It was a sad song. A mansion built and designed by the Isley Brothers in the 1960s languished on the market in New Jersey for nearly a decade. How do you sell a seemingly unsellable mansion?

Enter agent Igor Beyder of Beyder and Company Realty. He took over the listing in Alpine, NJ, and got real with the home's pricing. Beyder understood the nine-bedroom, 11-bath property required major repairs—which proved to be a major turnoff for potential buyers.

By pricing out needed repairs—getting quotes from inspectors, subcontractors, and septic companies—the agent was able to tell buyers what they'd need to pay on top of the home's purchase price.

Another perk of the strategy? When buyers saw the list of needed work, Beyder was also able to recommend exactly whom to hire.

Buyers "just need somebody to bridge up that gap,” says Beyder. “We’ve been able to shine a light on these unknown things. They’ve heard these horror stories about plumbers and contractors screwing people over.”

The house recently sold for $3 million, according to the Bergen Record. This is a stark drop, considering the previous attempts to sell the place. The asking price was $10 million when the mansion first went on the market, and the most recent price before Beyder assumed the listing was $9 million in May 2013.

Entry |
Dining room |
Kitchen |
Living room |
Bathroom |
Another bathroom |
Bedroom |

“When the Isleys built it, they did an amazing job with the architecture, how it was built, and the layout,” says Beyder. “Every floor is slab marble.”

For serious glam, there’s also jade-green marble in one bath, rose marble in another, and a blue marble kitchen.

The Isleys let go of the property in the mid-1980s, and it changed hands again in the early 1990s. That’s when the owners fell behind on upkeep of the mansion.

“They had it in the family and didn’t need to sell. By the time they put it on the market,” Beyder says, it was in an entirely different state.

“A house built in the 1960s will have a lot of issues,” he adds.

“For the last 10 years, agents were just [attempting to] sell the house as is,” says Beyder. “They never did an inspection.

“Making things as transparent as possible helped seal the deal,” he continues.

What kind of work was needed? Most of it concerned the exterior (lack of a pool and need to restore the koi pond), although the big-ticket item was the aging septic system. Other interior upgrades were needed in the baths, the flooring, and kitchen appliances.

The cost of adding a pool “was a deal breaker for many people,” says Beyder. As for replacing the septic system, “not every buyer is comfortable with or savvy enough with all these things. For most people, except for those in the business, it’s very intimidating.”

However, a buyer felt comfortable enough to commit $3 million to purchase the place. And once additional work is done, the ballad of this once-forlorn mansion will be finished.