June 9, 2021


From the time I was 16 years old and drew it for an architecture class, I’ve loved the grand Victorian home at 39040 Seven Mile in Livonia. Made into a law office in 1978, the owner kept the historic Queen Anne cottage in mint condition. For all 24 years of my commercial real estate career, I’ve hoped that if the attorney-owner ever wanted to sell, I would be the broker to pass it into equally appreciative hands.

I knew that might be a challenge. The Orson Everitt House was built in 1899 on 314 acres of farmland that has been sold off over the years. The century-old home is listed on the National Historic Register. It’s an honor, but the distinction carries with it a host of restrictions on a property zoned “light industrial” and now surrounded by large hotels, restaurants, retail and office buildings.

In 2018, I finally got my chance to find this urban jewel’s next owner. Five years earlier, I’d met the attorney who had been tending it as a home for his law office for four decades. He remembered my appreciation for its Victorian structure and detail and called me when he was ready to retire.

Between the restrictions on the property and COVID, three deals fell apart. Undeterred, I designed yet another marketing campaign, determined to place this home in hands that would care for it as well as the retiring attorney had.

Thanks to exceptional help from Livonia city officials, we negotiated and closed the sale with a local software engineering firm whose renovations will polish this vintage jewel to a high shine.

With this sale I kept a promise to the seller and to myself. And I love the juxtaposition – an historic gem preserved by a company on the future’s cutting edge!

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