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Previous Sale Price: $760,000 (Dec. 1, 2005)
Original Listing Price: $615,000 (July 2, 2007)
Closing Price: $564,000 (Oct. 10, 2007)
Slash Rate: 8 percent
Square Footage: 3,090

This five-bedroom McMansion comes with all the cookie-cutter suburban fixin’s: a two-car garage, an intercom system, a “morning room” with a granite breakfast bar, and a family room with a fireplace. Situated in the hills of Leesburg, this home is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the local outlet mall, in a town where Washington-area sprawl meets rolling rural land. There’s plenty for a buyer to admire here, but nothing is advertised more clearly than the property’s history: “Foreclosure Opportunity” is printed in blazing red across the top of the photo in the real estate listing. “One of the best values in the county,” states the property description. The home had some pluses and minuses, says buyer’s agent Dana Hill of Bethesda-based Buyer’s Edge. Read the amenities description closely—there’s a washer/dryer hookup mentioned, but no actual machines are included with the sale. “That’s not the procedure here; people generally leave their washer and dryer,” says Hill. But foreclosure listings can be unpredictable. When a client toured the property, the air conditioner wasn’t on, and the house was steamy. There were stains on the carpet and junk in many of the drawers. Since foreclosure houses are empty, Hill explains, the listing agents can’t instruct residents to tidy up or make repairs. Often, the agents themselves are unwilling to make investments, she says. By the time Hill and her clients looked at 711 Vista Ridge Drive, the cost of the home had already dipped below its original listing price. “Down the street, we were looking at properties in a higher price range that had people living in them and were warm and fuzzy but [didn’t have] as nice a lot,” she says. Hill and her client enlisted an inspector to examine the house. Luckily, what remained “proved to be in working order,” she says.