When you buy a new home, it can be convenient to be in touch with the previous owner. Sometimes you need the contact information for a plumber, or you might want to know the last time the roof was inspected.
When Barbara and Steve Cole bought their condo at 1800 Pine in 2015, they met the seller at the closing. It was Eagles fan favorite Connor Barwin.
“He was a terrific guy,” Barbara said. “He was great because I could contact him and say, ‘Who do you use for this?’ and ‘Who did you use for that?’ and ‘Who do you recommend?’”
When the Coles were looking at homes in Philadelphia, their goal was to be closer to their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. They were not planning to compete for the home of an NFL player.
“When I looked on Realtor.com right before we flew out here, his unit came up, and I was really intrigued by it,” Barbara said.
The couple toured other condos in the Rittenhouse area, but Barbara insisted they get an early look at the two-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot unit.
“It wasn’t even being shown that day, and my agent finagled the other agents for us to see it,” she said. “I just said to my agent, ‘Don’t even show this to anyone else. Let’s just do this.’”
For Barbara, it wasn’t the celebrity cachet that drew her in.
“It was the front stoop. The idea of having a front stoop and being right in the middle of everything,” she said.
The home on the corner of 18th and Pine Streets actually includes several units. The Cole’s portion includes the first and second floors, as well as the basement. Crucially, it also includes the front entrance on Pine.
“There really is something about being on a front stoop where you watch people go by,” Cole said.
Even better, the property is near a bed and breakfast. Cole said that meant even more good reasons to spend time on the stoop.
“You always got to see people who were just so happy because they were on vacation,” she said. “If you were on the stoop, they would come by and ask you questions.”
For her, the home also represented the best of both worlds: maintenance that was handled by their condo fees ($285 monthly) but the unit still felt like an entire home.
“You get to be in the city, you get to feel like you’re in the neighborhood and feel like you’re in a home, but it’s a condo,” she said.
The property was remodeled when Barwin owned it, so Cole said there wasn’t much to do when they moved in. In addition to a few cosmetic changes – window treatments, some changes in one of the bathrooms – the couple added storage and cabinetry in the basement.
The home still features some original features – a vestibule with marble, a fireplace in the master suite, a bar in the basement.
“My understanding was that it was original to the place,” Cole said.
The interplay of original and modern features was attractive to the Coles, and they suspect it will also attract new buyers, now that the property is listed for sale.
The couple has decided to move even closer to their grandchildren in the suburbs.
“We just happened on the place that was right around the corner from our daughter,” Cole said. “It was easier to just be around the corner than to have to drive back and forth to the city.”
She said their departure from the home doesn’t necessarily mean a permanent move to the suburbs.
“I would say that it doesn’t preclude that sometime in the future, we’d go [back] down there,” she said.
The property is listed with Mike McCann for $1,100,000.