We were thinking of downsizing. I just called Matt and said we wanted to sell our house, but not right now. We said we hadn’t found anything yet.

He said, “What would you like?” I said a number. He called back and said, “I already sold it to your previous owners.”

A month or two passed. Matt came back and said, “He’s interested in buying your place. He sold his, he rents and wants to buy. We started a negotiation. We naturally increased the number. He came back. We are back. He came back with a better offer. We looked at each other and said, “That’s going to do us.”

After hearing for the first time from their pool guy – who moved with them to their various properties – that the Tusmore Avenue house was up for sale again, Simon and Sandy offered to buy it out. Jonathan Kissock

We had conditions – we bought another property, but we won’t be able to access it until January next year. The settlement isn’t until February 14 next year – Valentine’s Day. My wife chose this date.

[Sandy] I think they’ve downsized, but we’re not ready to downsize. Sometimes Simon thinks he might like it, but he’s a 6’4″ guy and you can’t fit in a small kitchen – there wouldn’t be room for anyone else.

Just because it’s a bigger house, they are sometimes easier to maintain. You don’t have to move everything to clean all the time. Simon thinks I’m crazy, but he doesn’t have to clean up.

[Ken] We didn’t think he would actually be interested in buying it back and we don’t really understand why he’s buying it. There are only the two. It is a four bedroom, four bathroom home with two living areas and an office. It’s huge.

Why are you coming back?

[Sandy] You have a few moments where you think – can you go back? But we intend to change a good part of the property to make it more ours again. Definitely the bathrooms – just to update them. And possibly the kitchen. It has been more than eight years now since we left the premises. But the layout of the house you do not need to change.

I didn’t really want to leave. Our neighbors are still there. We have always stayed in contact with them.

What do your children think of the return?

[Sandy] They think we are stupid. They think we obviously paid more for it than when we sold it, but they also think something better could happen. What they don’t realize is that the rooms are generous.

We look at real estate all the time. In some houses, the rooms are so small. Our furniture fits in very large rooms – we would have to sell everything and start over.

What kind of feedback did you get?

[Ken] I know the property. I bought and sold goods. We have assets in our portfolio. We did reasonably well.

Do you think we will see another outcome like this: a) next week b) next year c) next cycle d) never?

[Smith] d) Never! It could be another two decades before I do it again.

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