Ellen Merer wrote that she was born “in the most prestigious hospital in Vienna”. Arriving two months early “to a disappointed family who wanted a boy” and not expected to survive, Ellen displayed what was to be a life-long fighting spirit, living until 93 after spending her first six months in an incubator “brought up on peasant’s milk”.*
So it was perhaps fitting that the retired pharmacist, with no immediate family, had decided some of the proceeds of her estate would go to two fine medical institutions: St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst and Medecins Sans Frontieres .
Ellen died at her Little Bay retirement home on September 18 and last night an investment property she owned in Bondi Junction went under the hammer. Buyers were aware that charities would benefit from the sale, and agent Mark Meyer of LJ Levi, who shared the listing with Michael Rowles of Bradfield Cleary, said that knowledge boosted interest and generated a positive atmosphere.
Happily, the property at 11/37 Paul Street exceeded expectations, selling for $1.21 million, $60,000 above reserve.
“The buyers were in good spirits whether they were winners or losers,” he said. “We handle quite a lot of estates and sometimes the bickering dealing with siblings can be quite challenging, they all have different expectations. Whereas in this case it was quite straightforward and everyone was happy.”
There were four registered bidders, two investors and two owner-occupiers. Bidding opened at $950,000 and after 10 minutes and 18 bids, an investor beat out the competition for the two-bedder, in Mirvac’s Keppelgate complex.
Auctioneer Damien Cooley of Cooley Auctions said it was a terrific result for the named charities. Related: ‘House that love built’ sellsRelated: Packed charity auction with puppy powerRelated: Paddington deceased estate auction for charity
“It’s a significant amount of dollars and it makes a big difference to any charity,” he said. “Charities spend a lot of time and energy on running events that raise money so when someone bequeaths to a charity it makes a huge impact on their bottom line.”
An ambassador for Youth Off The Streets, Cooley said he had noticed a growing trend towards charitable property sales.
“We’re starting to see a lot more deceased estates where there is a bequest for a significant proportion – if not all – of the proceeds to go to charity,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have family or someone to leave their assets to, so it’s a really brilliant thing.”
The estate executor, solicitor David Jackson of Bray Jackson & Co, agreed.
“A lot of these elderly people have little or no family because they migrated to so many years ago and I think that’s where the charities come in to play,” he told Domain. “There’s no one else they feel obligated to leave it to and if they do have connections, those charities stand to be the benefactors.”
Jackson said he couldn’t put a figure on what the two charities would receive from the unencumbered Bondi Junction sale, but it would be “substantial”.
“I know Ellen had a lot to do with St Vincents over her professional years and with friends that were admitted there. The hospital knows they are receiving a bequest.”
While Cooley doesn’t think the charity aspect affects the price paid, both he and Meyer said the knowledge that a property would definitely sell at auction provides the urgency required to get buyers through the door.
“It definitely creates more interest, people get excited about that because they know that it will sell on the night and they feel good about the fact that their money is going to charity,” Meyer said.
*Ellen’s reminiscing on her birth was recorded in a letter she wrote earlier this year for Tina FiveAsh’s Death Letter Project. Visit deathletterprojects老域名出售