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On Tuesday, I posted an interview with Long & Foster agents Jeanne Livingston and Susie Maguire, who will be selling the Evermay Estate for $49 million. I asked a couple of questions about how they went about pricing the house, since no property in D.C. has ever gone on the market at this amount. Their responses ranged from interesting to vague, and since the topic sort of fascinates me, I’d like to keep the online discussion going, with a little input from New York, home to several properties currently priced over the Evermay. (You can almost imagine agents up there saying 49 Million! Ha! I spit on your 49 Million!) Anyway, New York Magazine recently interviewedMeredyth Hull Smith and Serena Boardman, the senior vice-presidents at Sotheby’s International Realty who are handling the sale of a $75 million property.
So let’s do a little compare and contrast:
New York: This neo-Italian renaissance mansion—-located at 22 E. 71 St.—-is “one of the largest townhouses in the city,” according to Business Week. It has five floors with an additional garden level and a 21,200-square-foot sub-basement.
D.C.:The Evermay Estate, a 216-year old Georgetown home on more than three acres of land, has grounds that “include terraced gardens with six fountains and parking for 100 cars,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some of Smith and Boardman’s responses seemed to mirror those of Livingston and Maguire. Others revealed a whole new layer of confusing ridiculousness.
Personally, I was most interested in the buyer question: who exactly can afford this house? Smith and Boardman provided a bit more clarity.
Boardman: People from all over the world. People from the Middle East, from Asia, Latin America, India, Russia, all over the place, are looking. Smith: It tends to be very low-key, private wealth, and they want the best. They want the best location, and the best properties, and with the Frick and other major single-family mansions on an unusually low-rise block, all of that tends to drive the value to an unprecedented level.
Then, the Sotheby’s agents are asked how the Wall Street crisis might affect the mansion’s sale.
Puh! Smith dismisses the threat: “Buyers for a house like this are largely unaffected by Wall Street cataclysms.” Towards the end of the interview, Smith threw in another curveball. Since the property was last used as an art gallery, it would need significant renovation to transform it into a residential space. And that would bring the home’s grand total up to…$10 million more at least. “And the buyers don’t balk at that either?” asks New York magazine.
Boardman: If you knew who they were, you would not be surprised.
Right. Wait, what? I’m still not entirely sure who fits the bill as a non-Wall Street, extravagantly but privately wealthy buyer. Perhaps John and Cindy McCain are in the market for another home purchase?