How SA dream home sold for $50,000 less after husband fell down a cliff

A mourning widow has taken a $50,000 loss in the sale of her ‘dream home’ after losing her husband in a hiking tragedy last year, selling to a friend just hours before a higher offer came in from an estate agent.

Locals in Houghton, a small town in the Adelaide Hills, had been helping Rebecca Bell maintain the 1,6ha South Australia property, preparing it for a $1.1million sale.

After an initial auction failed to meet its reserve, Ms Bell accepted a private offer to finally close the sale the day before her agent negotiated a $1.2million sale price.

Ms Bell had chosen to sell the home after her husband, Robert, 48, suffered a medical episode and died after falling 100m down a cliff in Morialta Conservation Park.

The couple had originally chosen the massive property on North East Road to live an idyllic rural life with their two daughters before his death.

Ms Bell (left) and her husband, Robert, (right) bought their ‘dream home’ in 2021 before Mr Bell suddenly died in a 2022 hiking accident 

The North East Road property sold for $1.1m after Ms Bell decided to sell promptly, despite a $1.2m offer the following day

The North East Road property sold for $1.1m after Ms Bell decided to sell promptly, despite a $1.2m offer the following day

Ray White was chosen to sell the property, who took it to auction where it had initially failed to meet reserve – before Ms Bell chose a buyer herself.

‘We had to pull the reserve back after negotiation failed that day and in the end the house was sold to a family that [Ms Bell] wanted to go with,’ real estate agent Sam Doman told Daily Mail Australia.

‘The next day I actually got an offer for $1.2million with a subject to sale that we were already negotiating with another family on that day, so she’s actually cost herself 50-odd grand.

‘However, I am governed by what my vendors decision is at the end of the day.’

Ms Bell had said she had a good feeling about the eventual buyers, who had put an offer in for the property before Ray White had even gotten involved.

‘I’ve got a very good relationship with my neighbours – they’ve been nothing but helpful since the day we moved in,’ Ms Bell told The Advertiser.

‘It’s bitter sweet that it’s sold and we’re going to be leaving soon but it’s a massive relief – I love this house, this was our dream home.

‘Houghton is special, which is why it’s so hard to leave – you’re not just moving to a suburb, you’re moving into a community.’

Before the sale members from local community groups volunteered to keep the house in shape, including members of the Ingle Farm Soccer Club, which Mr Bell was heavily involved with, and JMS RuralServices.

‘We knew the Ingle Farms community, who Robert was heavily a part of, had people from the start helping [Ms Bell] get it ready and took it upon themselves to help, as well as great neighbours,’ Mr Doman said.

‘Things were pulled apart when the husband had passed, so that had to be put back together because they weren’t planning on selling.’

The crews mowed the grass, repaired the walls and tended to fences among other things which lifted the burden off of the grieving family.

It's believed Mr Bell may have suffered a medical episode during the hike

Members of the Houghton, SA community helped Ms Bell (right) maintain the property since Mr Bell suffered a medical episode in Morialta Conservation Park

Robert Bell, 48, was walking along the First Falls walking track at Morialta Conservation Park on Saturday morning when he fell

Robert Bell, 48, was walking along the First Falls walking track at Morialta Conservation Park on Saturday morning when he fell

Mr Bell, 48, wasn’t a regular hiker, but was trying to get in shape according to Ms Bell.

The couple had originally bought the property in 2021, shortly before the shock loss of Mr Bell in Morialta Conservation Park.

Ms Bell and her daughters will move to a smaller house in another suburb a short drive away. 

Members of the Houghton community including Mr Doman remembered Mr Bell as a life member of the Ingle Farm Soccer Club, having been a part of the club for 30 years.

‘I never actually met Robert however, we do a bit with the soccer community and I knew of him anyway as a lot of people did,’ Mr Doman said.

South Australian Deputy Premier Susan Close said on Monday a safety review into the park would be carried out.

‘SAPOL is leading in terms of what actually happened for Mr Bell and that tragedy … but we will also undertake our own investigation about the condition of the track, the signage, and any other factors that come up,’ she told ABC Radio.

‘There are areas that are steep, there are areas that are slippery and areas that don’t have guardrails and it isn’t a sort of guided experience the entire way where you’re not ever in danger of looking over a cliff edge, it is part of the experience.’

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the office of Ms Close regarding the progress of this safety review. 

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